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Yesterday, D.C. Federal District Court Judge James Robertson threw out a suit by a retired officer which challenges Obama's eligibility.  In doing so, he delivered one of the sharpest rebukes yet to the birther cause.  Moreover, he also let it be known that he thinks the suit is frivolous, and is seriously considering sanctions against the attorneys who filed it.

Gregory Hollister, a retired Air Force colonel, sued "Barry Soetoro" and several others on the grounds that he could be called back to active duty at any time and thus needs to know if Obama's orders are legitimate.  The suit was filed by a trio of attorneys led by one of the looniest birthers of all, Phil Berg.

Robertson says in his ruling that there's no need for a court to resolve this case because the people have already done it themselves.

The issue of the President’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court.

The real heat then comes when Robertson blasts Berg for using an interpleader claim--a claim which according to Wikipedia is normally used in property disputes--for this suit.

Mr. Hollister is apparently Mr. Berg’s fallback brainstorm, essentially a straw plaintiff, one who could tee Mr. Berg’s native-born issue up for decision on a new theory: If some "value" could be assigned to the "duties" the plaintiff thinks he might someday be called upon to fulfill under the Commander-in-Chief, then those "duties" could be deposited in the registry of this Court as the res whose distribution is to be decided by a suit in interpleader!

On that basis, Robertson threw out the suit for failure to state a claim.

The last paragraph of his decision, however, is probably as firm a warning to Berg, Orly Taitz and the rest of the birthers as I've seen yet--keep filing these suits, and you can expect to get hit pretty hard in the wallet.

Mr. Berg and Lawrence J. Joyce, an attorney who lives in Tucson, Arizona, signed the complaint in this case. (They have been filing electronically although they have not been admitted pro hac vice, see [#10].) They are agents provocateurs –- and any attempt to sanction them for misuse of the public and private resources that have had to be devoted to this case would only give them a forum to continue their provocation. John D. Hemenway, on the other hand, is a member of the Bar of this Court. He may have been enlisted by Messrs. Berg and Joyce as a foot soldier in their crusade, but he is nevertheless directly responsible to this Court for the pleadings that have been filed on behalf of the plaintiff. Because it appears that the complaint in this case may have been presented for an improper purpose such as to harass; and that the interpleader claims and other legal contentions of plaintiff are not warranted by existing law or by non-frivolous arguments for extending, modifying or reversing existing law or for establishing new law, the accompanying order of dismissal requires Mr. Hemenway to show cause why he has not violated Rules 11(b)(1) and 11(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and why he should not be required to pay reasonable attorneys fees and other expenses to counsel for the defendants.

I had a hunch this was coming eventually.  For those who don't know, when a judge calls a suit frivolous, he's essentially telling you that your argument was completely incompetent.  Moreover, this is the first time I've seen a judge actually threaten sanctions in a birther case.  I'm no lawyer, but I can't see how Hemenway can talk his way out of paying Obama and Biden's legal expenses.  Expect more denunciations of birther arguments as "frivolous," and more sanctions, in the future.

Needless to say, this has the wingnuts' heads exploding.  WorldNutDaily is up in arms over officials' responses to questions about Obama's legitimacy (never mind that this has been debunked several times over).  And Taitz is actually calling for the judge to be impeached for writing a decision that sounds like "something written by a 10 year old."  Never mind that Berg made his argument based on an improper legal action--apparently because every other route got slammed in his face.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 09:43 AM PST.

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