Georgia Judge: “Barack Obama Is A Natural Born Citizen”

The Birthers have suffered yet another totally predictable loss in Court.

The birther movement suffered yet another totally predictable setback yesterday when a Georgia Administrative Law Judge ruled that President Obama was eligible to be President under the Constitution and would appear on Georgia’s ballot:

President Barack Obama’s name will remain on the Georgia primary ballot after a state law judge flatly rejected legal challenges that contend he can not be a candidate.

In a 10-page order, Judge Michael Malihi dismissed one challenge that contended Obama has a computer-generated Hawaiian birth certificate, a fraudulent Social Security number and invalid U.S. identification papers. He also turned back another that claimed the president is ineligible to be a candidate because his father was not a U.S. citizen at the time of Obama’s birth.

The findings by Malihi, a judge for the State Office of Administrative Hearings, go to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will make the final determination. Last month, at a hearing boycotted by Obama’s lawyer, Malihi considered complaints brought by members of the so-called “birther” movement.

With regard to the challenge that Obama does not have legitimate birth and identification papers, Malihi said he found the evidence “unsatisfactory” and “insufficient to support plaintiffs’ allegations.”

A number of the witnesses who testified about the alleged fraud were never qualified as experts in birth records, forged documents and document manipulation and “none … provided persuasive testimony,” Malihi wrote.

Addressing the other claim that contends Obama cannot be a candidate because his father was never a U.S. citizen, Malihi said he was persuaded by a 2009 ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals decision that struck down a similar challenge. In that ruling, the Indiana court found that children born within the U.S. are natural-born citizens, regardless of the citizenry of their parents.

Obama “became a citizen at birth and is a natural-born citizen,” Malihi wrote. Accordingly, Obama is eligible as a candidate for the upcoming presidential primary in March, the judge said.

As I noted when I wrote about this last month, there was no legal merit to the claim that the President isn’t a natural born citizen because his parents were not both citizens when he was born. That’s not now the Constitution works when it comes to citizenship.

There are only two classes of citizen under the Constitution, people who are citizens from birth and people who become citizens through naturalization. It’s rather obvious from context that when the Founders used the term “natural born citizen” in the Constitution, they did so to limit eligibility for the Presidency to those people who were citizens from the time they were born. The first Congress clarified this matter even further when it passed the first naturalization law, which provided that “”The children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or outside the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States.”  This is why someone like John McCain or George Romney was eligible to be President; McCain was born to American citizens in the Panama Canal Zone, Romney’s parents were American citizens who had fled to Mexico and stayed there until the Mexican Revolution in 1912.  The 14th Amendment further clarified this by providing that anyone born in the United States, other than the child of a foreign diplomat, was a citizen from birth regardless of parentage. In 1898, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that the Supreme Court definitively stated that people born of immigrant parents in the territorial United States are citizens from birth, in other words they are natural-born citizens. All Judge Malihi had to do was applied this law and history to the facts, and the finding was rather straightforward. Barack Obama was born in the United States, his mother was a U.S. Citizen. Therefore, under at least two legal theories he is a natural born citizen. Any argument to the contrary is simply utter nonsense.

There is some significance, I suppose, in the fact that this is the first time that a Court at any level has ruled on the merits of the birther’s idiotic claims and rejected them as the nonsense they are. However, I doubt that’s going to deter them. Already, the same group of people are making similar arguments about Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal, both of whom were born in the United States to immigrant parents who had not yet become citizens. Much like the people who believe that the 16th Amendment was never actually ratified, or that history has suppressed the passage of an amendment that makes it illegal for lawyers to serve in Federal Government positions, this is a legal conspiracy theory that’s likely to be around for as long as the tin-foil hat brigade is around.

Here’s Judge Malihi’s decision:

Farrar-Welden-Swensson-Powell v Obama – Judge Malihi Final Decision – Georgia Ballot Challenge – 2/3/2012

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, I have to go over to Bad Fiction or Fogbow. The birthers’ meltdown must be epic, just epic.

    (BTW, both of the blogs mentioned are birther debunking blogs. Didnt want to give the wrong impression.)

  2. John Curran says:

    Doug, I have a question that was raised a while back when I got in an argument with a birther at work. He maintains, as do some of these folks, that Obama was born in Kenya & thus cannot be a citizen. I argued that even if it was true, he would still be a citizen by virtue of his mother’s status as an American citizen, but he argued that both parents have to be citizens.

    I found a document on the State Dept. website a while back that I thought supported my argument but I have not been able to find it again. Do you know if the birther argument has merit when only one parent is a citizen?

