If Gov. Neil Abercrombie Really Wanted The Records …
The Obama birth certificate controversy continues, with Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie starting and then abandoning efforts to release more documentation. Claims in The Daily Caller and on Drudge that Abercrombie has admitted to a friend that the birth certificate is not on file (contrary to representations by Hawaiian officials) adds just more fuel to a highly charged political fire. [Update: Not surprisingly, the report in The Dailly Caller is disputed. As I pointed out before, there is no reason to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy by Hawaiian officials.]
Put aside whether Abercrombie should be looking to release documentation. That is such a hot issue that it is impossible to have a civil discussion about it anymore (my position is here and here). (Please, no comments regarding the meaning of “natural born citizen” will be put through, anyone who wants to read about that can read the comments to my prior posts.)
But when such stalwart supporters of Obama as Chris Matthews, David Corn and Clarence Page all have joined Gov. Abercrombie in seeking release of the original birth certificate, one wonders why Gov. Abercrombie didn’t take an obvious route.
Gov. Abercromie states that he has abandoned his quest because Hawaiian law only allows release of vital record contents (other than the index information already released) if the person requesting the information has “a direct and tangible interest in the record.” While some people loosely have said that Obama’s vital records cannot be released without Obama’s permission, that is not true; the records can be released to any of the persons listed in the statute, or with Obama’s permission to persons not listed in the statute.
The law goes on to list the categories of persons who satisfy this standard, and Gov. Abercromie does not appear to fall within any of those categories. So without Obama’s permission, it is true that Gov. Abercrombie himself cannot obtain or release any more information than already has been released.
But there are people who could obtain such records, namely, anyone who shares a common ancestor with Obama, as provided in the applicable statute:
“§338-18 Disclosure of records.
(a) To protect the integrity of vital statistics records, to ensure their proper use, and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the vital statistics system, it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record, except as authorized by this part or by rules adopted by the department of health.
(b) The department shall not permit inspection of public health statistics records, or issue a certified copy of any such record or part thereof, unless it is satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the record. The following persons shall be considered to have a direct and tangible interest in a public health statistics record:
* * * *
(5) A person having a common ancestor with the registrant….”
The Attorney General of Hawaii has issued an interpretation of the statute in question making clear that someone who falls in the categories enumerated in the statute does not have to prove anything else in order to be entitled to the record. In Re Ms. Blossom Kaonohi, 1990 WL 482371, OIP Opinion Letter No. 90-23 (June 28, 1990):
“Interpreting section 338-18, Hawaii Revised Statutes, consistently with the model legislation upon which it was based and the legislative history of the 1977 amendments to this section, and avoiding a construction which would produce unreasonable results, we conclude that the word ‘and‘ was intended to be used disjunctively. Specifically, we conclude that as long as the DOH is satisfied that the person seeking to inspect and copy a particular vital statistic record stands in the required relationship to the registrant, that person need not also establish that the information is ‘necessary for the determination of personal or property rights.‘”
Under this Opinion, it would be up to the Hawaii Department of Health to determine whether the person requesting the records shared “a common ancestor” with the registrant.
There is no definition in the statute (or anywhere in Hawaiian law, as far as I can tell) of what “common ancestor” means. The plain meaning would seem to include even distant common ancestors so long as the relationship were provable to a specific ancestor (i.e., that two people may share a common DNA showing that they descended from the same area of the world would not prove that they shared a specific identifiable ancestor.)
So, regardless of the politics, there would seem to be a way for those — such as Gov. Abercrombie — who want to obtain copies of Obama’s “vital record information” to do so: Find someone who shares a “common ancestor” with Obama and have that person obtain it.
There appear to be many such people, including a well known blogger, and allegedly some pretty high profile presonalities, such as Dick Cheney, Harry Reid and Ann Coulter, as well as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.
Limbaugh denies a common ancestry with Obama, and I too am skeptical of “10th cousin once removed” claims. Limbaugh also recognizes that the whole birth certificate issue likely is a giant head fake to make people look bad, for when the birth certificate eventually is produced, it will show Obama to have been born in Hawaii.
Nonetheless, all the teeth gnashing by Gov. Abercrombie about the restrictions of Hawaiian law seems pretty strange considering that there are plenty of people around who share a common ancestor with Obama and could obtain the records for Gov. Abercrombie.
It is unclear how or when this controversy will end. But I hope it ends soon with Obama being proven beyond a doubt to have been born in Hawaii. Any other result would be unimaginably bad for our democracy.
