Remember when Andrew Breitbart got into an argument with WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah at CPAC over birtherism? Breitbart dismissed Farah's birther obsession as "self-indulgent", "narcissistic," and "a losing issue" for Republicans, despite the fact that discussions of President Obama's birth certificate were also promoted on Breitbart's own websites.
Well, Breitbart has contradicted himself again. He contributed a blurb -- prominently placed on the back cover -- to the new WND-published book by WND reporter Aaron Klein, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communist, Socialist and Other Anti-American Extremists. Breitbart declares the book to be "a frightening yet vital primer for those now willing to look behind the curtain to see who is the leader of the free world."
And what does Klein (and co-author Brenda J. Elliott) do? Devote an entire chapter of the book to "Issues of Eligibility."
Klein uses the book to embark on a multi-page examination of whether Obama is a "natural born citizen," which Klein says is in doubt because Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen. He writes, "In trying to understand what the Founding Fathers meant by 'natural born,' some have turned to prominent legal tomes of the day," specifically citing Swiss philosopher Emmerich de Vattel's 1758 text The Law of Nations to claim that "by de Vattel's standards, Obama arguably would not be eligible to serve as president." By "some," however, Klein seems to mean birthers; Leo Donofrio, a lawyer whom Klein's employer describes as having "brought one of the first legal challenges to Obama's eligibility to be president and unsuccessfully tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved at the time of the election," also cites The Law of Nations as part of his argument for "why Obama is ineligible."
An August 2009 WND article outlining the "natural born issue" notes that another birther lawyer, Mario Apuzzo, "points to Vattel's work as the framework for the Founders' intent and the justification for requiring a president not only be born on American soil, but also to American parents."
Klein also bizarrely cites the Dred Scott decision (aka Scott v. Sandford) for ruling that "citizenship is acquired by place of birth, not through blood or lineage" (which Klein adds "notoriously excluded slaves, and their descendents, from possessing Constitutional rights"). Klein then notes that "much of the decision ... was overturned in 1868." So why mention it at all? Perhaps because it too surfaced in a birther-related case; notorious birther lawyer Orly Taitz referenced the case in one of her many court filings. (As one California bar complaint filed against Taitz notes, Taitz "does not indicate in any way that the Dred Scott case was overturned, overruled, or even subsequently criticized/distinguished.")
Klein also references the 1874 Minor v. Happersett case, which Donofrio also references. Klein then adds: "According to this definition, and scores of other Supreme Court rulings, Obama may not be eligible to serve as president." Yet Klein doesn't see fit to cite any of those "scores" of "rulings"; the most recent one he cites is the 136-year-old Happersett case.
Klein concludes this section by stating: "The authors of this book are not constitutional lawyers (though President Obama is), and while we did consult with some, we do not purport to be experts in constitutional law." Nevertheless, Klein goes on to assert that "a layman's reading of readily available legal resources ... clearly indicates a series of legitimate questions abouty Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency, given that Obama's father was not an American citizen."
Credible legal scholars, meanwhile, have dismissed Klein's arguments. For instance, conservative-leaning attorney Eugene Volokh has stated that since Obama was born in Hawaii (a point Klein concedes elsewhere in the chapter), he is clearly a natural born citizen and eligible to be president. Volokh also has noted that while most courts have dismissed claims against Obama's eligibility on procedural grounds, one court that looked at it substantively has rejected the claim that Obama is not eligible to become president because his father was not a U.S. citizen, with reasoning that Volokh describes as 'persuasive.' "
Does Breitbart even read the books he blurbs?