jbjd’s FRENEMIES LIST

February 3, 2012

©2012 jbjd

For the first time in ages, I got sick. And, for the first time in longer than that, I was too sick to go to work. In fact, I was so sick I didn’t even take advantage of being home; to work on my blog. But that was before I decided to put aside the music playlist I was compiling to peruse the blogosphere to sample materials related to these nationwide ballot challenges. Now, I am so angry that, I am actually angrier than I am sick. Fingers crossed, I will feel better if I write.

I have decided to compile a frenemies list from among those on-line characters spewing their interminable fixes to the glitches implicated either directly or tangentially in undermining our electoral system. The bizarre ‘cures’ championed, accepted by too many unwitting citizens as true, are doing more damage to our political system than was already accomplished in the past by sheer apathy. Because those of us who know better and who truly want our government to work as we presume the Founders intended; and who have been exercising our considerable energies (and finite monetary resources) to educating those of our fellow citizens without access to our information or facts or powers of analysis, often with only psychic remuneration; now are additionally compelled to expend our finite resources de-programming those same citizens who have been indoctrinated with this poisonous tripe.

Here’s how Urban Dictionary defines the word “frenemy“:

An enemy disguised as a friend.The type of “friend” whose words or actions bring you down (whether you realize it as intentional). The type of friend you ought to cut off but don’t cuz…he’s nice… good…you’ve had good times with him. He’s good people you can count on to bring you down again sometime in the near future.The friend you may or may not have cornered about his quicksand-like ways and keep around rationalizing “its in the past”…. The person who will continue to bring you down until you demand better for yourself.

So, who has aroused my ire to the point of becoming the first frenemy on my brand new list, the person who whether intentionally or through a personal character flaw is leading you astray under the guise of helping you to find your way?

Leo Donofrio, Attorney at Law.

And what precisely after all of this time has put me into a ‘I’ve-had-it-up-to-here’ stance with respect to Mr. Donofrio’s seemingly endless deluge of fecal matter-cum-legal critique? That *!*!*!* 200+-page amicus brief he assembled and is submitting to every ballot challenge forum he can find, from the GA OSAH hearing to the IL election commission.

(Note: For the purpose of this article, I am intentionally omitting any discussion as to the propriety of submitting such a brief in the first place.)

At first, I only intended to dismiss the brief as irrelevant, by specifically pointing to Leo’s reliably faulty analyses of so many other issues in the past few years. (Note: I am not charging here that everything Leo writes is legally unsound, but only that assuming it is unsound is safer than a detrimental reliance on its validity.) For example, more than 3 years ago, I drafted those military complaints after seeing those many failed attempts by Plaintiffs to address the issue of Presidential eligibility through the federal courts, whose cases were tossed out on procedural grounds. Looking for a way to get around the ‘standing’ problem they encountered, I found the the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, which led to the idea that people seeking redress in federal court could ask for a Declaratory Judgment, using state National Guard Plaintiffs subject to federal recall. Naturally, when drafting the military complaint, I cited to the applicable federal law. Yet, Leo criticized my proposal as un-Constitutional, absurdly arguing federal courts could not issue declaratory judgments! Now, it’s true, the Constitution explicitly says, the authority of the federal court is restricted to deciding “cases” and controversies.”  http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/controversy  But, of course, the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act provides a mechanism for obtaining the court’s opinion within the framework of this restriction.  (His rationale in this instance represented a common flaw that appears in Leo’s reasoning: he looks narrowly to the ‘plain language’ in a passage without considering its practical meaning in the larger legal and political context.) (FYI, here is the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure on Declaratory Judgments. http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_57 For a comprehensive explanation as to when the federal court may issue declaratory judgments, see http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/art3frag21_user.html)

Then, there was the time he argued that he had found a federal law allowing a member of the security division of the Executive branch to withhold ‘secrets’ from the President, the boss of the Executive, based on a determination, this is in the public interest. I spent hours explaining, especially on CW’s blog, this is not what the law means. For definitions of the terms contained in this section of the law, you have to look at another section of the law. And those definitions spelled out, the law Leo claimed applied to the President applied only to contract employees. (Or you can use your common sense!) Indeed, I intended to make my case that any ‘legal’ work produced by Mr. Donofrio is irrelevant; by searching through years of internet postings, in which I refuted such tripe; and even began such a search. But I found the task overwhelming. (Readers of the CW blog familiar with this exchange might look it up and send here; I will post.)

