Donofrio, Pidgeon on Quo Warranto; IPPT v. Chrysler at SCOTUS on TARP

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 update:

The Post & Email reported yesterday that the Supreme Court has scheduled a Conference this Friday for Indiana Police Pension Trust v. Chrysler (docket):

The action, whereby the U.S. Treasury, without authorization by Congress, used TARP funding to force Chrysler LLC into a debtor-client relationship, and then in using that to practically control the corporation in bankruptcy pleadings has raised several constitutional and legal issues on the action.

An amicus curiae brief was filed with this case in October, including the involvement of a number of advocacy groups and at least one leading constitutional scholar:

  • Washington Legal Foundation
  • Allied Educational Foundation
  • Cato Institute
  • George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law Dr. Todd J. Zwycki

Previously, a request before the Court for a stay of the bankruptcy action was denied in July.

Basically, any action taken on this case could be a harbinger for how any further Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings or quo warranto actions could be interpreted by the Court in this matter.

The question is raised: Did the Treasury Department act unconstitutionally in the manner in which it dispositioned certain federal monies?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 update:

Attorneys Leo Donofrio and Stephen Pidgeon recently spoke with Bob Unruh at (h/t @KatyinIndy):

As part of the demand for information about the authority used, Donofrio confirmed, there will be questions about Obama’s eligibility to be president. Donofrio contends that since by Obama’s own admission his father never was a U.S. citizen, Obama was born a dual citizen. The framers of the Constitution, he argues, did not consider a dual citizen to be a “natural born citizen” as required for the presidency.

The burden, then, would shift to Obama and his administration officials to document their constitutional authority for their decisions and their handling of taxpayer money.

If the president cannot document his eligibility to occupy the Oval Office, his presidential task force had no authority to act at all, the case contends.

Pidgeon told WND the plaintiffs in the case are the former Chrysler dealers, and their interests will be paramount.

The goal is “to get them restored,” he said, and “put them back where they were before their contracts were rejected.”

“Our clients are not in this action as ‘birthers,'” he said, citing a term used for people who question Obama’s constitutional eligibility. “Our clients are here to seek redress for wrongs.”

But the case may open doors that have been closed in other disputes over Obama’s eligibility. Most previous cases, at one point or another, have been dismissed because the plaintiffs do not have “standing” – they have not suffered direct injury for which they have a reasonable expectation of seeking redress.

In the case of the dealers, they have suffered financial loss because of circumstances that developed with the government’s intervention in the auto industry.

Original story below the dashed line.


In a Right Side of Life exclusive, I had reported (based on this Portland Civil Rights Examiner posting by Dianne Cotter) that attorneys Leo Donofrio and Stephen Pidgeon have, in fact, gotten together and have been retained by lead Plaintiff James Anderer and other Chrysler dealers to appeal on damages incurred in the Chrysler bankruptcy sale.

Further, the concept of quo warranto — an ancient “prerogative writ” — has been confirmed by Devvy Kidd’s recent telephone conversation with Mr. Donofrio as a petition by which he and Mr. Pidgeon will be challenging the Obama Administration under three counts.

According to Ms. Kidd’s interview, while § 16-3501. Persons against whom issued; civil action states the following:

A quo warranto may be issued from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the name of the United States against a person who within the District of Columbia usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises, a franchise conferred by the United States or a public office of the United States, civil or military. The proceedings shall be deemed a civil action.

She was able to confirm with Mr. Donofrio that the above section is a bit of a “catch-all:”

Leo points out that the statute not only applies to eligibility, but also to the unlawful “exercise” of authority via public office.  At the common law, quo warranto was not only used to challenge usurpation of office but also to challenge illegal government actions and the current quo warranto statute was written as a catch all in this regard. So Leo and Steve will bring two counts under 3501, eligibility and illegal use of Government funds. The second count refers to the use of TARP funds to facilitate the Chrysler Bankruptcy sale.

An important aspect of potential “specific injury” may not have been had by creditors, but dealers face substantially greater particular harm:

The 2d Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with this issue as raised by creditors of Chrysler in an appeal of the Sale transaction to which the dealers were not a party. In that decision, the Court of Appeals stated that the issue raised “interesting and unresolved issues”, but the appellants did not have standing based upon their limited injuries. The Chrylser dealers have the requisite injury – loss of their frnachises – to meet the standing requirements. They will raise the issue in the quo warranto petition before the DC District Court.

And it looks like those TARP monies could also play a part in the filings:

You may recall that former Treasury Secretary Paulson refused to use TARP funds to bail out the auto industry indicating that to do so was not proper under the statute. A Congressional bill to allow TARP funds to be used for that purpose failed in the Senate, but the Obama administration went forward with it anyway.

Donofrio and Pidgeon also plan a third quo warranto count based upon 16-3521(2) of the quo warranto statute…

Here’s what § 16-3521. Persons against whom issued; civil action (2) states:

A quo warranto may be issued from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in the name of the District of Columbia against –

(2) one or more persons who act as a corporation within the District of Columbia without being duly authorized, or exercise within the District of Columbia corporate rights, privileges, or franchises not granted them by law in force in the District of Columbia.

