Orly Taitz, the crusading Moldovan-American lawyer-dentist who has been tirelessly seeking to prove that President Obama was born someplace other than Hawaii, has lost again. Judge Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the D.C. federal court (and a Reagan appointee) tossed yet another of Taitz’s lawsuits on April 14.
Among other things, Taitz has had trouble proving that she has standing to pursue these cases, mainly because she doesn’t. This latest effort involved a “writ of quo warranto.” There is such a thing, and it can in fact be used to inquire as to the authority by which a public office is held. But as the court held, the statutes clearly state that only the Attorney General or a U.S. Attorney can pursue such a lawsuit without leave of court, and therein lies the problem for the private lawyer-dentists of our nation.
The opinion’s third paragraph goes like this:
This is one of several such suits filed by Ms. Taitz in her quixotic attempt to prove that President Obama is not a natural born citizen as required by [the] Constitution. See U.S. Const. art. II, § 1. This Court is not willing to go tilting at windmills with her.
Oops, doesn’t sound like good news for Orly, but let’s read on anyway.
Again, the problem is standing: a writ of quo warranto “involve[s] a right belonging to the whole body of the public which can be protected only by a public representative.” Because filing a lot of lawsuits doesn’t make you a “public representative,” Taitz has no standing. Also, the court said, the one case that has discussed the circumstances under which a private person could seek a writ suggests that only someone who is or at least claims to be entitled to the office herself could do so — in other words, the plaintiff is the rightful holder of the office and has been displaced by a usurper. (That last phrase is mine — I just like the word “usurper.”) “Ironically enough,” the court noted, “Ms. Taitz could never establish such an injury because — as far as the Court is aware — she was not elected president nor could she be as she is not a natural born citizen herself.”
The court is correct that Taitz was not elected president and was not born in the U.S. She is a naturalized citizen, a licensed dentist, a graduate of the Taft Online Law School and (somehow unsurprisingly) the holder of a license to practice law in California, but Article II does not mention any of those criteria.
Just in case, Taitz also brought (and lost) claims alleging violations of the False Claims Act (further irony), the Freedom of Information Act, common-law fraud, civil-rights claims under Sections 1983 and 1985, RICO, and even the Commerce Clause. That last one was a creative effort to defeat health-care reform by claiming that the bill was unconstitutional because Obama was not president when he signed it. While there are a lot of ways the court could have gone with that, it took the easy route by pointing out that at the time Taitz sued, Obama had not signed the bill yet (oops!) and so, again, she had no standing to pursue that claim. (I guess you could argue her injury was “imminent,” if she had one.)
Sooner or later, Taitz’s unbroken string of losses may get so long that it will embarrass her online law school, but for now she continues to be listed on its roll of “honored graduates.” I express no opinion about her skill in dentistry, but have not been impressed by her legal arguments.
Link: The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
Link: Taitz v. Obama, No. 1:10-cv-00151-RCL (D.D.C. op. filed Apr. 15, 2010) (on Scribd.com)