This is nice:
[Middle District of Georgia] U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land today tossed out a complaint by an Army captain fighting deployment to Iraq by questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama.
Land also put attorney Orly Taitz, who represents Capt. Connie Rhodes and is a leader in the national “birther” movement, on notice by stating that she could face sanctions if she ever files a similar “frivolous” lawsuit in his court.
“(Rhodes) has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as president of the United States,” Land states in his order. “Instead, she uses her complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the president is ‘an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter.’”
Orly Taitz, JD, DDS, and "frivolous" in the same sentence. I am glad some people are sane.
Update: The judge's order (pdf) will be included in an upper-level law seminar I will teach next year called Things You Don't Want a Judge to Say About You or Your Client:
The present action is the second such action filed in this Court in which counsel pursues her “birther claim.” Her modus operandi is to use military officers as parties and have them allege that they should not be required to follow deployment orders because President Obama is not constitutionally qualified to be President. Although counsel has managed to fuel this “birther movement” with her litigation and press conferences, she does not appear to have prevailed on a single claim. In fact, Plaintiff previously filed the present action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. That Court summarily dismissed her complaint upon finding that Plaintiff “has no substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” [Cite omitted.] Counsel then re-filed the same action in this Court.
Subtle practice point here: As an attorney, you know you're in trouble when the judge writes that you have a modus operandi. Also, it's bad form to shop your case around to every District Court you think might give you a sympathetic hearing just because it's located in a red state.
Captain Rhodes entered the Army in March of 2005 and presently serves as a medical doctor. The American taxpayers paid for her third and fourth years of medical school and financially supported her during her subsequent medical internship and residency program. In exchange for this valuable free medical education, Captain Rhodes agreed to serve two years in active service in the Army. She began that term of active service in July of 2008 and had no concerns about fulfilling her military obligation until she received orders notifying her that she would be deployed to Iraq in September of 2009.
Captain Rhodes does not seek a discharge from the Army; nor does she wish to be relieved entirely from her two year active service obligation. She has not previously made any official complaints regarding any orders or assignments that she has received, including orders that have been issued since President Obama became Commander in Chief. But she does not want to go to Iraq (or to any other destination where she may be in harm’s way, for that matter). Her “conscientious objections” to serving under the current Commander in Chief apparently can be accommodated as long as she is permitted to remain on American soil.
Captain, you've just been called a coward by a United States District Judge. Now how do you feel?
Plaintiff’s challenge to her deployment order is frivolous. She has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as President of the United States. Instead, she uses her Complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the President is “an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter.” ... She continues with bare, conclusory allegations that the President is “an alien, possibly even an unnaturalized or even an unadmitted illegal alien . . . without so much as lawful residency in the United States.” ... Then, implying that the President is either a wandering nomad or a prolific identity fraud crook, she alleges that the President “might have used as many as 149 addresses and 39 social security numbers prior to assuming the office of President.” ... (emphasis added).) Acknowledging the existence of a document that shows the President was born in Hawaii, Plaintiff alleges that the document “cannot be verified as genuine, and should be presumed fraudulent.” (... (emphasis added).) In further support of her claim, Plaintiff relies upon “the general opinion in the rest of the world” that “Barack Hussein Obama has, in essence, slipped through the guardrails to become President.” ... Moreover, as though the “general opinion in the rest of the world” were not enough, Plaintiff alleges in her Complaint that according to an “AOL poll 85% of Americans believe that Obama was not vetted, needs to be vetted and his vital records need to be produced.” ...
Cites omitted, but I'll note that some of them refer to page 148 of the complaint. That's not a brief, that's a book. I would sanction Taitz on that basis alone, which is one of many reasons I am not a judge.
Finally, in a remarkable shifting of the traditional legal burden of proof, Plaintiff unashamedly alleges that Defendant has the burden to prove his “natural born” status. ... Thus, Plaintiff’s counsel, who champions herself as a defender of liberty and freedom, seeks to use the power of the judiciary to compel a citizen, albeit the President of the United States, to “prove his innocence” to “charges” that are based upon conjecture and speculation. Any middle school civics student would readily recognize the irony of abandoning fundamental principles upon which our Country was founded in order to purportedly “protect and preserve” those very principles.
In three sentences, Judge Land proves why Article III rocks. Do you think the rightwingers are going to go after him? Guess who appointed him: George W. (This is the first time that I can recall ever wanting to post a smiley emoticon on this blog.)
On to Footnote 5:
One piece of “evidence” Plaintiff’s counsel relies upon deserves further discussion. Counsel has produced a document that she claims shows the President was born in Kenya, yet she has not authenticated that document. She has produced an affidavit from someone who allegedly obtained the document from a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya by paying “a cash ‘consideration’ to a Kenyan military officer on duty to look the other way, while [he] obtained the copy” of the document. ... Counsel has not, however, produced an original certificate of authentication from the government agency that supposedly has official custody of the document. Therefore, the Court finds that the alleged document is unreliable due to counsel’s failure to properly authenticate the document.
Taitz failed to produce Obama's official Kenyan birth certificate! I can hear 60,000 wingnuts, or a million, give or take, sputtering in confusion.
One more thing: The judge went out of his way to not just dismiss the complaint, but to demonstrate that the plaintiff's allegations didn't survive any of the different legal tests that it would have to satisfy if she hoped to prevail. He didn't need to do that, but I suppose he didn't want to repeat the District Court in Texas' mistake of issuing just a summary order. After it failed one standard, he could have dismissed it on that basis alone, but he chose to show that the complaint lacked any merit, which provides the justification for the best part of the order:
Plaintiff’s counsel is hereby notified that the filing of any future actions in this Court, which are similarly frivolous, shall subject counsel to sanctions. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c).
Rule 11 provides, among other things:
A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.
One thing I want to know is: Is Taitz admitted to practice in the Middle District of Georgia, or did she waive in pro hac vice? If the latter, then there is also some local counsel who vouched for her who is also going to suffer for inflicting this nonsense on the court. Good.