I also figured Leo likely had only reached the 200-page milestone by incorporating into this amicus brief much of that same flawed ‘legal’ reasoning I had already de-bunked over the years. That’s when I decided to skim the brief. And, sure enough, this document contains many of those ‘legal’ arguments conjured up only in Leo’s imagination, which arguments even if they could be said to validate his personal private machinations; nonetheless still detract from the practical approach required to engage an active citizenry in shoring up our electoral system so as to ensure, only the candidate who is a NBC, can be elected for the job.

PLEASE, LEST YOU ARE TEMPTED AT THE OUTSET OF MY ANALYSIS TO COMPARE, CONTRAST, OR CHALLENGE RESPECTIVE CREDENTIALS WHICH HAVE BEEN MADE PUBLIC BY US ON-LINE PUNDITS; STOP! I have asked readers to consider our respective legitimacy only by examining on-line track records based on criteria that include reliability of analysis, and accurate reporting of facts, a feat which can be accomplished even absent full access to the particulars in his or her CV. (Let’s start with this fact. The legal and political analyses of issues related to presidential eligibility which I began in 2008 in response to voter concerns, led me to recommend at that time, given existing state laws, the mechanism for keeping Barack Obama out of the WH was to keep his name off the state election ballot. Leo only accessed this mechanism for redress of the eligibility dilemma, 3 1/2 years after the fact.) CHALLENGING BO’S ELIGIBILITY TO GET ONTO THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT AS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR POTUS)

Leo begins the amicus brief with his assumptions of these facts: 1) Barack Obama was born in HI; and 2) his father was a British subject at the time of his birth. Then, based on these assumptions, he argues, Barack Obama is not a NBC because Minor v. Happersett defines only those citizens born in the U.S. of 2 U.S. citizen parents are NBCs.

No, it does not. And I have explained several times, it does not. For example, see SENSE and non-SENSE, relying on such sources such as the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University School of Law. Nor does Minor in any way limit the definition of NBC to only those people born in the U.S. of 2 U.S. citizen parents.

The decision from the lower courts which was appealed to the Supreme Court in Minor was quite narrow:

The question is presented in this case, whether, since the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, a woman, who is a citizen of the United States and of the State of Missouri, is a voter in that State, notwithstanding the provision of the constitution and laws of the State, which confine the right of suffrage to men alone.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0088_0162_ZO.html

Thus, the main focus of this case was not on citizenship; in fact, everyone involved in the case already agreed, based on the wording of the 14th Amendment, she was a citizen. Rather, the question presented to the high court was whether privileges and immunities connected to  citizenship included the right to vote. The lower courts had ruled, it did not. Minor disagreed; that’s why she appealed. But before the high court could issue what would then become a legal “fact” with respect to voting as a privilege and immunity of citizenship; it first had to determine whether those “persons” now classified in the 14th Amendment as (having always been) citizens with a right to privileges and immunities, (historically) included women. If yes; the court would then determine whether voting had historically been treated as a privilege and immunity of citizenship, so as to determine whether it would be a privilege and immunity of citizenship, now. For this analysis, the court looked back at the history of women-qua-persons-who-would-have-been-considered-citizens pre-14th Amendment. Determining Minor was always considered a citizen (and thus, would have enjoyed the privileges and immunities of citizenship) even before the formalization of that designation in the 14th Amendment, was easy. As the court pointed out, given her specific set of circumstances – she was a woman born in the U.S. of 2 U.S. citizen parents – the literature was consistent. Thus, at a minimum, she was a citizen entitled to the same privileges and immunities of all citizens. Then, the court ‘just’ had to consider whether voting was one of these privileges and immunities which had historically been attached to such citizenship.

But you didn’t stop there.

Referring again to the Minor court, you wrote, “Their holding was that natural-born citizens were citizens at birth who do not require the 14th Amendment to establish their membership in the nation.” No, it was not; the holding in Minor had absolutely nothing to do with citizenship. Remember, the lower courts all agreed, Minor was both a citizen of MO and of the U.S.; and that voting wasn’t a privilege and immunity with respect to such citizenship. Minor appealed to the high court on the narrow grounds, she believed voting was a privilege and immunity tied to her citizenship under the 14th Amendment.

Here’s the holding in Minor, again, closely correlated to the narrow question asked:

Being unanimously of the opinion that the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one, and that the constitutions and laws of the several States which commit that important trust to men alone are not necessarily void, we AFFIRM THE JUDGMENT.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0088_0162_ZO.html

As for your statement that the court [said] Minor was a citizen before the 14th Amendment, well, of course, it could not say otherwise, since everyone who was a U.S. citizen before the 14th Amendment was still a citizen after its passage; and no one who wasn’t already a U.S. citizen was made a citizen by this Amendment. The court actually said,

There is no doubt that women may be citizens. They are persons, and by the fourteenth amendment “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are expressly declared to be “citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” But, in our opinion, it did not need this amendment to give them that position. Before its adoption the Constitution of the United States did not in terms prescribe who should be citizens of the United States or of the several States, yet there were necessarily such citizens without such provision. There cannot be a nation without a people. The very idea of a political community, such as a nation is, implies an [p166] association of persons for the promotion of their general welfare. Each one of the persons associated becomes a member of the nation formed by the association.