  3. @John Curran:

    Under the law, Obama would have received citizenship from birth through his mother whether he’d been born in Hawaii, Kenya, or Timbuktu.

  4. sam says:

    Anyone who thinks this will deter the birfers is sorely mistaken. General Jack D. Ripper is a paragon on mental health compared to those loonies.

  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    Well this should end their argument once and for all. That’s the last we’ll hear of the birthers.

  6. Nightrider says:

    An ALJ within the Georgia Sec. of State’s office is not a “Court”

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @John Curran: John, no links to follow but my step-daughter was born in Spain of an American father and a Spanish mother. She is a “natural born citizen” of the US (and Spain too) I don’t remember the details but my wife said they did have to jump thru a few hoops to get it straightened out.

  8. @Nightrider:

    There was a formal hearing presided over by a judge with legal training that was governed by rules of procedure and evidence. The decision can only be reversed on appeal if it is wrong on the law. Sounds good enough for me notwithstanding the distinction.

  9. de stijl says:

    In 2008, one of the candidates for president was born outside of the United States.

    John McCain

  10. Except as I note, McCain was born to U.S. citizen parents. He was also born in the Panama Canal Zone which, at the time, was a U.S. territory. Therefore, he was a citizen-from-birth under at least two criteria.

  11. Rick Almeida says:

    Reading the decision, it seems that early on, Taitz, et al had a chance to get a default ruling in their favor and declined, insisting instead that the judge rule on their case – resulting in this lopsided ruling.


  12. de stijl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Where do you fall on the Asperger / Autism spectrum?

    If you misread my comment that completely, you may be the stupidest person on the planet.

    Or perhaps you may be falling back to your patented Doug Mataconis intentional obtuseness thing, but you really need to re-think that. It’s not very convincing. You can’t be both an insightful analyst and the stupidest person on the planet at the same time. Pick one.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: @Doug Mataconis: Guys, please don’t start a flame war over nothing.

  14. @de stijl:

    I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. I responded to the point you made. Beyond that, I’ll remind you that resorting to insults and name calling is a violation of our comment policy.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    I sauntered over the Obama Conspiracy Theories and over to Bad Fiction Blog to take a peek at their reporting of the birthers’ meltdown. The screeching, according to the reports, could be heard on the moon. The major explanation on the birthers’ part as to why We Wuz Robbed of Our Rightful Decision has been, of course, that the CIA got to the judge and Made Him An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse.

    It’s pretty bad when your own case is so bad that you lose even though the other side didn’t even bother to show up. Epic snark on the part of the debunkers: “Empty Chair 1, Orly Taitz 0.”

  16. David M says:

    Normally the decisions against the birthers are just a giant waste of time, but this had the added bonus of them not losing even though Obama’s lawyers blew the entire thing off. That’s good for some humor at the birthers expense if nothing else.

  17. de stijl says:

    @de stijl: @Doug Mataconis:

    I threw in a ton of “ifs” and “mights” and “maybes” to alleviate my conscience and to sidestep straight-up insulting you, but that’s a total dodge. I wanted to insult you, but I hid behind those words. I have a tendency to hedge my convictions. I meant to insult you and I should have not hedged it. I apologize.

    I actually did have a point beyond insulting you. I will retroactively call it constructive criticism to make me look like less of a dick. (I was pretty dickish, though.)

    You have a tendency. When it is in your favor, you often ignore tone, subtext, and context, heck, sometimes even text itself.

    For example, a few days ago when you saw this comment:

    James, they were Democrats. They were rich guys standing up for the regular guy. Romney is a rich guy who wants to slash the safety net, tax the poor and cut taxes for the rich.

    and your response was this:

    That pretty much sums it up. All sins are forgiven if one has a D after ones name

    You didn’t just ignore the point that the commenter was making, but you turned it into something entirely different than what he was saying.

    That response leaves two choices:

    You either didn’t understand his comment (i.e., you’re stupid – which obviously you’re not, which then unfortunately leads us to the second choice)

    OR you purposefully chose to misunderstand him (which makes you a bad actor and are trying to make points off of something that someone didn’t actually say. IMO – you do this way too often)

    If you were just some random commenter it would be understandable but regretful tic. But you’re an editor. Please don’t be a bad actor. Please don’t pretend to not “get it’. It’s insulting.

  18. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    I’ll have to agree with de stijl – Doug, sometimes you act as a troll on your own site.

  19. @de stijl:

    I am not going to respond to a comment on a comment in another post. That discussion was had, it’s over. I made the point I chose to make and really don’t have anything more to say about it.

