Politics

Arizona's Anti-Obama Birther Bill Violates U.S. Constitution

| by Jerome McCollom

Republicans in the Arizona state senate have passed a birther bill that would set a new requirement for a presidential candidate to get on the Arizona presidential ballot in 2012. It must go to the other branch of their legislature for final passage before the governor of Arizona can sign it.

The bill, of course, is motivated by the widespread belief that President Obama is a secret Muslim Kenyan out to impose worshiping zombies, or something like that. The bill would require a copy of the original birth certificate.

The Senate bill has an amendment that allows for other documents such as baptism records, but won't allow the short-form document. First of all, why is a baptism record more official than the birth certificate issued from the state of Hawaii? But many Republicans in Arizona don't want anything else to be used other than the long form, though the birth certificate that President Obama has is the form that the state of Hawaii sends out. It meets all the legal requirements, for example, to get a passport.

In effect, Arizona is setting a higher standard than the U.S. government for proving citizenship. Heck, Obama received a U.S. passport so his birth certificate was definitely considered good enough for the government.

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Also, is the requirement for those running for the U.S. Senate or other elected positions in Arizona the same as those who are running for president? According to the law, the requirement for even vice president is not as high as president. Why only resort the presidency to this standard if it is not about getting Obama?

I must also mention that there is the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution. It simply means that states have to honor what other states do in such things as marriages or drivers licenses or contracts.

Although, states have been allowed to violate this by not recognizing same sex marriages issued in states such as Massachusetts or Iowa. Hawaii issued a birth certificate and Arizona according to this clause in our Constitution, is obligated to honor it as it has done since Hawaii became a state. Until now, it seems. Obama probably won't win Arizona in the presidential election but states should not be able to violate our Constitution in the process.

Lastly, if the birthers won't believe that the short form proves Obama is a U.S. citizen, is there any reason whatsoever to believe that they would accept a long-form version as proof? Maybe legally in Arizona they would have to -- under this law -- but how long before the next version requires testing of the ink on a birth certificate to show that it matches ink used at the time of the birth? This would just go on forever.