Id.

Read the legislative history; the 14th Amendment did not confer a new status of citizenship on anyone not already a citizen before its passage, whether native, natural born, or naturalized. It merely had to find that   http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt14a_user.html#amdt14a_hd1

And then, you really went off the deep end. “The Court determined it was necessary to define the class of natural-born citizens, and the definition remains current legal precedent.”

Leo, for goodness sake, get a grip. The court explicitly only set out to confirm that the word “citizen” appearing in the 14th Amendment also meant women who ‘belonged’ to this country before the 14th Amendment officially codified they were citizens. Because once it confirmed that women had always been considered ‘citizens,’ from the founding of this country and, therefore, that all of the privileges and immunities attached to such citizenship, beginning at that time, should apply now under the 14th Amendment; it could then figure out whether voting had been treated as a privilege or immunity of that citizenship. It made no difference to the analysis rendered by the court whether Minor could be said to be a native, natural born, or naturalized citizen but only whether she could be said to have been a citizen even before that word was codified in the 14th Amendment; and only because the rights enumerated in the 14th Amendment were limited to citizens. Yes, by reasoning that Minor was a citizen before the 14th Amendment the court also confirmed, the amendment did not confer new citizenship status or rights but merely ‘codified’ s status which already existed with respect to Minor. However, it did not, as you would suggest, confirm, in dicta, that the only “citizens” who were citizens before the 14th Amendment were NBCs; rather, it only confirmed that, at least, NBCs (like Minor) were citizens before the 14th Amendment.

Thus, consistent with the lower courts, the Supreme Court agreed, Minor was a citizen according to the language in the 14th Amendment. Then, examining the implications of citizenship before the 14th Amendment, the court found, in fact, Minor rightly could be considered a citizen before the 14th Amendment. But, alas, having examined the historical privileges and immunities ancillary to citizenship before the 14th Amendment; it also agreed, voting appears not to have been one of those privileges and immunities of citizenship. Thus, the court did not have to enforce a right to vote in MO. (Interestingly, the court  virtually invited the electorate to cure this mistake.)

We have given this case the careful consideration its importance demands. If the law is wrong, it ought to be changed; but the power for that is not with us. The arguments addressed to us bearing upon such a view of the subject may perhaps be sufficient to induce those having the power, to make the alteration, but they ought not to be permitted to influence our judgment in determining the present rights of the parties now litigating before us. No argument as to woman’s need of suffrage can be considered. We can only act upon her rights as they exist. It is not for us to look at the hardship of withholding. Our duty is at an end if we find it is within the power of a State to withhold.

Id.

In sum, with respect to the 14th Amendment and citizenship, NO U.S. CITIZENS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY SATISFIED THE CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL STATES OR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, NEEDED THE 14TH AMENDMENT TO ESTABLISH THEIR U.S. CITIZENSHIP. BOTH THOSE CITIZENS WHO WERE CITIZENS ON THE BASIS THAT THEY WERE BORN HERE OF 2-CITIZEN PARENTS; AND THOSE CITIZENS WHO WERE CITIZENS ON THE BASIS THAT THEY WERE BORN HERE OF NON-CITIZEN PARENTS; AND THOSE CITIZENS WHO WERE CITIZENS ON THE BASIS THAT THEY WERE NATURALIZED HERE,WERE ALREADY CITIZENS OF THE NATION BEFORE THE 14TH AMENDMENT, EVEN IF THESE SAME U.S. CITIZENS FAILED TO QUALIFY AS CITIZENS OF INDIVIDUAL STATES UNDER THE LAWS OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL STATES OR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THUS, ALL OF THESE CITIZENS WHO WERE ALREADY CITIZENS OF THE NATION BEFORE THE 14TH AMENDMENT, WERE MENTIONED IN THE 14TH AMENDMENT ONLY FOR THIS NARROW PURPOSE: TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE NOW KNEW, BEING CITIZENS MEANS, BEING ENTITLED TO THE SAME DUE PROCESS, EQUAL PROTECTION, AND PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES AS ALL OTHER CITIZENS FROM NOW ON.

