In the last few months, dozens of U.S. courts have dismissed legal challenges to Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility to occupy the Oval Office, and even the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hold a hearing on the evidence – but what have the courts actually cited as reasons for dismissing the concerns of millions of Americans?
Mootness, lack of jurisdiction, lack of responsibility, lack of standing, a series of "no comments" and even the fact the issue has been "twittered."
The one subject that has been avoided to date has been whether or not the president is, in fact, eligible.
So far, there have been two definitive statements on the issue that have been made public, including one from an Obama campaign spokeswoman talking about the challenges who told WND, "All I can tell you is that it is just pure garbage."
The other is from Chiyome Fukino, the director of the Hawaiian Department of Health, who issued a statement, "I as Director of Health for the State of Hawaii, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."
As with the court opinions, what is not said is significant. While the certificate on file is "in accordance with state policies and procedures," there's no affirmation that the document reflects a Hawaiian birth.
Nor is there any explanation for the image of the Hawaii state "certification of live birth" that has been posted by Obama on the Internet, purporting to document his Hawaiian birth, even though Hawaiian procedures at the time allowed that document to be issued to parents of children not born in the state.
For example, why would an individual with a verified birth certificate also have a "certification of live birth?"
The questions raised over Obama's eligibility are all very simple: The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
But getting the issue discussed has been a huge obstacle, and what courts have done several times, including once in a California case, is to schedule hearings on the issue on a date far beyond any reasonable expectation of having applicability, lawyers have said. For example, a challenge to the Electoral College vote for Obama, raised early in November, still hasn't had a court hearing.
The impact of an ineligible president isn't complicated either. If ineligible, critics argue that the constitutional provision acknowledging that possibility, and assigning the vice president to fill in until the president is eligible, applies.
In Amendment 20, Section 3, the Constitution says Congress must fully qualify the candidate "elected" by the Electoral College Electors, and that "If the president-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the vice president elect shall act as president until a president shall have qualified."
"Here's the bottom line," writes WND columnist Janet Porter of Faith2Action. "Either the Constitution matters or it doesn't. And if we're willing to ignore the constitutional requirements for the highest office in the land, what else are we willing to forgo? That part about free speech? Freedom of the press? Freedom of religion? If we are willing to shred one part of the Constitution, brace yourself to lose the rest."
According to a lawsuit filed by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation on behalf of presidential candidate Ambassador Alan Keyes, an ineligible Obama would mean "then no act that he takes is, arguably, valid, the laws that he signs would not be valid, the protective orders that he signs would be null and void, and every act that he takes would be subject to legal challenge, both in Courts of the United States of America, and in International Courts."
The result? No legally binding stimulus bill, presidential appointments in doubt, federal budgets in limbo and the closure of Gitmo? Probably have to reopen it.
The birth location arguments
Obama reported in his autobiography that he was born in Honolulu, and the online "Certification of Live Birth" states that.
But when WND Senior Staff Reporter Dr. Jerome Corsi went there, he was told any Obama records were sealed, and although they would be released if the person made the request, Obama simply has refused to do that.
Corsi also was told records pertaining to Obama in Kenya likewise were sealed.
There also have been no confirmed hospital records uncovered that would document his birth, and an investigator even cast doubt on whether the Obama family lived at the address listed in the newspaper announcements.
A woman who reportedly "remembered" Obama's birth and was quoted widely in support of his Hawaiian birth later explained to WND she had been told of the birth of a baby boy by an acquaintance who was a doctor who noted the mother's unusual name of Stanley, but she had no knowledge of the details.
Citizenship from parents?
According to much legal research, at the time of Obama's birth he could be a natural born citizen by being born in the United States, by being born to two U.S. citizen parents (not possible because of his father), or, if only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least 10 years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.
The problem is, Obama's mother was only 18 when she gave birth, so his only apparent route to "natural born" citizenship status would have been to be born in Hawaii.
But there are other questions, too. Even if Obama was born in the state, would he have inherited citizenship from his Kenyan father or his American mother, a juvenile?
If he was born overseas as some critics contend, is there any way he would have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth? After all, statements from members of his extended family in Kenya, including some from his paternal grandmother, seem to indicate his birth location was in Kenya, not Hawaii.
The Indonesian question
At the time Obama moved to Indonesia as a child, only citizens of that country were allowed to attend school there. He was registered there as Barry Soetoro, his citizenship was listed as Indonesian and his religion as Islam. Porter reports there was no dual citizenship with Indonesia at the time.
The obvious question is what happened to Obama-Soetoro's citizenship during that time, did he retain an American citizenship, or not?
"If he was adopted by his Indonesian stepfather, he would have forfeited any U.S. citizenship he may have had, just as when a child is adopted in America, he or she becomes an American," Porter wrote.
Also, Porter reports it is likely that Obama traveled to Pakistan in 1981 on a passport other than a U.S. document, raising the question of the status of his citizenship at that point. Could one obtain another nation's passport while being an American citizen?
The 'Certification of Live Birth'
The Obama campaign posted the COLB image online, reportedly to dispel rumors that his middle name was Mohammad. But several bloggers who analyzed the image said it appeared to have been modified from the official state version, raising questions at to its authenticity.
Staff members at FactCheck claim to have examined the original "birth certificate," and found it to be genuine. But that doesn't include an explanation for the "Certification of Live Birth," a different document, nor an explanation for whether they really were looking at the "birth certificate," which the state of Hawaii maintains hasn't been released.
FactCheck.org also is part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and linked to the Annenberg organization with whom Obama worked.
One of the lawsuits challenging Obama notes that when Republican Sen. John McCain's eligibility was questioned because of his birth to two U.S. citizens while his father was on active military duty in the Panama Canal Zone, he produced the documentation of his birth for examination.
Congress even held hearings and adopted a resolution referencing and resolving the questions. However, with Obama, there has been no documentation released and no hearings.
The biggest question
Mario Apuzzo, the attorney handling one of the cases challenging Obama's eligibility, told WND the biggest question is why Obama hasn't simply ordered a copy of the original birth certificate to be made available and dispel all the rumors.
Kreep noted that in Obama's book, he wrote of finding his birth certificate in a book, so he wouldn't even have to authorize the state to release it; just provide the original for inspection.
Several of the lawyers involved in the cases said they believe the information eventually will come out, because interest is growing. Kreep said he googled his own name with Obama's, and came up with 944,000 references. Linking Obama's to Keyes' name came up with nine million..
Until then, the challenges will continue.
"When Obama starts signing executive orders and legislation," said Kreep, "I'll be filing lawsuits unless and until he proves he's an American citizen."
Several state lawmakers also are working on new requirements for candidates to provide documentation before they would be on the ballots.
California lawyer Orly Taitz, whose work is on her Defend Our Freedoms Foundation website, said there are just too many unanswered questions.
:"The Certification of Live Birth does not name a hospital, name a doctor, have any signatures or a seal of the Hawaiian Health Department on the front of the document. This document is usually given to parties that don't have a proper hospital birth certificate and it is given based on a statement of one relative only. Even the state of Hawaii doesn't give full credit to these documents," she said.
Among the claims being raised in the various lawsuits: That Congress didn't properly determine whether Obama is qualified, that active and retired members of the military have a need to know his qualifications to be commander-in-chief, that state officials failed to properly qualify Obama as a candidate (California previously had removed ineligible candidates from the ballot), and his college records should be released to reveal whether he attended school as a U.S. citizen.