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Wasn't there a report from, I believe the GAO, that stated there is nothing to compel a candidate to provide proof of citizenship. To me the takeaway from this situation is that that needs to be changed so that this issue doesn't come up again in the future.
Brilliant idea, Professor.
In one sense, I'm reluctant to point people to jbjd's blog because she is a Hillary supporter, Howard Zinn acolyte, and she has a remarkable temper.
However, jbjd was so outraged by the electoral process which put Obama's name on the ballot, that she has written extensively citing evidence of illegal activity by Pelosi and the Democrat Party.
jbjd has a law degree, but as far as I know, she doesn't practice. She lives in looney Massachusetts where she is a part-time teacher.
Her latest article:
How to write smart candidate eligibility laws in your state (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard)
And if The Gov does obtain and release the birth certificate, what will happen? Nothing without Obama appearing in court to testify.
There is at least one recent report that states that the "long form" of B.O.'s birth certificate simply does not exist. Some might conclude that the report, if correct, would imply that it doesn't exist because B.O. wasn't born in Hawaii, although it could be that it was simply lost.
After the 2008 election, I remarked to a friend that if it turned out that Obama was not in fact eligible to be President and subsequently removed from office, there would be widespread race riots. I think we should strive to avoid such.
God knows that I haven't been a birther but this issue has suddenly and unnecessarily become a major liability for Obama. This was a self-inflicted crisis. Show the certificate already! If we have a constitutional crisis, we need to know and right now.
I am puzzled by the legalities surrounding accessibility to birth certificates in Hawaii and wonder why it was set up that way. It just seems to me that the purpose of birth certificates is to provide legal proof that someone was born a legal citizen in the jurisdiction where the certificate was issued. Why should it be such a secret document that it is not available for the very purpose it exists?
Even If God himself stated that Obama was not a citizen of the US never mind a natural born citizen, the fact that the election results were certified by the fifty states (electoral college) makes him (unfortunately) president.
As there is no statute dealing with a constitutionally unqualified person being elected to president there is no statutory relief. It would be up to congress to impeach and remove him which is not going to happen.
He is the legal president of the US for the next two years (God help us) and one hopes the voter's won't renew this error in 2012. The best thing the birthers could do is to keep challenging and taunting him to release the records and demand why and what it is he hiding.
cubanbob: maybe so but the political outcry would be enormous. I can't see Obama not being impeached. "Citizen of the world" has no more legal standing than Kenyan when it comes to being POTUS. "My bad" doesn't work either. Something will happen.
The 25th Amendment provides Congress with the tool to remove an ineligible Federal Officer w/in the DC District, and it lies in the DC District Code. Quo Warranto (by what authority do you assume this office).
I would think a Governor, with the intent of proving the POTUS is actually eligible to serve has a "direct and tangible interest in the record".
It's also quite interesting/coincidental/mysterious that Stanley Ann Dunham/Obama/Soetoro's passport applications prior to 1965 have been destroyed. All of her future passport renewals are available, but for some reason, any requests for passports or renewals prior to 1965 are no longer available.
Why is it that every time something might actually provide proof/answers one way or the other, the documents aren't available, provide yet even more questions, or have contradictory information?
A Roadmap to Election Fraud in Texas in the 2008 Presidential (Electors) Election
Like George Bush and Sarah Palin (and perhaps 50 million Americans or more), Obama can trace part of his ancestry to the New England Puritans of the 17th century. In particular, he's a descendant of Edward FitzRandolph of Massacusetts (born 1607) and Samuel Hinckley of Massachusetts (died 1662). There are a number of genealogists who document "notable kin" in this way — it's an enjoyable branch of the hobby. For a professional treatment of Obama's ancestry see:
The curious and remarkable Hawaiian law that allows anyone who shares common ancestry with Obama to request his birth certificate means (if the law is to be taken seriously) that there are surely tens of thousands of Americans who could do it — all the other descendants of Edward FitzRandolph and Samuel Hinckley, for example. And I feel sure they number in the tens of thousands.
People who don't do genealogy are sometimes puzzled or skeptical about these remote connections, but they are perfectly common. I'm a 12th cousin of Sarah Palin and an 11th cousin of George Bush. And so are tens of thousands of other people. It doesn't mean anything profound; it's just an interesting fact of history.
Kevin Bacon and Obama must be at least 6th cousins.
Have a listen to this:
@Maggot – hahaha!! Very clever.