Got that now? And the only reason the court even reached the analysis of Minor’s citizenship was so as to confirm the word “citizen” and “person” as used in the new 14th Amendment necessarily meant even before the 14th Amendment, women who were similarly situated, that is, women born here of 2 citizen parents, but only because Minor was a woman born here of 2 citizen parents. Once it determined the threshold issue, that is, the new Amendment did, indeed, apply to the woman named in the present case; it stopped the ‘citizen’ aspect of its analysis and reached the voting qua “privileges and immunities” of citizenship core of the case. The Minor court only ruled, for the first time, under this new right vested in citizens by the 14th Amendment, voting cannot be said to be a “privilege or immunity.” It did not rule that only citizens born here of 2 citizen parents are NBCs.

Then, Leo contradicted himself.

The Minor Court’s construction of the natural-born citizen clause was the independent ground by which the Court avoided construing the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause.Therefore, such construction is precedent, not dicta, despite Presidential eligibility not being an issue in that case. The Court determined it was necessary to define the class of natural-born citizens, and the definition remains current legal precedent.

As I have stated, the Minor court did, in fact, undertake a legal and historical analysis which, as a threshold issue, determined that, as the word “citizen” was used in the new 14th Amendment; Minor was a citizen even before the 14th Amendment. Thus, having considered the issue of Minor’s pre-14th Amendment citizenship (status) in order to “construe” that the word “citizen” in the 14th Amendment means her; the court cannot be said to be simultaneously “avoiding construing the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause.” It did construe the 14th Amendment’s guarantee to equal privileges and immunities of all citizens, to mean all “persons” who have ‘belonged’ to this country even before the 14th Amendment, including women. At this same time, it did avoid an exhaustive exploration of all of the possible iterations of  ‘women belonging to a country’ which also might rightly have triggered the designation “citizen” that appears in the 14th Amendment and, thereby implicated the “privileges and immunities” clause. And it avoided an exhaustive consideration of these ancillary issues because in the present case, it did not have to reach these issues in order to render its ruling on the case before the court.

Finally, Leo again raises the specter of Vattel. For goodness sake, give up that ghost! DEFINITION on DEMAND

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Freedom costs.


IT’S NOT OFFICIAL UNLESS IT’S SIGNED on the DOTTED LINE

October 29, 2011

©2011 jbjd

(UPDATE 10.30.11, AT BOTTOM)

I make mistakes; but if, after several defenses of my work over time, I continue to insist I am right then, you likely waste your time betting against me that I am wrong.  Especially when the person insisting I am wrong is one of the usual ‘suspects.’

I received an email from PJRieke, the contents of which appeared to be a wholesale copy of a lengthy post from the site naturalborncitizen, authored by Leo Donofrio.  The crux of the email and the post was this.  Since 2006, either the on-line publisher, Justia.com or, as Leo concedes, perhaps a hacker, ostensibly altered versions of the ‘legal’ cases appearing on the Justia.com web site so as to eliminate all references to Minor v. Happersett, the case Leo (wrongly) insists points to the ‘fact,’ Barack Obama cannot be said to be a NBC.

Here was my email response.

From: jbjd
To: PJR…
Sent: 10/22/2011 7:45:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: JUSTIA.COM SURGICALLY REMOVED “MINOR v HAPPERSETT” FROM 25 SUPREME COURT OPINION

PJR,

Justia.com is a commercial web site and not the official publisher of court cases in any state or the federal bench.  Therefore, crying ‘the sky is falling’ even assuming they are intentionally doctoring the text of ‘actual’ court cases by editing out certain references to force their point of view  is like complaining Bayer is intentionally over-simplifying the human digestive system in the rudimentary diagrams featured in its commercials for Alka-Seltzer.

And I have been saying this about Justia, for months… Do a search for “jbjd” and “Justia”..

jbjd

Well, this prompted an even lengthier email response from PJR, again, imported wholesale from Leo.  But this time, he defended against Leo’s baseless assertion that Justia.com or the hacker did something wrong, by elevating their alleged manipulation of electronically posted court cases into a criminal act, citing a portion of the U.S. Code relating to false publication. (Please note, I am only leaving in these excerpts from Leo’s blog so as to show to what lengths both PJR and he have gone trying to prove the falsehood they are peddling, is true.  Clearly, I neither support not endorse this ‘research.’)

