Last week, our firm filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting a patent attorney’s claim that a law mandating an increase in patent application fees was invalid because it was signed into law by President Obama, who does not meet the constitutional requirement to be a “natural born citizen.” The lower courts in the case ruled that the question of President Obama’s citizenship is a “political question” and thus an issue for Congress, not the courts, to decide.
Until now, the question of President Obama’s qualifications as a “natural born citizen” has been dodged by the judiciary because those challenging his eligibility had not suffered any personal injury compensable by a court–and thus lacked “legal” standing. There is no such barrier in this case because the patent attorney suffered an out-of-pocket loss of $90.00 because of the new law signed by President Obama.
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Also, until now, no one has questioned the validity of a law signed by the President. Rather, previous cases have sought the removal of President Obama from the presidential ballot or from office altogether. In this case, however, the complaining patent attorney is not seeking President Obama’s removal from office, but simply a refund of his $90.00 and a declaration that, unless he is a “natural born citizen,” President Obama does not have the constitutional authority to sign a bill into law. Yet, the courts are attempting to avoid declaring what the law is based on the judge-made expedient of labeling the issue a “political question.”
In addition to possessing the standing that prior challengers lacked, Mr. Rudy’s case comes at an opportune time just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in National Labor Relations Board v. Canning that an Order of the NLRB was invalid because three members of the board were constitutionally ineligible to serve.
Our amicus brief in Rudy argued that if the U.S. Supreme Court can decide whether members of the NLRB meet the constitutional requirements of their office, it can also decide whether the President of the United States meets the constitutional requirements of his office.
Further, as our brief demonstrated, the requirement that a President be a “natural born citizen” is a fixed legal principle prescribed by the Constitution, with the purpose to insulate the office from foreign influences that would compromise the President’s sworn oath to “defend, preserve, and protect” the Constitution of the United States.
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Many object to any challenge to the eligibility of a president, or presidential aspirant; but if the law is to apply equally to every person, Presidents cannot be deemed to be above the law based on vague tests such as whether the case presents “political question.” Indeed, demonstrating that the term “natural born citizen” is a constitutional requirement that has continuing political significance that needs resolution are questions not just about President Obama, but also about Republicans Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and others.
Our brief was filed on behalf of U.S. Justice Foundation, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Abraham Lincoln Foundation, U.S. Border Control, U.S. Border Control Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Policy Analysis Center, and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund.
William J. Olson, P.C., Attorneys at Law
370 Maple Avenue West, Suite 4, Vienna, Virginia 22180-5615
Phone: (703) 356-5070; Fax: (703) 356-5085
114 Creekside Lane, Winchester, Virginia 22602-2429
Phone: (540) 450-8777; Fax: (540) 450-8771
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