On Thursday, April 15, 2010, Hon. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was giving testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the issue of the composition of the United States Supreme Court. The hearing was broadcast on C-Span. Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY (now the most senior Member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent), and he were having a pleasant exchange. Rep. Serrano was explaining to Justice Thomas how he feels “a little uneasy” despite much of the dismay of his friends on the “left” about having a hearing for the Supreme Court because of the respect that he has for the Court. He added that it was “humbling” but that the public understood the importance of what the Court does and the impact that it has on the future of our country. Justice Thomas thanked Rep. Serrano for his words. Rep. Serrano then jumped in and commented on Justice Thomas’ view on who can sit on the Supreme Court. The following exchange occurred:
Rep. Serrano: I’m glad to hear that you don’t think that there has to be a judge on the Court because I am not a judge. I have never been a judge.
Justice Thomas: And you don’t have to be born in the United States. So you never have to ask, answer that question (smiling).
Rep. Serrano: Oh, really?
Justice Thomas: Yeah (the audience laughing).
Rep. Serrano: So, you haven’t answered the one whether I can serve as (Justice Thomas interjecting) President but you answered this one (smiling).
Justice Thomas: We’re evading that one (laughter from Justice Thomas and the audience). We are giving you another option (more laughter from Justice Thomas and the audience).
Rep. Serrano: Thanks alot.
Justice Thomas: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Rep. Serrano: Mrs. Emerson.
Mrs. Emerson, Ranking Members, then starts to address Justice Thomas as he continues to laugh.
The YouTube video may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7qEH-tKoXA.
A biography on Rep. Serrano may be found at http://serrano.house.gov/Biography.aspx.
What does all of this mean in relation to Obama’s eligibility question? What is the message behind all the joking, laughter, and body language that can be viewed on the video? From Justice Thomas’ first mentioning that one does not have to be born in the United States to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, it appears that Justice Thomas is telling Congress that the Court is angry with Congress for allowing Obama to sit as President even though there is a reasonable doubt as to whether he was born in the United States. Rep. Serrano read the real message of Justice Clarence’s statement and let him know about it, saying “Oh, really.” Rep. Serrano did not like Justice Thomas blaming Congress for the mishandling of the matter so he shoots back at Justice Thomas by telling him the Court failed to answer the Obama eligibility question when it should have but now is answering the question of whether someone who is not born in the United States can sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. From this comment we can conclude that Congress did not believe that it was its job to answer the question of whether Obama is eligible to be President and expected the judicial branch of government to answer that question. This is borne out by the many letters that Congressmen wrote to concerned Americans on the question of what was being done to address the issue of whether Obama was eligible for the Presidency. Justice Thomas then answered that the Court is “evading that one” and giving Congress “another option.” Here we can see that the Court is telling Congress that it avoided addressing the Obama eligibility issue so Congress could resolve it through the political process, giving Congress some other unknown “option” to resolve the crisis. We can only speculate what that other “option” is at this point. Needless to say, it appears that both Congress and the Court are angry at each other for the constitutional crisis that each accuses the other to have caused regarding the Obama eligibility question.
The Obama eligibility issue has run its course through the political process. We can reasonably expect Obama to run for a second term. We surely do not want to repeat during Obama’s second run for President what occurred during his first. We cannot reasonably expect to resolve the question of whether Obama was born in Hawaii and the meaning of the “natural born Citizen” clause by way of Americans voting at the polls. This issue is not going away. It is dividing our nation and needs to be decided as soon as possible. There is now no other way to resolve the question of Obama’s eligibility other than through the legal process. As Chief Justice John Marshall so well taught in many of his important U.S. Supreme Court decisions, there is no doubt that the judicial branch of government is well equipped and capable of deciding this critical issue of constitutional law and by doing so will not interfere in the work of the other two branches of government. The Kerchner et al v. Obama/Congress et al case which is now pending in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia with a tentative merits hearing date of June 29, 2010 gives the judicial branch of government the prime opportunity to put this constitutional crisis finally to rest one way or the other.
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
April 17, 2010
P.S. Read the comments made on March 25, 2010, by Minister of Lands, Mr. James Orengo, Member of the Kenyan Parliament on the issue of Obama's country of birth during a session of the Kenyan National Assembly: