Judge rejects Montco lawyer's bid to have Obama removed from ballot
A federal judge in Phila. tossed a complaint by a local lawyer who claimed that Barack Obama was not qualified to be president and that his name should be removed from the ballot.
A federal judge in Philadelphia last night threw out a complaint by a Montgomery County lawyer who claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was not qualified to be president and that his name should be removed from the Nov. 4 ballot.
Philip J. Berg alleged in a complaint filed in federal district court on Aug. 21 against Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission, that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya.
Berg claimed that the Democratic presidential standardbearer is not even an American citizen but a citizen of Indonesia and therefore ineligible to be president.
He alleged that if Obama was permitted to run for president and subsequently found to be ineligible, he and other voters would be disenfranchised.
U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick had denied Berg's request for a temporary restraining order on Aug. 22 but had not ruled on the merits of the suit until yesterday.
Obama and the Democratic National Committee had asked Surrick to dismiss Berg's complaint in a court filing on Sept. 24.
They said that Berg's claims were "ridiculous" and "patently false," that Berg had "no standing" to challenge the qualifications of a candidate for president because he had not shown the requisite harm to himself.
In a 34-page memorandum and opinion, the judge said Berg's allegations of harm were "too vague and too attenuated" to confer standing on him or any other voters.
Surrick ruled that Berg's attempts to use certain laws to gain standing to pursue his claim that Obama was not a natural-born citizen were "frivolous and not worthy of discussion."
The judge also said the harm Berg alleged did "not constitute an injury in fact" and Berg's arguments to the contrary "ventured into the unreasonable."
For example, Berg had claimed that Obama's nomination deprived citizens of voting for Sen. Hillary Clinton in November. (Berg backed Clinton in the primaries.)
Berg could not be reached for comment last night.
Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, and the campaign posted a document issued by Hawaii on its Web site, fight thesmears.com, confirming his birth there.
Berg said in court papers that the image was a forgery.
The nonpartisan Web site FactCheck.org examined the original document and said it was legitimate.
Further, a birth announcement in the Aug. 13, 1961, Honolulu Advertiser listed Obama's birth there on Aug. 4. *