The Obama campaign is probably breathing a sigh of relief now that the motion for temporary restraining order sought by Philip J. Berg, Esquire, has been denied. Berg, who says he is a Democrat (and presumably a Clinton supporter), filed a lawsuit last Thursday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Obama, the DNC and the FEC, claiming that Obama can't be president because he isn't a "natural born Citizen," as required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution. Berg also immediately sought a TRO to "put a stop to Defendant Obama's fraudulent campaign scheme."
Berg is a Pennsylvania attorney who is acting pro se. While the skepticism that usually attaches to pro se plaintiffs may not be justified, generally speaking — except that it is — Berg did not help his credibility by referring to himself under "Parties" as "Plaintiff, Plaintiff, Philip J. Berg, Esquire [hereinafter "Plaintiff"] . . . ."
First, it is usually possible to figure out who the plaintiff is in a lawsuit without that kind of bracketed help, especially when he has called himself that twice already in the same sentence. Second, Plaintiff Plaintiff Berg, you're suing a presidential candidate on the eve of the nominating convention and you couldn't take a second to proofread the sentence with your own name in it? Please.
Obama — or, as Berg calls him, "Defendant Barack Hussein Obama, a/k/a Barry Soetoro, a/k/a Barry Obama, a/k/a Barack Dunham, a/k/a Barry Dunham [hereinafter 'Obama']," is running for president. But he can't be president, according to Berg, who charges that Obama is not a "natural born citizen" because, "just to name one of the problems," he "lost his U.S. citizenship when his mother married an Indonesian citizen" and the family moved there. Just to name two of the problems with that argument, (1) it concedes that Obama had U.S. citizenship to lose, and (2) you don't lose citizenship just because your mom marries a non-citizen, even if you move. Berg did not cite any support for this point, though he did set it forth in bold underlining, which is almost as good.
For the most part, Berg just raises "questions" about Obama's birthplace (Berg claims it was Kenya) and citizenship, and then charges that Obama "has refused to prove" he is qualified to run. The complaint concedes that Obama has posted a birth certificate on his website, but, Berg says, "as posted all over the internet," that is a forgery. And as we should all know by now, anything posted all over the internet must be true.
The complaint includes three counts: (1) violation of Article II, Section I of the Constitution; (2) "dual citizenship," and (3) fraud. Berg concludes, "For the above aforementioned reasons, Obama needs to immediately step down and withdrawal his candidacy for Presidency."
What is especially amusing about all this is that, as Berg may or may not know, the other guy in the race has the same problem, if it is a problem. John McCain was not born in the U.S. — he was born in the Canal Zone. There is no question that he is a U.S. citizen. But Article II doesn't say "citizen" — it says "natural born Citizen." And, it seems, nobody really knows for sure what that means. Barry Goldwater had the same problem (he was born in the Arizona Territory), as did Mitt Romney's dad, George, who was born in Mexico. They weren't disqualified from running, despite the legal uncertainty about the term. George Romney's opponent apparently did insist on calling him "Jorge," but that's the worst that has happened so far.
Obama's "campaign scheme" can go forward, at least for now, because the motion was denied after a hearing on Friday. Sadly, a transcript of that hearing does not yet seem to be available, but the pleadings (downloaded from the court via PACER) are posted below.
Link: Complaint in Berg v. Obama (PDF)
Link: Motion for TRO in Berg v. Obama (PDF)
Link: Order Denying TRO in Berg v. Obama (PDF)