Commonwealth Court rejects lawyer's attempt to remove Obama from Pa. primary election ballot

By Jon Campisi | Mar 20, 2012

A state appellate court panel late last week rejected a request by a Philadelphia-area attorney to get President Obama kicked off the April primary election ballot.

Philip Berg, a lawyer from Lafayette Hill, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia, attempted to have Obama’s name taken off of Pennsylvania’s primary ballot over questions surrounding the president’s citizenship, according to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News.

So-called “birthers” have continued to question the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship despite the fact that the administration released the president’s birth certificate showing he was born in the state of Hawaii.

Berg, who the Daily News reported previously attempted to take his claims that Obama was born in Kenya to the U.S. Supreme Court to no avail, petitioned Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to remove Obama’s name from the April 24 Democratic primary election ballot.

In its ruling, the court denied Berg’s request, writing that a state appellate court has no jurisdiction in what is clearly a federal matter.

“The sole basis for the objection is [Berg’s] contention that President Obama is not a ‘natural-born citizen eligible for the office president of the United States under the United States Constitution,” the ruling stated, according to the Daily News.

A copy of the two-page ruling was not immediately available on the Harrisburg-based court’s website.

The Daily News, however, quoted Berg as saying that the ruling was “unconscionable,” and that he was considering filing an appeal, either with the state’s Supreme Court or a federal court.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a phony, he’s a fraud, he’s an imposter, and this is the biggest fraud perpetuated on the country in history,” the newspaper quoted Berg as saying.

The court ruled that ballot challenges could only be based on the authenticity of nominating petition signatures, the affidavits of those who circulated the petitions and the affidavits candidates file concerning their finances.

Berg’s challenge was beyond the scope of those requirements.

This isn’t the first time a Pennsylvanian has challenged the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

Suburban Pittsburg resident Thomas Barchfield wrote a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele that claims Obama is ineligible to be president, not because he, himself, wasn’t born in the United States, but because one of his parents was not.

The Barchfield letter, which was reported on in February in Baldwin-Whitehall Patch, a community news website in western Pennsylvania, brings up an 1875 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Minor v. Happersett, which has never been overturned, and states that a natural-born citizen can only be someone born in the United States to citizen parents.

Obama’s father was a native of Kenya, while his mother was born in the U.S.

In the Patch story, Barchfield was quoted as saying that while he admittedly doesn’t care for Obama’s policies, the issue is one of constitutional integrity, and not a political matter.

In his letter, Barchfield, who also takes issue with a potential Mitt Romney presidency, since the Republican’s father was apparently born in Mexico, claims that he’s only out to ensure the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Pennsylvania’s secretary of the commonwealth “uphold the Constitution that you have sworn to protect.”

“I am saddened that it seems very possible that the largest hoax in American history has been perpetrated on the people of America, undoubtedly this is just the tip of the iceberg in a very sordid tale,” the Barchfield letter states, a copy of which accompanied the Patch story.

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