Below is the full text of the letter from President Barack Obama’s attorney, Michael Jablonski of Atlanta, declaring that he will no longer participate in administrative court hearings on a challenge to Obama’s spot on Georgia’s presidential primary ballot.
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In essence, Jablonski is putting the onus on Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, to intervene and bring a halt to the circus. Jablonski includes a copy of Obama’s live birth certificate.
In response, Brian Kemp replied: “If you and your client choose to suspend your participation in the …proceedings, please understand that you do so at your own peril.”
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Here is Jablonski’s original letter to Kemp:
January 25, 2012
Hon. Brian P. Kemp
Georgia Secretary of State
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Re: Georgia Presidential Preference Primary Hearings
Dear Secretary Kemp:
This is to advise you of serious problems that have developed in the conduct of the hearings pending before the Office of State Administrative Hearings. At issue in these hearings are challenges that allege that President Obama is not eligible to hold or run for re-election to his office, on the now wholly discredited theory that he does not meet the citizenship requirements. As you know, such allegations have been the subject of numerous judicial proceedings around the country, all of which have concluded that they were baseless and, in some instances – including in the State of Georgia – that those bringing the challenges have engaged in sanctionable abuse of our legal process.
Nonetheless, the Administrative Law Judge has exercised no control whatsoever over this proceeding, and it threatens to degenerate into a pure forum for political posturing to the detriment of the reputation of the State and your Office. Rather than bring this matter to a rapid conclusion, the ALJ has insisted on agreeing to a day of hearings, and on the full participation of the President in his capacity as a candidate. Only last week, he denied a Motion to Quash a subpoena he approved on the request of plaintiff’s counsel for the personal appearance of the President at the hearing, now scheduled for January 26.
For these reasons, and as discussed briefly below, you should bring an end to this baseless, costly and unproductive hearing by withdrawing the original hearing request as improvidently issued.
It is well established that there is no legitimate issue here—a conclusion validated time and again by courts around the country. The State of Hawaii produced official records documenting birth there; the President made documents available to the general public by placing them on his website. “Under the United States Constitution, a public record of a state is required to be given ‘full faith and credit’ by all other states in the country. Even if a state were to require its election officials for the first time ever to receive a ‘birth certificate’ as a requirement for a federal candidate’s ballot placement, a document certified by another state, such as a ‘short form’ birth certificate, or the certified long form, would be required to be accepted by all states under the ‘full faith and credit’ clause of the United States Constitution.” Maskell, “Qualifications for President and the “Natural Born” Citizenship Eligibility Requirement,” Congressional Research Service (November 14, 2011), p.41.
Nonetheless, the ALJ has decided, for whatever reason, to lend assistance through his office—and by extension, yours—to the political and legally groundless tactics of the plaintiffs. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs has downloaded form subpoenas which she tried to serve around the country. Plaintiff’s attorney sent subpoenas seeking to force attendance by an office machine salesman in Seattle; seeking to force the United States Attorney to bring an unnamed “Custodian of Records Department of Homeland Security” to attend the hearing with immunization records; and asking the same U.S. Attorney to bring the same records allegedly possessed by “Custodian of Records of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” She served subpoenas attempting to compel the production of documents and the attendance of Susan Daniels and John Daniels, both apparently out of state witnesses, regarding Social Security records. She is seeking to compel the Director of Health for the State of Hawaii to bring to Atlanta the “original typewritten 1961 birth certificate #10641 for Barack Obama, II, issued 08.08.1961 by Dr. David Sinclair…,” even though Hawaii courts had dismissed with prejudice the last attempt to force release of confidential records on November 9, 2011. Taitz v. Fuddy, CA No. 11-1-1731-08 RAN.
In Rhodes v. McDonald, 670 F. Supp. 2d 1363, 1365 (USDC MD GA, 2009), Judge Clay Land wrote this of plaintiff’s attorney:
When a lawyer files complaints and motions without a reasonable basis for believing that they are supported by existing law or a modification or extension of existing law, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer uses the courts as a platform for political agenda disconnected from any legitimate legal cause of action, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law…. As a national leader in the so-called ‘birther movement,’ Plaintiff’s counsel has attempted to use litigation to provide the ‘legal foundation’ for her political agenda. She seeks to use the Court’s power to compel discovery in her efforts force the President to produce a ‘birth certificate’ that is satisfactory to herself and her followers.” 670 F. Supp. 2d at 1366.
All issues were presented to your hearing officer—the clear-cut decision to be on the merits, and the flagrantly unethical and unprofessional conduct of counsel—and he has allowed the plaintiffs’ counsel to run amok. He has not even addressed these issues—choosing to ignore them. Perhaps he is aware that there is no credible response; perhaps he appreciates that the very demand made of his office—that it address constitutional issues—is by law not within its authority. See, for example, Flint River Mills v. Henry, 234 Ga. 385, 216 S.E.2d 895 (1975); Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 616-1-2-.22(3).
The Secretary of State should withdraw the hearing request as being improvidently issued. A referring agency may withdraw the request at any time. Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 616-1-2-.17(1). Indeed, regardless of the collapse of proceedings before the ALJ, the original hearing request was defective as a matter of law. Terry v. Handel, 08cv158774S (Superior Court Fulton County, 2008), appeal dismissed, No. S09D0284 (Ga. Supreme Court), reconsideration denied, No. S09A1373. (“The Secretary of State of Georgia is not given any authority that is discretionary nor any that is mandatory to refuse to allow someone to be listed as a candidate for President by a political party because she believes that the candidate might not be qualified.”) Similarly, no law gives the Secretary of State authority to determine the qualifications of someone named by a political party to be on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot. Your duty is determined by the statutory requirement that the Executive Committee of a political party name presidential preference primary candidates. O.C.G.A. § 21-2-193. Consequently, the attempt to hold hearings on qualifications which you may not enforce is ultra vires.
We await your taking the requested action, and as we do so, we will, of course, suspend further participation in these proceedings, including the hearing scheduled for January 26.
[Signature of Michael Jablonski]