Another day, and another setback for birther and birther-related conspiracy theorists.
This morning, a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge dismissed a suit seeking a preliminary injunction against Alabama Democratic Party chairman Mark Kennedy to keep President Barack Obama off the ballot in Alabama. The suit was filed by Albert E. Hendershot, Jr., a Birmingham man who claims he voted for Obama in 2008 but now believes the President is ineligible to serve because, as Hendershot’s filing says, “Barack Hussein Obama, II is not a natural born citizen of the United States and is not qualified to be on the ballot as a Presidential candidate.”
While Hendershot’s filing does argue that the long-form birth certificate Obama released in April is a forgery and requests the original be produced by the Alabama Democratic Party, one of Hendershot’s primary arguments has nothing to do with Obama’s birth certificate. Hendershot claims he has evidence related to Obama’s Social Security number, or alleged lack thereof.
“The most staggering evidence, [sic] is Mr. Obama’s lack of a valid Social Security number and his use of a fraudulently obtained Social Security number from the state of Connecticut., a state, where he never resided, which was never assigned to Obama, according to E-Verify and [the Social Security Number Verification System].”
Myth debunking website Snopes.com has addressed such a claim before and found it to be false.
When proceedings began, Barry Ragsdale, an attorney for defendant Mark Kennedy, noted that Hendershot was not represented by counsel at the hearing. “We do not believe it would make a difference,” he told the court. Famous birther lawyer Orly Taitz has signed on as Hendershot’s attorney, the Birmingham News reported, but she has not been admitted as an attorney in Alabama and did not appear at the hearing Monday.
“I have nothing but respect for Mr. Hendershot,” Ragsdale said. “He’s a man who is following his convictions. Frankly, the country would be better off if everyone followed their convictions” like Hendershot has.
But, Ragsdale said, this court is not the place for election challenges. Citing Alabama statute, Ragsdale argued that the court does not control the process political parties use to select their candidates.
Hendershot did file a withdrawal motion, Ragsdale said. Though he would normally be happy to “take the victory” and let the case go, he said he wanted the court to deal with this matter. “They started this fight,” Ragsdale said. “We are going to finish it.”
At one point, Ragsdale seemed to suggest that Hendershot was part of a birther “movement,” then said he didn’t mean to paint Hendershot with such a broad stroke. Hendershot reacted by interrupting Ragsdale and referring to the Occupy Birmingham movement. “It’s not like I’m trying to Occupy Birmingham or something,” he said.
When Ragsdale finished with his arguments on the motion to dismiss, Hendershot stood to speak. He noted that he is a Cuban American, and voted for Obama in 2008, but has since become disillusioned with the Democratic leader.
“My contention is that Barack Obama was not vetted properly,” Hendershot said, before launching into the reasons he filed his motion for a preliminary injunction. After several minutes, Judge Lee stopped Hendershot and instructed him to restrain his arguments to the defense’s motion to dismiss, and not to go into the merits of his case.
This seemed to stump the plaintiff. Hendershot noted that he is not an attorney, and then floundered about for an argument before sitting down.
Judge Lee agreed with the defendant and dismissed the case.
“The Alabama Legislature and the Alabama Supreme Court have said that political questions like this don’t belong in the courts,” Ragsdale said after the hearing. “That’s what elections are for.”
“Turn out, vote, support the candidate if you want to, but don’t clog up the courts with silly lawsuits.”
Ragsdale says he hopes there are not more similar or related filings in the state. “One thing I’ve learned about birthers is you can never say ‘die,’” he said. “I hope we never see it again. I hope this is the end of it. Common sense needs to take over, but there’s been a shortage of it on their side.”
Two other birther filings were made against Kennedy on Monday, one by Tommy Thompson of Pell City in St. Clair county, and another by Harold Sorenson of Luverne.
“Within less than two hours AFTER the Jefferson County Circuit Court dismissed the ‘birther’ lawsuit filed against me, I have been sued AGAIN by another person in Jefferson County claiming the same thing,” Kennedy wrote on his Facebook wall. “Talk about clogging up the court system….”
Kennedy wrote that he would ask for legal fees when he opposes the next round of birther suits, and in a later post called on Republicans “to put a stop to this since they are all over Democrats about filing frivolous lawsuits!”
Hendershot did not offer any comment after the hearing.
An earlier version of this story indicated that one of the new filings against Judge Mark Kennedy was an appeal to Hendershot’s dismissal. The story was updated at 3:10 p.m. to reflect the current, correct information. The story was also updated at 4:55 p.m. to reflect that President Obama released his original, long-form birth certificate in April, not in May.