The proceedings shall be deemed a civil action.

As Ms. Kidd puts it:

In other words, the actions taken by the government were an illegal exercise of corporate authority. The government has acted as a political agent (acting as board of directors) against corporations using taxpayer money to restructure the auto industry under their vision.

In the posting, Mr. Donofrio emphasizes that he and Mr. Pidgeon represent the best interests of the dealers, leaving open the possibility of a settlement.

In reference to the bankruptcy deal, Messrs. Donofrio and Pidgeon shared with me that, per a recent article by Neil Roland of Automotive News, the House is crafting a new bill for the rejected dealers:

WASHINGTON — House leaders crafted a bill over the weekend that would provide third-party arbitration for rejected General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group dealerships using criteria more favorable to dealers than those proposed by the automakers last week.

The legislation, which is being forwarded to Senate leaders for consideration, would allow dealers who want to appeal their closures to “present any kind of relevant information during the arbitration,” a copy of the new bill shows.

The arbitrator is directed to consider the dealer’s experience, past profitability, current economic viability and the demography and geography of the local market, the legislation says.

“The arbitrator shall balance the interests of the covered dealership, the covered manufacturer and the public and shall decide, based on that balancing, whether or not the covered dealership should be reinstated,” the bill says.

Nevertheless, both attorneys say that the proposed legislation would not satisfy their client’s needs and that they will be moving forward with litigation. “Unless the legislation returns our clients to their franchise agreements as they were in effect prior to the Chrysler Bankruptcy,” they said, “we will be forced to press on in the courts.”

In other news related to Mr. Donofrio, his Hawaiian UIPA requests are on hold as he focuses on the above.

See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:


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589 thoughts on “Donofrio, Pidgeon on Quo Warranto; IPPT v. Chrysler at SCOTUS on TARP”

  1. Today’s post about Beck ridiculing the “birthers” led me back to this post. There are 587 comments! I haven’t read them all, but read through some of the back and forth between Qwertyman and Linda. The following comment by Linda caught my attention:

    Linda says:
    December 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm
    qwertyman says: Quote mining is not nice.

    I did not ‘quote mine’ as you charge me to have, what I did was quote the Edw. III statute that defined what a naturtal born subject was at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

    Blackstone himself concurred with this definition in his Commentaries.

    Further more, I gave the links for all readers to research for themselves and if anyone is ‘quote mining’ it is you. It is a long and exhastive commentary, as well are the other 2 links that it references to and they all come to the same conclusion,

    Native does not equal natural born and as Kent put it, Natives are:

    artificial persons created by law

    Thus there can be nothing natural about a native born person’s citizenship, they aquire it through naturalization under US laws if they so desire.

    This agrees with The Obama File’s archives that recognize the fact that there are actually three kinds of U.S. citizenship – natural born citizen (required for POTUS), native born citizen, and naturalized citizen.

    Consider this. If Obama was so sure that “native born citizen” is considered to be, by Constitutional law, the same as “natural born citizen” (required for POTUS), then why on earth would he spend 1.5 million dollars hiding his COLB and other bona fide documents (which would most likely prove that he attended college in the U.S. as a foreign exchange student)?

    Why all the secrecy?

    Answer: he is hiding something – something BIG! Just like the Dems are hiding what’s in the health care bill. C-span requested recording the discussions and they got a big fat NO. Isn’t this highly disturbing?

    This particular case (IMO) has the best chance of succeeding in the courts. God speed Mr. Pidgeon and Mr. Donofrio!

  2. qwertyman says: The grandfather clause was designed with several of the Framers in mind, particularly Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies.

    Can you cite a link or an archived historical reference for that? If not you are just regurjitating leftist propaganda that has no evidentiary standing in any court of law.

  3. Show proof or concede, in spite of the many convoluted interpretations of the various ‘citizenship cases’, Ark, Happersett, Elg, etc, that the 14th Amendment, nor any other Act, DID NOT Amend A2S1C5

    Nobody has ever said that that clause of the Constitution has been amended. What has been said over and over and over again is that your interpretation of what that clause means is incorrect, and has not been spoken with approval by a single member of Congress, judge, or legal scholar in America for the past century. The citizenship cases authoritatively interpreted both citizenship under the 14th Amendment and the natural born citizenship clause. As it was discussed interchangeably in Wong, it is considered a closed issue that a citizen at birth and a natural born citizen are one and the same. At the very least, there is no dispute about those born on US soil, as recently seen in the Ankeny case.

    what effect did/does the ‘Grandfather Clause’ of the Original text have on the considerations of British Monarchial Citizenship Common Law versus the Natural Law Citizenship’s as expressed by Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Pufendorf, Grotius, Hobbs, Hume, Leibniz, Locke, and of course, Vattel, not to mention Sun Xu and Macchiavelli ? (Of course you will have to overcome your inclination to portray the Founders as ignorant uneducated religious fanatics with a myopic view of the world not too dissimilar to yours.)

    The grandfather clause was designed with several of the Framers in mind, particularly Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies.

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