SACRAMENTO, Calif. (ABP) — A state appellate court in California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs including a former Southern Baptist Convention officer claiming that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore is not eligible to occupy the White House.
California's Third District Court of Appeals threw the lawsuit out Oct. 25, ruling that election officials are not required to erase doubts about Obama's eligibility among individuals who have come to be known as "birthers."
Retired Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland, sitting by assignment, said determining the eligibility of a presidential candidate is the responsibility of party officials and Congress and not California's Secretary of State.
The court said plaintiffs Alan Keyes, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson failed to prove that a lower court erred in finding that Secretary of State Debra Bowen had a duty to administer a legal election but not to investigate whether nominees of political parties are eligible.
"Any investigation of eligibility is best left to each party, which presumably will conduct the appropriate background check or risk that its nominee's election will be derailed by an objection in Congress, which is authorized to entertain and resolve the validity of objections following the submission of the electoral votes," Scotland wrote in the court's opinion.
Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., served as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006-2007. He was Keyes' vice presidential running mate on the California ballot in the 2008 presidential election. Both were nominated by the state's American Independent Party. Markham was the party chairman.
The trio had asked the appeals court to order the Secretary of State to verify the "constitutionally required qualifications of Obama, and any and all future candidates" for president. To do otherwise, they argued, "not only allows, but promotes, an overwhelming degree of disrespect for our Constitution and for our electoral process, and creates such a lack of confidence of voters in the primary and electoral process itself, that it would confirm a common belief that no politician has to obey the laws of this Country, respect our election process, or follow the United States Constitution."
Drake's attorney, Gary Kreep of the conservative advocacy group United States Justice Foundation, reportedly planned to meet with his clients to discuss whether to appeal the dismissal.
Kreep recently filed a court paper in a similar case under appeal in federal court arguing that allowing a lower court's ruling against his clients to stand would strip minorities in the U.S. of "all political power" and allow laws to be based "upon the whims of the majority" instead of the Constitution.