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 12:39 PM, <PJRieke@aol.com> wrote:

jbjd,
Just sayin’…,
and OH, BTW, it appears that “other” (than “most”) folks (that would be the lawyerly types – no offense intended) DO make use of it – also.
As for your comment
“… crying ‘the sky is falling’ even assuming they are intentionally doctoring the text of ‘actual’ court cases by editing out certain references to force their point of view  is like complaining Bayer is intentionally over-simplifying the human digestive system in the rudimentary diagrams featured in its commercials for Alka-Seltzer. “,
it’s considered a crime / felony to conceal, obfuscate or otherwise alter legal renderings…as I’m sure you’re well aware ofTAMPERING WITH OFFICIAL WRITINGS IS A CRIME UNDER 18 U.S.C. 1018.

§1018. Official certificates or writings

Whoever, being a public officer or other person authorized by any law of the United States to make or give a certificate or other writing, knowingly makes and delivers as true such a certificate or writing, containing any statement which he knows to be false, in a case where the punishment thereof is not elsewhere expressly provided by law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

The statute covers a “person” authorized by any law of the US to make or give official writings.  Justia.com is authorized – according to the federal Public Domain laws – to re-publish US Supreme Court opinions.
(source):
pjr
“…AUDIO INTERVIEW CONCERNING THE TECH DESIGN OF JUSTIA FROM JAN. 2007

Justia CEO Tim Stanley gave a 21 minute podcast interview to Ken Chan of “Law And Legal Research” in Jan. ’07 after Tim was awarded the Google Enterprise Search Superstar award.  In that interview, Stanley was asked who Justia was created to benefit.  Here is Stanley’s candid reply:

Stanley: The primary users of it tend to be lawyers or attorneys looking for legal information or looking for case-law, or looking for information from some of the legal blogs that are online. And the other sort of major group of users tends to be law students or other students in the college environment or high schools that are looking for information on the US Government and sort of how the court system works.

Chan: The homepage, if you will, mentions the indexing of all of the Supreme Court cases… What would you say is the primary piece of information that somebody is coming to your web site to find, or is there one?  Is it a wide basis of information or is there a particular type of information that somebody is coming to find?

Stanley:  In most cases they’re looking for a variety of types of legal information.There is a large percentage though that are looking for Supreme Court information, and looking at particular Supreme Court cases.  And one of the nice things we’ve done using the Google Mini is we’ve indexed all the Supreme Court cases, and we have a nice sort of inter-linking among the cases, so you can go from one case, you know, quickly link over to a previous case.  And the Google algorithm when it’s indexing the cases does a very good job in terms of prioritizing the cases based on those that sort of have more value to the legal community.

Stanley tells us that the primary users are lawyers, not lay people.  Also, keep in mind that when he gave this interview in ’07, none of the cases had been sabotaged yet.  The cases were in the database with full case names, citations, and no text had been removed.

Here is my response.

PJR,

I am so glad you sent this email, which affords me the opportunity to 1) clarify the misconception you share with several others over the role of “official” publishers of state and federal court decisions versus commercial re-‘printers'; and 2) remind you about the uselessness of self-authentication.

Federal law (U.S. Code) governs that U.S. Reports is the official publisher of decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.  http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/info_opinions.aspx State laws which govern the operation of state courts, include language that mandates court decisions will be published.  http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/ Official publishers of court decisions, such as Lexis/Nexis work under contract with the state. http://www.lexisnexis.com/clients/CACourts/ States may also contract with publishers such as West to print digests of cases. http://www.courts.alaska.gov/aklegal.htm  While both Lexis/Nexis and West are commercial concerns, when publishing state court materials under state contracts, each is bound by strict protocols and standards imposed by the state, which may include allowing the state to retain rights to prior consultation and approval.

Remember, appellate decisions have precedential effect. That is, what happened in the past sets the standard for conduct in the future. Thus, in order for both judges and lawyers to determine how to present and rule on subsequent cases, they must be able to research prior cases.  Looking through court records is prohibitive and so, these cases are compiled in official publications intended to streamline the process.  In effect, by contracting with legal publishers, the state is actually providing services to state actors, including not only these judges and lawyers but also state legislators.

It is no exaggeration to say, misrepresenting the content of a case, whether by changing the words in the judge’s ruling or, omitting a comma; may mean the difference between life and death.  Ensuring the accurate reproduction of the original court ruling is, therefore, a solemn responsibility.  Only those publishers officially contracted with the state have been given that responsibility.  It is their work which can be trusted, and their work which, therefore, can be cited in subsequent submissions to the court.

Justicia.com is not an official publisher of court cases in any state or issuing from the federal bench.  Therefore, the law you cite related to false publication of official documents, does not apply to them.

The second point I want to make seems to me would have been self-evident.  In the same way we urge people not to look to, say, Barack Obama for self-authentication – after all, he said he was Constitutionally eligible for the job of President but, we don’t just believe him - you are now urging me to believe Justia has some innate value because its owner says, the product his company offers is so good, even lawyers use it (along with high school students).

