In a posting regarding attorney Gary Kreep’s appeal of Keyes v. Bowen to the 3rd Appellate District Court in California (a case different from attorney Dr. Orly Tait’s case, also on appeal), WorldNetDaily reports that there is precedent for Court removal of a governmental chief executive.
Longtime readers will recall when I last reported on this case that the Plaintiffs did not have all of their research in order to prove to the Court that such eligibility petitions were not unprecedented. In fact, at the time, Ballot-Access.org reported the following:
On March 13, California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney tentatively ruled against Alan Keyes, in the lawsuit concerning whether President Barack Obama meets the constitutional qualifications to be president, and whether the California Secretary of State should have put him on the ballot. The case is Keyes v Bowen, 34-2008-8000096-CU-WM-GDS. The 6-page opinion seems to strengthen the rights of political parties to place anyone they wish on the November ballot, regardless of that candidate’s qualifications.
The decision says, “Defendants contend that Election Code sec. 6901 requires the Secretary of State to place on the ballot the names of the candidates submitted to her by a recognized political party and that she has no discretion to override the party’s selection. The Court finds that the First Amended Petition fails to state a cause of action against the Secretary of State…Federal law establishes the exclusive means for challenges to the qualifications of the President and Vice President. That procedure is for objections to be presented before the U.S. Congress pursuant to 3 U.S.C. section 15.”
In 1968, the California Secretary of State refused to list Eldridge Cleaver on the November ballot as the presidential nominee of the Peace & Freedom Party. Cleaver and PFP sued the Secretary of State, but the State Supreme Court refused to hear the case, by a 6-1 vote. Cleaver and the party then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, but that Court refused, 393 U.S. 810 (October 7, 1968). In this current Keyes lawsuit, attorneys for the Defendants claimed there was no such lawsuit. The attorney for Keyes did not have the California Supreme Court citation (58 Minutes 411), nor the U.S. Supreme Court cite, so he wasn’t able to establish the existence of this 40-year old precedent that does seem to give the Secretary of State the authority to refuse a party’s choice for president, if the Secretary of State thinks the party chose someone who doesn’t meet the constitutional qualifications. Keyes will appeal and his appeal will include the Cleaver precedent citation.
Eldridge Cleaver had been removed from the California ballot because the Secretary of State had learned that he was only 33 years old. [emphasis mine]
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As WND states (and somewhat reiterating what I’ve quoted from Ballot-Access):
“In 1968, the Peace and Freedom Party submitted the name of Eldridge Cleaver as a qualified candidate for president of the United States. The then-Secretary of State, Mr. Frank Jordan, found that, according to Mr. Cleaver’s birth certificate, he was only 34 years old, one year shy of the 35 years of age needed to be on the ballot as a candidate for president,” the brief, being filed this week, argues.
“Using his administrative powers, Mr. Jordan removed Mr. Cleaver from the ballot. Mr. Cleaver, unsuccessfully, challenged this decision to the Supreme Court of the State of California, and, later, to the Supreme Court of the United States, which affirmed the actions.”
The other is a court precedent in which the governor of North Dakota was removed from office after the state Supreme Court determined he did not meet the state constitution’s eligibility requirements. …
Kreep alleges the dismissal of the state case by Judge Michael Kenny was in error because the defendants “failed to establish that there was no triable cause of action on the critical constitutional issues of whether Obama has met the eligibility requirements to serve as president of the United States and whether Bowen has the duty, as chief elections officer of the state of California, to verify the eligibility of candidates for federal office running in the state of California.”
The president’s lawyers in many of the cases have said, and judges have agreed so far, that the courts simply don’t have jurisdiction over a question of eligibility because of the Constitution’s provision that president’s must be removed by impeachment, which rests with Congress.
In one case, the president’s lawyers prominently argued, “The Constitution’s commitment to the Electoral College of the responsibility to select the president includes the authority to decide whether a presidential candidate is qualified for office.
“The examination of a candidate’s qualifications is an integral component of the electors’ decision-making process. The Constitution also provides that, after the Electoral College has voted, further review of a presidential candidate’s eligibility for office, to the extent such review is required, rests with Congress,” the president’s lawyers argued.
But the issue, however, already has been adjudicated by courts, and the resolution is that courts do have the authority to review eligibility and even remove an ineligible chief executive, the appeal brief cites.
“Even though Obama was elected to this office, this ineligibility constitutes a legal disability for the office of president of the United States,” the brief states. “In ‘State ex rel. Sathre v. Moodie,’ after Thomas H. Moodie was duly elected to the office of governor of the state of North Dakota, it was discovered that Thomas H. Moodie was not eligible for the position of governor, as he had not resided in the state for a requisite five years before running for office, and, because of that ineligibility, he was removed from office and replaced by the lieutenant governor,” the brief explains. …
The Democrat was nominated by his party for governor in 1934 and beat his Republican opponent, Lydia Langer.
