Thursday, February 09, 2012

Birther fail... again

It seems that last week a "birther" case, brought by professional loony and Zsa-Zsa Gabor impersonator Orly Taitz, was legally dumped. In the ruling (see PDF), Judge Malihi stated, yet again, that Barack Obama is in fact a U.S. citizen. The birther case was so bad that they lost even though neither Obama nor a lawyer representing Obama wasted their time showing up.

Needless to say, the right wing blogosphere is going nuts over this, to the point where searching Google News for "Malihi" will mostly bring up hysteria-laden headlines like "Georgia Judge Michael Malihi is a cowardly traitor."

Though much more low key, this article by "the Conservative voice of Arizona" manages to hit all the silly points after starting off with a reasonable summary of the facts.

"Using Malihi’s analysis, anyone born in the United States is a natural born citizen. In other words, according to Malihi, children born within the United States to illegal aliens, tourists and/or terrorists are natural born citizens and are, therefore, eligible to become President of the United States."

Well, um, yes. It's kind of established legal precedent already, I thought. Hey, you know what I could do? I could look it up!

All the original Constitution said about the birth issue was, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

The Fourteenth Amendment, though, says: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

And then the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898, that a man born in the United States to two citizens of China, was a legal citizen of the United States, based on the Fourteenth amendment. Stupid old activist judges in the 19th century.

In other words, this isn't controversial law, and hasn't been for well over a hundred years.

But hey, nothing our friends at the right wing rag can't obfuscate with an analogy to a faulty syllogism.

"Malihi’s conclusion is more analogous to saying: All dogs are mammals and all cats are mammals and therefore, all cats are dogs."

Noooooo... What Malihi said was:

  1. All people born in the United States are citizens.
  2. Obama is a person born in the United States.
  3. Therefore Obama is a citizen.
  4. Dumbass.

I'm paraphrasing a bit, but as far as I can remember my logic classes, that is a valid Modus Ponens. Especially the last part.


  1. Does anyone think this “birther” shtick is anything but xenophobic bigots grasping at legal straws? Does it really matter if a person that was legally elected president moved to the US at an age of 6 months old instead of born here? How could it really matter?

    I suppose if you are a racist and fixated on how the president has the wrong skin color, then where he was born might matter. I think the framers of the constitution were mostly concerned about full grown men moving here and subverting the country as spies once elected, the “naturally born” part being a way to more or less establish that the president would have a decent chance of being loyal to the country he was to govern.

    So even if they are accurate in their complaints it should not matter, but as it happens they are factually wrong anyway. Fractal wrongness strikes again.

  2. Like John K. said, in what way does it really matter? There are likely natural born citizens who would betray the country if given the chance, whereas most foreigners who choose to come and live here tend to be quite loyal to the country.

    The president isn't even close to being able to single-handedly sabotage the country; even if a malicious, foreign-born person were to be elected, they would likely be impeached and/or unable to pass any of the laws that they want (unless the entire legislative and judicial branches are accomplices in this grand plot to sabotage the country).

    And, of course, nobody would even be asking this question if Obama was white. The level of racism behind the birther movement is frankly disgusting. I thought Americans put this shit behind them in the 60's/70's.