    You brought up a point about John McCain’s foreign birth. I responded to it. Then, you responded bizarrely. If there’s nothing left to say on substance then let’s just consider this exchange over.

  20. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis: (jaw drop)


  21. Scott says:

    @David M: I don’t know how the legal system works but it would be nice if the courts could say: not only is this frivolous but you wasted our time and resources. You owe $XX.p00. They would be the only way to put a stop to these things.

  22. b-psycho says:

    Notice how they have yet to question the citizenship of a white person?

  23. murray says:

    The funny part is that the plaintiffs thought they had a major victory when the judge decided not to dismiss the case but to hear it.

    He did his homework and in the end the ruling does more damage to the conspiracy theory than if the judge had thrown out the case.


  24. @Scott:

    Two years ago a Federal Judge in Georgia (in a case unconnected to this one) imposed $20,000 in Rule 11 sanctions against Orly Taitz for filing a friviious lawsuit. I am not sure if she’s paid that judgment or not yet

  25. de stijl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I should have been clearer. When I said:

    In 2008, one of the candidates for president was born outside of the United States.

    John McCain

    you thought I was actually talking about John McCain (psst – it rhymes with “mirthers”). That you think (or you pretend to think) think this comment is actually about John McCain and not about the “mirthers” is interesting.

    You either did not get that, or you chose not to get it. Both branches are illustrative.

  26. Michael says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Should. Won’t.

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Orly did finally manage to pony up the cash, after a lot of pissing and moaning (the better to convince her marks supporters to hit that Paypal button.

    Nothing could more convince me of the slothfulness of California’s Attorney Disciplinary Committee than the continued certification of Orly Taitz as a lawyer. I understand keeping her around for the hilarity of her court filings, but talk about violation of the “moral character” clause, yeowch.

    Also makes one wonder exactly how good the California Bar exam is if they can let a total incompetent like Taitz through.

  28. Jim Henley says:

    This isn’t over. Despite crowing by the Far Left Doug Mataconis and other radical-socialist bloggers like James Joyner, the judge did not even address the evidence that Barack HUSSEIN Obama was born in Kenya to Barack Obama, Sr. and a Luo tribeswoman, and flown shortly after birth THROUGH MENA AIRPORT IN ARKANSAS en route to Hawaii, under the aegis of teenage aviator/crime lord William Jefferson Clinton (nee William Alinsky Soetero), where – Hawaii, in case your intellect cannot keep up with my sentence structure – the transsexual communist Stanley “Anne” Dunham kept a corrupt bargain “she” made in prison with former cellmate and political mentor Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X, to claim the baby as “her” own, because the radical-muslim-dominated Socialist International realized that the key to conquering the United States without a shot was to place its own man in the White House, and the key to that was starting with the black son of a divorced white chick whose first name was a dude’s. History has decisively proved their cunning, but not, alas, our own wisdom.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    Destijl: FWIW I didn’t get where you were ging with that comment either, given the context that there really are people who believe McCain was in eligible due to his birth status.

  30. de stijl says:


    If I had to guess, I’d peg the “McCain is Ineligble” crowd at about .01% of the population and the “Obama is Ineligible” crowd at about 30% of the population, so I decided to go with McCain as the ironic choice. I know, I know, tough call. But that’s why I make the no bucks.

    So we had two candidates in 2008 who were ineligible. Who’s President then? Biden, Palin, Cheney, Boehner? It can’t be Bush because he’s had his full 8 years. Please tell me it isn’t Palin.

  31. Franklin says:

    And I actually thought your original comment was meant to be dramatic (like there should be a big pause before answer … wait for it …). Seeing as how the question of McCain’s eligibility actually led to (possibly unconstitutional) action from Congress to make sure he was eligible, I think it was actually a much bigger deal than you are making it out to be.

    Hence, I can only conclude that Doug’s response was reasonable, at least in this case. I’m not going to go back and judge every comment that he’s ever made. But, judging from your comments here today, I can conclude that your goal in life is to insult other people. I hope it makes you happy, because it’s a little pathetic.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Jim Henley: The horrid thing is that you could post that on any birfer’s website and you would get a chorus of “Right on!” in the comments.

    It is absolutely impossible to parody a birther. (or birfer, as we call them.)

  33. Jim Henley says:

    @Grumpy Realist: I just miss Mena Airport theories, man. Kids today don’t appreciate the classics.

    (Pretty proud of “William Alinsky Soetero,” I’ll admit.)