Again, I want to thank you for this second email insisting I was wrong to fob off hyperbolic charges against Justia.com raised by you and Leo, among others. Because in the past, I had only supported my dismissal of these ridiculous charges against the company by saying, they are not official publishers of state or federal court decisions and so, can post anything they want.  Now, I have taken the time to explain myself more fully and thereby not only validated my position but also, undoubtedly, educated people as to how our government works.

jbjd

Imagine, all of this time spent just to prove the fallacy that a legal definition exists as to what is a NBC; while, since 2008, no new state election laws mandating that the state may only print on the ballot the names of those candidates it determines are qualified for the job; or requiring that Electors may only elect a President whose name the state has printed on the ballot.

UPDATE 10.30.11:  Well, it would appear Leo read my post, which establishes that his hyperbolic campaign of moral outrage against Justia is misplaced.  Then, instead of honing his methodology, he sought to discredit my criticism.

I tried to assuage readers ostensibly outraged by the ‘conspiracy’ Leo has been championing involving Justia, namely, that various on-line versions of Justia cases appear to have edited out references or links which he claims support what I insist is his mistaken opinion, under the language of Minor v. Happersett, President Obama cannot be said to be a NBC. I said that, citations to Justia are not even allowed in legal submissions to the court, as Justia is not an “official” publisher of court cases in any state.  Following my post, Leo posted another article on the subject, vainly trying to shore up his baseless argument by artificially inflating Justia’s position within the legal community.  Specifically, in order to ‘prove’ that lawyers really do count on Justia, he cited to a reference he claims appeared on the web site operated by Perkins Coie, Bob Bauer’s firm, which Leo characterizes as first class legal practitioners. (Of course, notwithstanding the lawyers at PC might be bright, this does not mean, they are honest; or that, if Leo is correct, that is, if Justia is rigging its cases so as to benefit Obama, Perkins Coie would never have assisted such subterfuge by touting their services! (See, for example, COUNSEL for DNC SERVICES CORPORATION PERFORMS 3 CARD MONTE* for FEDERAL COURT; and COUNSEL for DNC SERVICES CORPORATION PERFORMS 3 CARD MONTE* for FEDERAL COURT)  It certainly does not mean, anyone from Perkins Coie would cite to a case published in Justia as legal precedent in a document prepared for submission to the court.)

Yes, Leo, lawyers tout whatever legal publication services they want.  Indeed, I have often steered readers to both cases and statutes which appear on the web site maintained by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. But even cases and laws posted on Cornell’s site may not be cited (as precedent) in legal briefs.  Of course, if Attorney Courtney Minick, Product Manager at Justia has her way, states will one day abandon their rigid filing requirements and allow citations to their on-line product, abandoning the current practice of allowing into court only citations to those cases published officially by companies contracted with the state.

In his recent post, Fastcase CEO Ed Walters called on American states to tear down the copyright paywall for statutes. States that assert copyright over public laws limit their citizens’ access to such laws and impede a free and educated society. Convincing states (and publishers) to surrender these claims, however, is going to take some time.

A parallel problem involves The Bluebook and the courts that endorse it as a citation authority. By requiring parties to cite to an official published version of a statutory code, the courts are effectively restricting participants in the legal research market. Nowhere is this more evident than in those states where the government has delegated the publishing of the official code to a private publisher, as is the situation in more than half of the states.  Thus, even if the state itself or another company, such as Justia, publishes the law online for free, a brief cannot cite to these versions of the code.

http://blog.law.cornell.edu/voxpop/2011/09/01/universal-citation-for-state-codes/

See, even Attorney Minick isn’t saying, Justia’s work merits the award of such state contracts!


SENSE and non-SENSE

July 1, 2011

UPDATE:  Please read my Comment below, containing an excerpt from the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Slaughterhouse Cases, which emphasizes this point with relation to the 14th Amendment’s language on citizens.  In short, if the 14th Amendment can be said to be conferring citizenship rather than merely codifying those definitions already understood in law and practice then, it does so only by establishing the distinction between the rights accruing to citizens as citizens of the U.S.A. which rights are now uniform; versus the rights of citizens as citizens of the states (in which they reside), which vary according to the state.  

© 2011 jbjd

No legally binding definition exists of the phrase “natural born citizen” as written in Article II, section 1 of the U.S. Constitution; and no such definition will be forthcoming until a federal appeals court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rules, this is the definition, in the holding of a case or controversy directly on point, that is, one which requires the court to formulate such definition so as to reach resolution of the matter properly before the court.

