NJ appeals court rejects Obama eligibility challenge
A three-judge panel rejected New Jersey’s Obama eligibility challenge within twenty-four hours of hearing oral argument.
A quick decision
by the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court was as terse
as it was swift. It came down one day after the oral argument, and ran
to only three pages. The substance of the decision ran like this:
We have carefully considered appellants’ arguments and
conclude that these arguments are without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We
affirm substantially for the reasons set forth in ALJ Jeff S. Masin’s
thorough and thoughtful written opinion of April 10, 2012, as adopted by
the Secretary on April 12,2012.
The court cited this rule that lets the Appellate Division affirm a lower court without an opinion.
The court also cited this decision by Judge Masin. Masin handed this down on April 10, after a three-hour hearing.
Obama eligibility challenger reacts
Nick Purpura, the lead plaintiff/appellant in the case, reacted in outrage.
What do they mean, “ALJ Jeff S. Masin’s thorough and
thoughtful written opinion”? What thought? There was no evidence! How
could anyone rule that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii when there was
never any evidence?
In the course of that hearing, Purpura’s lawyer, Mario Apuzzo, tried
to call a witness to show that the White House PDF file, showing what
looks like a birth certificate for Barack Obama, was a forgery. Judge
Masin disallowed the witness after Alexandra Hill, arguing for Obama, conceded that she would not introduce the birth certificate into evidence. In fact, she never introduced any evidence to show Barack Obama’s identity or birthplace. Judge Masin, turning to Apuzzo, then said,
I’ve just won your case for you, if you prevail on the question of Obama’s obligation to prove his eligibility.
Masin meant by that, that the defense counsel would not introduce
that White House PDF file or any other purported copy of the Obama birth
certificate. Therefore, Apuzzo need not call his witness.
Nevertheless, Masin decided, hours later, to presume that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and was therefore a natural born citizen. He also ruled that Obama, and his surrogates, need not show eligibility to nominate him in a primary.
Apuzzo carefully documented, in his brief,
that Masin did not adequately follow New Jersey law. That law says that
anyone running for office in a New Jersey election must qualify to hold
that office. Barack Obama has not made any kind of showing. No Obama eligibility evidence is on file, even from the Election of 2008. Elections Division Director Robert Giles said that to Apuzzo and Purpura on the day they filed their challenge.
In a reply
letter the day before the argument, Apuzzo attacked the respondents’
argument that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, and that the
New Jersey Secretary of State lacked discretion in ballot placement for
Presidential elections. He also reiterated the heart of his Obama
eligibility challenge: that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen.
The Attorney General’s office had also said that Purpura and Moran
had waited to long to act. At oral argument, Judge Clarkson Fisher
hinted at that by saying that the Elections Division had already sent
printed ballots to various county clerks. Apuzzo refused to concede
that, but left it to the court to prescribe a remedy.
The appellate decision said nothing about anyone acting too late. But it ignored all of Apuzzo’s arguments, and said nothing
to explain its decision beyond saying that Apuzzo’s argument was
without merit. Purpura protested that the court violated his right of
due process of law. He said that a court must say why an argument is without merit.
Apuzzo was not available for comment. Purpura vowed to appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
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