  34. de stijl says:

    @Jim Henley:

    Pretty proud of “William Alinsky Soetero,” I’ll admit.

    You’re not done until you shoehorn a “Slick” in there somewhere. +5 for an “ibn” or “al”

  35. Jim Henley says:

    Liberals want to pretend we’re lunatics for believing the copious evidence that Barack Obama is ineligible for the office of President of the United States because he is a Selkie from the waters of coastal Scotland. But you can’t silence us just by giving us a derogatory nickname like “Firthers” . . .

  36. urstrange says:

    @Doug Mataconis: the Charlatan in Chief may have received citizenship through his slut mom, even though she was not old enough to grant himautomatic citizenship (had to be a US citizen 5 years after turning 16), but she could not give him natural born citizenship, because his baby daddy was not a US citizen. There is a difference between being a citizen=jus soli born on the soil and being a “natural born Citizen” born to citizens of the soil you were born on=jus sanginis by bloodline. The Mongrel in Chief doesn’t have the bloodline to be a “natural born Citizen”. Not to mention his namesake BO has more legal nativity and bloodline paperwork than O.Bark.

  37. urstrange says:

    @John Curran: If O.whodat was born in Kenya, again his mother would have been too young to pass on her US citizenship. I think in 1961, born out of the US in a foreign country the mom unit had to have resided in the US 5 years after age 14 to pass on her US citizenship to Lil’ Bammie. She was too young when she downloaded him in Kenya to make him a US citizen, not to mention the requirement of having 2 US citizen parents if born out of the country to be a “natural born Citizen” and eligible to be POTUS, which is why McCain is a “natural born Citizen” and was eligible, unlike O.whodat, to run for the office of POTUS. Doug M. needs to bone up on timely citizenship rules…like how they stood when Baby Bammy arrived and the birth certificate laws of HI at the time. In 1961 anyone born anywhere could get a HI birth certificate among 3 other ways to get “proof” you were born there and anyone claiming a relationship could get that birth certificate without the “certificatee” being present.

  38. urstrange says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Unhelpful because it is legally UNTRUE!

  39. urstrange says:

    @murray: Oh John McCain is not WHITE???

  40. urstrange says:

    @Doug Mataconis: McCain was a citizen at birth, but his two citizen parents made him a “natural born Citizen”…two separate issues. Under your continued liberal legal dribble every anchor baby and foreign baby downloaded here ( a lot of Chi-Coms come over on designer birther trips to get that US citizenship instead of over the fence, through the Rio Grande or across the bridge for a day) and made US citizens by the current misinterpretation of the XIVth Amendment will be eligible to become POTUS when they reach the right age and return to reside in the US for 14 years. DEFINITELY WHAT THE FOUNDERS TRIED TO PREVENT WHEN THEY PUT “natural born Citizen” into Article II Sec 1 of the Constitution. DUH??

  41. urstrange says:

    @Franklin: McCain’s parents were stationed at a military base (a US equivalent of being in the US) and were American citizens. He was not born on the base because like myself, a military brat, born in GA when my father was stationed at Warner Robbins, I was born in Macon GA because there was NO HOSPITAL on base. To try to claim that US citizens serving at the pleasure of the US government overseas do not have US citizen children when they are born overseas and those children are not “natural born Citizens” because they have two US citizen parents IS LUDICROUS. To say that O.whodat, who has no authenticated proof he was born here, and even if you accept his forged “proof” that he is, had a US citizen mother too young to pass her US citizenship to him (although he would have picked up that citizenship through the XIVth amendment misinterpretation if he was actually birthed in the US) and a baby daddy who WAS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE A US CITIZEN, is eligible to be POTUS is more than LUDICROUS. IT IS CRIMINAL because a constitutional crime was committed & TREASONOUS because the BOGUS POTUS maintains his faux POTUS appointment with personal knowledge of his own ineligibility.

  42. grumpy realist says:

    Ok, guys–I’ll bite. Troll or lunatic?

  43. David says:

    Lunatic troll?

  44. Rick Almeida says:

    @urstrange: @urstrange:

    You didn’t read the judge’s decision, I surmise.

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @David: The debunker blogs every now and then get a birfer visitor, who usually cuts and pastes all the old arguments. Result of what happens next is, well, what one would expect. The average debunking blog community doesn’t suffer fools graciously–especially since quite a few of them are lawyers and know more about the relevant case law than birfers ever imagined.

    We’re heading up to a score of roughly 100 law suits which have been brought by the birfers, none of which have been decided in their favour. At some point you’d think a rational human being might think his legal theory is wrong….