I find it sad that we Conservatives have allowed the left to grant us permission – and we accept their judgment – on what is "acceptable" or what constitutes a "conspiracy." What is so loony about wanting to know more about the person who is president?
I can see for identity protection reasons why just anyone can't request a birth certificate from a state agency. I had to submit proof of parenthood to get my son's long-form certificate of live birth from Maryland. No problem. I would not want just anyone getting that.
My concern has always been: what he is hiding in all the sealed records, and why? That de facto makes me a "birther"? Riiiiggght. Obama is historic – and, assuming he is like most past presidents, will have a library of documents. Releasing the official documents to a limited number of credible experts is sufficient, for birth records, transcripts, etc. Hiding and obfuscating such information begs for questioning and causes a distraction (which I am sure he welcomes); however, it is not crazy to wonder what is in these documents worth writing an executive order to seal.
Personally, I would love the SCOTUS to take up one of these cases and make a ruling on the Constitutional term, defining EXACTLY what is meant by the term "natural born citizen", to avoid this issue in future for any candidates. McCain had to have a Congressional resolution declaring him "eligible" to quiet those "birthers". Hispanics born here with parents of Mexico (or any other foreign nation) will come up against this identical issue, should they choose to run for president some day. Resolve it now, please!
What is crazy about wanting to know the background of the most powerful leader of the free world? It is only crazy to leftists who play race cards and Alinsky games. Not to people who care about truth.
The "born to two American citizens" definition would rule out both Bobby Jindal and Mark Rubio, I believe.
The State of Hawaii itself throws a kink in the works with its own laws and rules. When the Obama birth certificate first appeared on DailyKos, and then on Organizing for America, Obama's campaign website, the very next day, what was provided was a computer generated "Certification of Live Birth."
According to the State of Hawaii website, there are a number of types of birth certificates "on file": these would be "Certificate" of Live Birth, "Certification" of Live Birth, a FS-240 and a DS-1350, both birth certificates. When a person requests copies of their birth certificate, they will not be sent the original, but instead. according to the State of Hawaii website "When a request is made for a copy of a birth certificate, the DOH issues a "Certification" of Live Birth, the kind of computer generation copy provided by the Obama campaign.
The State of Hawaii web site goes on to state that a "Certification" of Live Birth (the short form) will not necessarily be accepted (in lieu of the original long form) when applying for Hawaiian Home Lands, a benefit available to only native Hawaiians.
Buried deep in the web site are examples of ways people, born outside the State of Hawaii, can obtain a Hawaiian birth certificate.
The whole "birther" controversy, if you trace it, was started by a Democratic hack that had connections to David Axelrod's company. The reason was that questions were beginning to arise, and what better way to dismiss those who had questions than to label them much like the 9-11 Truthers?
Now, I would like to address cubanbob: a candidate does not apply to be put on a ballot. That job falls to the head of each party within the state. i.e. the Texas Democratic Party requested to have Barack Obama, Jr. placed on the ballot in the general election. The TxDP chairperson signed an affidavid to the Texas State Election Board stating that Obama met the criterion to be place on the ballot according to the laws of the U.S. government and the State of Texas. IOW, the state party chairperson is affirming that the candidate of their choice meets all legal requirements (natural born, age, residency). The candidate does not sign the affidavid, the state party chair does. Most states, to my knowledge, use the same process.
I agree that not being eligible would create a Constitutional crisis. I also agree that if that is the case, better to deal with it now. The Constitution is vague as to how the government would proceed, but as I understand it, the VP would take over until a general election could be held to replace the ineligible person holding the office of President.
Now, with all that said, I believe Obama is a natural born citizen, but there are reasons he has spent so much money in legal fees just to avoid having to present his "long form" birth certificate to the numerous courts. I want to know what those reasons are.
Why would it be bad for our democracy? It would just prove he lied about his eligibility. He wouldn't have to be impeached, he would just be declared ineligible and removed. And then prosecuted. Or maybe prosecuted first, and then removed.
I don't think that will happen, because I think the real issue with his birth certificate has nothing to do with where he was born. I think he was either born with some embarrassing disease like syphilis, or even more likely, some kind of drug addiction, or there is some uncomfortable truth about his true parentage involved.
I'm leaning toward heroin or cocaine addiction.