I have said this a ‘million’ times, with only slight variation, since I began blogging in 2008. And, as I have also indicated, for a couple of reasons, at this point, that is, now that President Obama has been elected; I couldn’t care less whether he is a NBC; and I have been saying this for a long time, too. What difference does it make whether he is a NBC when we enacted no laws that required our state Electors to elect only a President who is Constitutionally eligible for the job!  (This would explain my insistence that present calls for Impeachment cannot be predicated only on his Constitutional ineligibility for office.) And, regardless of the absence of documentary evidence available in the public record that, he is even a C, which status certainly was well defined and accepted by the aforementioned legal authorities even before this definition was codified in the 14th Amendment for the purpose of qualifying who is entitled to “privileges and immunities”; it appears true that, millions of my fellow citizens who voted for (Electors for) the man, could not have cared less whether he is a NBC, either, even before his election.

Thus, I have steered clear of substantively addressing the ‘legal’ arguments out there which insist, a binding definition of NBC exists.

However, obviously, this recognition of the status quo, that is, no legally binding definition exists of NBC; and my present indifference to Obama’s Constitutional eligibility for office; have had little to do with my continuing efforts to identify a mechanism for determining whether he is a NBC, for those people who want to know. Indeed, my mission has always focused on the larger issue of understanding how our government, in general; and particularly our electoral system works and, where it does not work, how we might fix it.  (Yes, in so doing, I figured out how to spark the court case that could result in a legally binding definition of NBC but, that is not the focus of this post.)

And it is because my focus is on fixing what is broken in our system that, notwithstanding I have refused to enter the ‘legal definition of NBC’ fray in the past; for the moment, I changed my mind.  Because now, 3+ years into our national discussion about Constitutional eligibility; about to dive into a new general election cycle; we are still being sidetracked by such folly.  So, responding to a comment from long-time “jbjd” reader, Mick; I decided to weigh in, once and for all, on the case most often cited to sustain this drivel.

From Mick:

Again, a circular firing squad you present. If there is no judiciable definition of natural born Citizen, as you say, then how can the Secretary of State of any state verify whether a POTUS candidate is eligible? As usual, many words in this post saying nothing, except the whining about someone stealing your “work”. How about this definition, straight from SCOTUS in Minor v. Happersett: “The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.” Pretty plain to most people with any sense.

Here is my response.

Mick: The legal case you mention – Minor v. Happersett – does not rest on defining what is meant by the term “natural born citizen.”  Indeed, the case is not at all concerned with distinguishing from among “natural born citizen”; or “native citizen”; or “naturalized citizen.” Rather, this is a (state) voting rights case to determine only whether MO law can rightly prohibit women from voting, brought under the “rights and privileges” clause of the 14th Amendment. In other words, is suffrage a “right” or “privilege” that now must be protected for female citizens otherwise prohibited under state law from voting on account of their gender?  But as a threshold matter, the court must first determine whether the word “citizen” as this is used in the 14th Amendment; means women, too.

Thus, the court conducts an extensive analysis (non-binding dicta) of the legal posture of historical authorities, both in common law, statutes, and state constitutions, with respect to the meaning of citizen, as this applies  generically.  It acknowledges, these authorities have always been consistent in saying, the child born in this jurisdiction, of citizen parents is a natural born native citizen; but inconsistent on whether the same can be said of children born here of non-citizen parents. Both of Ms. Minor’s parents were citizens at the time of her birth.  The court wrote, therefore, there was no need to “reach” the question as to whether she would still be a native natural  born citizen if her parents were not citizens.

Here is the whole quote from that same passage you excerpted in your comment. Now, see if this makes more sense.

The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.

Then, having determined, Ms. Minor is by all other means, a citizen; the court similarly conducts an extensive analysis (non-binding dicta) of the legal posture of historical authorities, both in common law, statutes, and state constitutions, with respect to the meaning of citizen, as this applies  to women.  And, it concludes, women were always historically considered citizens (who satisfied the uniformly accepted threshold requirement of birth in this jurisdiction to citizen parents).  Thus, the word “citizen” in the 14th Amendment as this relates to the “privileges and immunities” clause, means, women, too.  (The court makes clear that, as she is a natural born native citizen, her citizenship, and impliedly the citizenship of all women and men similarly situated, (though not necessarily the citizenship of people born here to non-citizen parents, or who achieved citizenship through naturalization because, as the court had already pointed out, the authorities had heretofore been mixed as to whether these were citizens and, it would not resolve that issue here) was not newly conferred by the 14th Amendment but only newly codified as entitling them as citizens to the same “privileges and immunities” as all citizens of the several states. That is, the 14th Amendment does not create a new definition of citizen.)

