NJ ALJ says "Obama born in Hawaii" with no evidence introduced. Fair or foul?
In the latest Obama eligibility challenge, an Administrative Law
Judge cleared Obama for the New Jersey Democratic Primary today. The two
men who objected to Obama’s nominating petition vowed to appeal.
Obama eligibility issues
Nick Purpura of Wall Township, NJ, and Ted Moran of Toms River, NJ,
filed their objection Thursday with the New Jersey Board of Elections.
Lawyer Mario Apuzzo of Jamesberg, NJ, delivered the brief and spoke
directly to Robert Giles, Director of Elections. Apuzzo argued Purpura
and Moran’s case today (Tuesday, April 10) at the Office of
Administrative Law in Mercerville. The Elections Division notified the
Obama campaign at once, and they sent their own lawyer, Alexandra Hill,
to appear. Administrative Law Judge (and Associate Director of the OAL)
Jeff Masin presided.
Purpura and Moran objected to Obama appearing on the June 5 Democratic Primary ballot on two grounds:
- No one knows exactly who Barack H. Obama is, because he has had
three different names in life. Furthermore, he has never furnished a
true copy of his birth certificate to the Secretary of State. So no one
can be sure that Obama was born in the United States.
- Obama’s father was a British colonial subject. He not only was not a
naturalized citizen on the alleged date of Obama’s birth, but indeed
never sought naturalization. Therefore Obama could never be a
natural-born citizen no matter where he was born.
Ms. Hill offered no evidence, but spent her time objecting to the
entire case, to every witness whom Apuzzo called, and every document he
tried to introduce. In every specific case, she said that the documents
were neither originals nor certified copies. More generally, she said
repeatedly that New Jersey law did not obligate Obama in any way to
prove that he was eligible to the office of President. The only grounds
for challenging a nominating petition, said Hill, were whether the
petitions were in the proper form, all who signed were registered
voters, no voter signed more than one petition, whether the campaign
gathered enough signatures, etc.
Apuzzo countered that the New Jersey Constitution and at least one case on point (Strother, 6 NJ @ 565), obliged the Secretary of State to find affirmatively whether a given candidate was qualified for the office he or she sought, or not.
A surprise admission
About two-thirds of the way through the hearing, Hill admitted in open court something that no lawyer for the Obama campaign has ever admitted. Obama never furnished a true copy of his birth certificate to the New Jersey Secretary of State. Furthermore, the PDF file that the White House has served to the Internet since April 27, 2012, is not relevant to the case in any way.
Hill conceded this point after Apuzzo tried to call Brian Wilcox, an
expert document analyst. He was ready to show that no one could rely on
the PDF file as a substitute for a hard-copy long-form birth
certificate. But Judge Masin said at once that neither he nor Secretary
of State Kim Guadagno had ever seen a birth certificate, whether on
paper, as a PDF file, or on the Internet. He told Apuzzo that calling
Wilcox would be “premature.”
Then Masin turned to Hill and asked her directly:
Is it your legal position that the document on the Internet is irrelevant to this case?
Hill replied, “Yes.” Masin then asked:
And indeed you concede that Mr. Obama has not produced an alleged birth certificate to the Secretary of State.
Hill at first said, “It has been released nationally,” but then
admitted that she did not know personally that Obama had given any such
document to the Secretary of State, nor did she intend giving such a
document to the court today. But she also argued, after Judge Masin
asked her repeatedly, that Obama need not produce any evidence at all.
Apuzzo told CNAV during a recess in the hearing that this
was the most stunning thing that any lawyer for Obama had ever admitted,
in an Obama eligibility case or in any other case. When the hearing
finally adjourned at 12:30 p.m., Apuzzo was confident of prevailing on
this point. He observed that Hill, after objecting to everything that
Apuzzo tried to introduce into evidence, offered no evidence on her own behalf and even admitted that the infamous PDF document was legally worthless.
A shocking turnabout
But the judge shocked Apuzzo when, at about 7:30 p.m., he called
Apuzzo to tell him that the Obama campaign had prevailed on both points.
Said the judge, according to Apuzzo:
As far as I’m concerned, Obama was born in Hawaii.
Apuzzo could not explain how Judge Masin could rule that way, after
observing in open court that neither Obama nor his surrogates had shown
that he was born in Hawaii.
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