Mike Evans, the Hollywood radio host and close friend of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is now backpedaling on his remarks about the elusive birth certificate. The question is, was Evans speaking the truth then, or is he speaking the truth now? Having listened to the broadcast, Evans sounded unequivocal when he relayed that Abercrombie said no birth certificate exists. Now he's trying to take those words back. It isn't difficult to imagine that someone is putting the screws to Evans to "correct" his remarks. The story gets curiouser and curiouser every day.
Fox News report:
Here's a YouTube video that includes Mike Evans original remarks:
And another curious twist from Hawaiian statutes:
[S338-17.8]Certificate for children born out of State.
(a) Upon application of an adult or the legal parents of a minor child, or minor, privided that proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child.
Are we sure Governor Abercrombie didn't wake up one morning to find a horse's head in his bed and suddenly find a convenient way out of coming thru with promised paperwork? I'm just sayin'.
[t]here is no reason to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy by Hawaiian official[s]
yeah, like elected politicians, especially socialist ones who have a track record of cronyism, always appoint above board & honest cronies. yeah, that's the ticket…
(Jan 26) 2:30 p.m. Health Director Quits, Under Investigation for Fraud…Dr. Neal Palafox today asked Governor Neil Abercrombie to withdraw his nomination for Director of the State Department of Health. Governor Abercrombie accepted Dr. Palafox’s request and will make a new appointment for the Health Director as soon as possible. Palafox is being investigated by Hawaii AG David Louie for medical reimbursement fraud, according to Hawaii News Now.
retire05 you know hit the nail on the head. There is no single national presidential election but 50 individual elections and the sum total of the combined electoral votes decided the election. That said if a state were to legislate the requirements to be on the ballot in that given state and just happens to require that certain documents have to be provided to qualify to be on the ballot well you can see where this going. Now suppose that TX, AZ FL,VA and a few others were to pass such legislation in order to be on the ballot in 2012 then Obama will either have to produce or find an excuse not to run again. The real question in this type of scenario is what would Obama's standing be to file suit in such a case since the requirement would apply equally to any candidate applying to run in that state. And what would be the federal issue? A question for the good professor.
FYI…the "common ancestor" law was tested back in 2008 & early 2009… answer from HDOH…denied.
I believe there are records for Obama in HI, but they do not contain a long form HI hosp generated birth certificate. Obama Sr had his own apt in HI & a married couple, especially a proud Kenyan is not going to list his in-laws address on the birth form for his child. The only reason for the grandparents address to be listed is because they were the ones that filed for the birth cert under HI laws that still exist to this day allowing for that to happen. To be able to file, tyhey had to show proof of residency & that is the address that would show. From other records(divorce) we have received from HI, the Dunham/Soetoro divorce clearly shows one child under 18 & one child over 18 & still dependent on both parties for educational support. We know from SAD's passport records that in 1967 she took little barry off of her passport and that little barry had a new Indonesian name of Soebarkah. When was little barry formally repatriated( brought back through INS) and thus renouncing the Indonesian citizenship. How many changes have been made to the original COLB and that is ALL he would have, a short form that is issued to a child that was NOT born in a HI hosp. And why does our dear president have a recycled CT issued social security number when according to the Obama life timeline, he was in HI at the time the SS# was issued to a resident in CT?
There is an 18 yr, highly decorated Army doctor now sitting in prison because he legitimately questioned by what authority under the constitution does Obama claim legitimacy to be his commander in chief who has ordered him into harms way in the fields of Afghanstan. This is NOT going away. It took over 2 years to expose Watergate & we are very close to breaking this wide open thanks to the bumbling, holier than thou thinking, crony politician Abercrombie & his bumbling buddy who can't back pedal fast enough.
Enough is Enough, just release the damn records! Obama is President & he gave up his right to keep his vital birth records private the day he signed on as the official Dem candidate in 2008.
This Rule of, must being a US Natural Born Citizen, to be the US President, is in the US Constitution, but Liberals don't care if you're a Martian from planet Venus, just as long as you are a Radical Anti-American Far Leftwing Liberal Progressive, so they could care less about the adherence to, and enforcement of, that Constitutional Rule.
Now, if for some reason, the Courts, and specifically the US Supreme Court, were to actually rule on Obama's ineligibility to be President of the United States, as he is not a Natural Born US Citizen, oh well then, talk about a Constitutional Crisis, as everything Obama would have signed into Law, would ALL be NULL and VOID..!!!! And we would have been without a Legitimate US President, but a fraudulent US President, and that would be unthinkable in America, even though it is Fact, and Reality.