Then, having determined, Ms. Minor is by all other means, a citizen; and that, citizen means, women; the court similarly conducts an extensive analysis (non-binding dicta) of the legal posture of historical authorities, both in common law, statutes, and state constitutions, with respect to whether suffrage can be said to be a “right” or “privilege” under the 14th Amendment.  And that’s where Ms. Minor’s case fails. Because voting in the several states had always been largely exclusive to men.  Even when it was not exclusive to citizens.

Besides this, citizenship has not in all cases been made a condition precedent to the enjoyment of the right of suffrage. Thus, in Missouri, persons of foreign birth, who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, may under certain circumstances vote. The same provision is to be found in the constitutions of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas.  Id.

In other words, Ms. Minor was entitled to all of the privileges and immunities of all citizens; and voting wasn’t one of those privileges and immunities.

Finally, you ask, how can the Secretary of State of any state verify whether a candidate for President is eligible for the job?  S/he cannot.  Because, right now, no law says, s/he must, even in those states that require candidates to be qualified for office to appear on the ballot.  Yep; even in those states where the legislature has already acted, no SoS had promulgated rules and regulations defining such ballot eligibility, let alone identifying whose job will be, to check.

In conclusion, Mick, no legally binding definition exists of the phrase “natural born citizen” as written in Article II, section 1 of the U.S. Constitution; and no such definition will be forthcoming until a federal appeals court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rules, this is the definition, in the holding of a case or controversy directly on point, that is, one which requires the court to formulate such definition so as to reach resolution of the matter properly before the court.  And, absent a legally binding definition of NBC; no state with a law requiring candidate eligibility to appear on the ballot, has even (attempted) to enact rules and regulations to define NBC for the sole purpose of determining ballot eligibility.

Make sense?  ADMINISTRATOR

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For those of you who will not read the whole case, here is a syllabus, prepared by the court.

Syllabus

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


88 U.S. 162

Minor v. Happersett


Argued: February 9, 1875 — Decided: March 29, 1875


ERROR to the Supreme Court of Missouri; the case being thus:

The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in its first section, thus ordains; [n1]

“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. No State shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.”

And the constitution of the State of Missouri [n2] thus ordains:

“Every male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote.”

Under a statute of the State all persons wishing to vote at any election, must previously have been registered in the manner pointed out by the statute, this being a condition precedent to the exercise of the elective franchise.

In this state of things, on the 15th of October, 1872 (one of the days fixed by law for the registration of voters), Mrs. Virginia Minor, a native born, free, white citizen of the United States, and of the State of Missouri, over the age of twenty-one years, wishing to vote for electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, and for a representative in Congress, and for other officers, at the general election held in November, 1872, applied to one Happersett, the registrar of voters, to register her as a lawful voter, which he refused to do, assigning for cause that she was not a “male citizen of the United States,” but a woman. She thereupon sued him in one of the inferior State courts of Missouri, for wilfully refusing to place her name upon the list of registered voters, by which refusal she was deprived of her right to vote.

The registrar demurred, and the court in which the suit was brought sustained the demurrer, and gave judgment in his favor; a judgment which the Supreme Court affirmed. Mrs. Minor now brought the case here on error.

1. The word “citizen” is often used to convey the idea of membership in a nation.

2. In that sense, women, of born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction of the United States, have always been considered citizens of the United States, as much so before the adoption of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution as since.

3. The right of suffrage was not necessarily one of the privileges or immunities of citizenship before the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, and that amendment does not add to these privileges and immunities. It simply furnishes additional guaranty for the protection of such as the citizen already had.

4. At the time of the adoption of that amendment, suffrage was not coextensive with the citizenship of the States; nor was it at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

5. Neither the Constitution nor the fourteenth amendment made all citizens voters.

6. A provision in a State constitution which confines the right of voting to “male citizens of the United States,” is no violation of the Federal Constitution. In such a State women have no right to vote.

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NOTE TO READERS:  Those trusted legal sites on which I have been relying for much of the research I conduct on your behalf have, up to now, provided unlimited access to their voluminous holdings, for free.  But I donate money to those sites, anyway; because it’s the right thing to do.  After all, someone at the other end of the computer is working hard to compile and maintain the library and operate the site.  I pass on the results of this research, without charge, to you; but, this does not mean, the work is free. It only means, up to now, I could maintain the quality of the blog by absorbing all of the cost.  This is becoming prohibitive; and I will not sacrifice quality.  Please, hit one of the PayPal buttons in the sidebar of the blog; because it’s the right thing to do.


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