“As soon as the election was over, there was talk of impeachment, but no charges were filed,” the state’s archives report. “After Moodie’s inauguration on January 7, 1935, it was revealed that he had voted in a 1932 municipal election in Minnesota. In order to be eligible for governor, an individual has to have lived in the state for five consecutive years before the election. The State Supreme Court determined that Governor Moodie was ineligible to serve, and he was removed from office on February 16, 1935,” the state reports.
“We’re seeking to bar anyone from going on the presidential ballot in 2012 unless they can prove that they’re eligible,” Kreep told WND.
“Appellants contend that Bowen has a duty to ensure that all candidates in the state of California, for both federal and state offices, meet the eligibility requirements for the offices sought, that Bowen did not fulfill said duty, and that a court determination is needed to ensure that the California secretary of state comply with this duty in the future,” the brief said. …
Further, courts can address the problem.
While the dispute has “significant political overtones,” it is, nonetheless, “an issue which the court can make a determination on, because the requirements are clearly stated in Article II, Section 1, Clause 4, of the U.S. Constitution and courts routinely decide questions of law and of fact such as the issue in this case.”
“A provision of the Constitution may not be disregarded by means of a popular vote of the people, as there are specific guidelines for amending the Constitution of the United States,” it continues.
“Respondents denied that this Cleaver case had any relevance to the underlying issue … Similarly, in 1984, the Peace and Freedom Party listed Mr. Larry Holmes as an eligible candidate in the presidential primary. When the then SOS checked his eligibility, it was found that Mr. Holmes was, similarly, not eligible, and Mr. Holmes was removed from the ballot… It this case, we have a similar situation in that the Democratic Party submitted the name of Obama as a candidate for president,” the brief argues.
First, “significant political overtunes” must be irrelevant for the Judiciary, else no decision could ever be made on any constitutional question. Therefore, to me, this is a moot point.
Yet, let’s get back to the bigger issue of eligibility and the Courts.
This political question with respect to the Judiciary can be broken down into a number of legitimate points:
- Can the Judiciary determine whether or not a candidate is eligible for a sought-after office?
- Can the Judiciary issue an opinion that would subsequently cause a candidate to be ineligible for such office?
- To what extent is the Judiciary tasked with enforcing the constitutional question of eligibility?
In this citizen reporter’s non-attorney opinion, the answer is that the Judiciary does have a role in making sure that the law is enforced, particularly by those other branches that are tasked with such a duty.
Remember, I have repeatedly stated that since there currently exists no law that enforces presidential or vice presidential constitutional eligibility nor to what degree it ought to be enforced, it would be practically impossible for the Court to issue an order against a non-existent law. Therefore, if the Judiciary is to be petitioned regarding eligibility, another route must be used instead; this posting could be such an opening.
On the one hand, we are told by many a Defendant in various eligibility cases that the Secretary of State has, effectively, no discretion in determining whether or not a candidate could be placed on the ballot. As this posting shows, the Defendants have either been lying or ignorant (then the question becomes whether such ignorance is willful or not) when there is already such existing precedent.
Further, it is also a contention that “only” (“the exclusive means”) the Congress and/or the Electoral College is tasked by the Constitution and/or federal law for vetting a candidate. Again, precedent clearly shows that this is not the case. Furthermore, any Defendant would be hard-pressed to find any verbiage (outside of their albeit learned opinions) that specifically states that the Joint Session of Congress and/or the Electoral College are “only,” “solely,” or “exclusively” the routes for answering eligibility questions. Incidentally, no opposition commenter on this site can find such exclusive verbiage either, outside of their own worthy opinions.
Lastly, there is the issue of removal. As I’ve stated numerous times on my site — and as the singular point upon which the opposition and I agree — the Judiciary cannot lawfully remove a sitting President, and it’s just as unlikely that the branch could remove a lower chief executive. Nevertheless, making a determination as to the eligibility of a President is something that can be quintessentially within its jurisdiction, where the Legislative branch would subsequently be tasked with such official removal.
In my view, what Mr. Kreep must show the Court is how deficient the Secretary of State for California was in making a determination for whether or not Mr. Obama should have been placed on the ballot; he might even ask her upon what basis did she make her determination. Did she use the Internet to vet Mr. Obama? Did she even vet Obama at all?
Either way, clear precedent exists that her very office had previously vetted candidates. Based on what we know today, it’s a shame that such vetting — whether it resulted positively or negatively — did not occur.
It’s also exceedingly obvious that her office’s finger-pointing back to the Democrat party is a complete ruse.
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- The background:
- The questions:
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