  46. Buffalo Rude says:

    @Jim Henley: That is so beautiful.

    *slow clap*

    Seriously, have you ever tried posting that at a site where they might take it as authentic? If so, please share the results.

  47. David says:

    @grumpy realist: That is what kills me, while I no longer practice (found I had an extreme dislike for clients), I used to and if someone walked into my office wanting to file some of this crap, I’d decline to represent them, then laugh my ass off at the bar at the end of the day.

  48. urstrange says:

    @Rick Almeida: You haven’t read “Georgia Court Ignored Basic Rules of Interpretation” by Dawn Irion of Liberty Legal Foundation…I am not surmised! Oops, surprised.

  49. Jim Henley says:

    @Buffalo Rude: You honor me sir or madam.

    I confess I don’t know a forum where birfers are taken seriously, and I’m afraid to find out.

    @urstrange: Curious. Why do you call Barack Obama a “mongrel?”

  50. sam says:

    WTF! This judge either has his head up O’s Butt or they really threatened him. What a disgrace to America this jerk does not deserve the title of judge! Get him off the bench!

  51. MM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    At some point you’d think a rational human being might think his legal theory is wrong….

    Conspiracy theorists can’t allow themselves to be wrong. Any facts that contradict the conspiracy are proof that the conspiracy is just. That. Large.

    Every judge who rejects a birther suit or rules against them just shows them how insidious the Obama machine is (after all, apparently he has dirt on every judge in the country).

  52. David M says:

    @MM: So he’s not incompetent anymore? I’m just checking whether he’s supposed to be clueless or a devious mastermind this week.

    It is amazing the birthers keep trotting out their nonsense, never even caring that judges have taken their arguments seriously and then explained why they are wrong. Apparently the judges opinions aren’t worth reading.

  53. urstrange says:

    @Jim Henley: In July 2010 O.whodat sitting on the couch with the overly biased leftie View bitches said of African-Americans (which he is one of the few and true African-anti-Americans) “We are sort of a mongrel people.” I can’t direct you to the YouTube video,because it has been pulled, probably by O.thugo’s brown-shirting internet polize. But you can go to “Obama prefers “mutt like me” video on YouTube at his first press conference by C.rap N.ot N.ews when he was thrown a bunch of fluff questions…one about the dog he promised the “girls” he doesn’t want punished by a baby. The conference was TOTUSless, so his “ums” and “errs” out number his words, but you Obamanoids can get past that with your delusion of the power of O.blahblahblah’s master of the language universe persona you and the media have created. He’s a fumbduck without TOTUS, bowls like a participant in the Special Olympics and a “mutt” and a “mongel” by his own admission. Quit asking me stupid questions…I have signed off this fogbow cloned faux lawyered blog. You libtards have the cranial rectal inversion technique to a science and I’m tired of swapping spit with jackasses.

  54. Jim Henley says:

    @urstrange: So, just to confirm, are you saying you refer to Barack Obama as a “mongrel” out of respect for what you believe to be his preferred term for himself?

  55. Checkerboard Strangler says:

    Idiots on parade:

    “In that ruling, the Indiana court found that children born within the U.S. are natural-born citizens, regardless of the citizenry of their parents.”

    It’s never been any different. If you’re born here, you’re a citizen.
    You don’t NEED a court to figure that out, it’s the law!

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Checkerboard Strangler: I found it especially amusing that the court opinion used to strike down this recent mess of bovine excreta was, in fact, the result of another birfer lawsuit.

  57. Rbtark says:

    2 facts: The constitution was written using the guidelines taken from the “laws of nations: which clearly defines the difference between citizens and natural born citizens saying natural born citizens must have parents who were both born in the U.S.. Also, O.B.s father was a British citizen
    and by British law makes his offspring a citizen also giving OB dual citizenship. That is why he was able to travel to Pakistan probably using a passport from Britain. Can the POTUS have dual citizenship? I don’t think so as the President has to have total allegiance to the U.S.

  58. Jim Henley says:

    @Rbtark: Your comments on the laws of nations fascinate me. Can you tell me in which federal court you have your judgeship so I can enrich myself by reading your judicial opinions? I would also love to read some of the scholarly papers you wrote in your academic days to better educate myself about constitutional history. The topic fascinates me, but there is so much misinformation and rank nonsense on the internet that I find it safer to restrict my reading to genuine authorities. No doubt you feel the same.

  59. slimslowslider says:

    Good lord… still going with the Pakistan lie, Rbtrack?