Many bloggers have been aware of the challenge to Barack Obama’s citizenship from Philip Berg, Hillary Clinton supporter and attorney from Philadelphia. I have not followed the situation much because to me, it seems improbable that any merit can be established for the claims. And recently, some blogs are reporting that Obama has until December 1 to produce his “real” birth certificate. What is accurate is that the Supreme Court via Justice David Souter has given President-elect Obama, the DNC and other defendants until December 1 to respond to the court case dismissed by the Third Circuit in late-October.
Here is the Docket entry from the Supreme Court website:
Title: Philip J. Berg, Petitioner
Barack Obama, et al.
Docketed: October 31, 2008
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Case Nos.: (08-4340)
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oct 30 2008 Petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment filed. (Response due December 1, 2008)
Oct 31 2008 Application (08A391) for an injunction pending disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, submitted to Justice Souter.
Nov 3 2008 Supplemental brief of applicant Philip J. Berg filed.
Nov 3 2008 Application (08A391) denied by Justice Souter.
~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Philip J. Berg 555 Andorra Glen Court, Suite 12 (610) 825-3134
Lafayette Hill, PA 09867
Party name: Philip J. Berg
Attorneys for Respondents:
Gregory G. Garre Solicitor General (202) 514-2217
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Party name: Federal Election Commission, et al.
I called the number listed on the Supreme Court website: Public Information Office: 202-479-3211, and asked the person who answered if the Obama camp had until December 1 to produce a birth certificate. She said she could not verify the specifics of the case but said Obama has until December 1 to produce a Brief in response to the Third Circuit case No. 08-4340.
UPDATE: Scott at the SCOTUS PIO recommended this document which provides the press with an understanding of stays and writs of certiorari. Most such applications are denied but this one is pending. From the document:
There are several possible scenarios for the disposition of an application:
• A Justice may simply deny without comment or explanation.
• If a Justice acts alone to deny an application, a petitioner may reapply to any other Justice of his or her choice, and theoretically can continue until a majority of the Court has denied the application.
In practice, applications usually are referred to the full Court by the second Justice to avoid such a prolonged procedure.
• A Justice may call for a response from the opposition before reaching a final decision. Such responses are usually due by a date and time certain. The Justice may grant an interim stay pending receipt of a response.
• A Justice may grant. If an application is granted by an individual Justice, or if the full Court acts upon one, its disposition is indicated by a written order or sometimes, an opinion. An order granting an application will indicate how long the order will remain in effect—usually until the Court acts on the petition for writ of certiorari. In fairly standard language, the order will often go on to state that if the petition is denied, the stay will automatically terminate, but if the Court grants full review, the stay will remain in effect until the Court hands down a decision on the merits and the mandate or judgment is issued.
Point three appears to be the category of this case. The Obama camp may or may not respond. If the court grants the writ of certiorari, then one might expect to see more reporting about this case.
UPDATE – 12/2/08 – Lisa Liberi from Philip Berg’s office wrote to say that the Solicitor General is only representing the Federal Election Commission. Obama, and the DNC have separate counsel but the Court has had no response from them. According to Liberi, SCOTUS was waiting a week in case the responses had been mailed. A conference date with the full Court regarding the certiorari petition will be scheduled after the week passes. She also noted that Berg has a petition in the works to prevent Electors from casting Obama votes in the Electoral College.
UPDATE: 12/8/08 – Berg today filed an application with the SCOTUS for a stay of the Electoral College vote. A quick check of the docket shows it reflects this filing.
UPDATE: 12/10/08 – Late yesterday, Justice Souter denied Berg’s request to stop the Electoral College from voting for Obama.
Berg vs Obama: A brief update
Berg vs Obama: Dept of Justice Waives Right to Respond to Petition
Berg vs Obama: Update and current status
Donofrio vs Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference
UPDATE: 1/2/09 – Add the following events and planned SCOTUS conferences to the above docket:
Nov 18 2008 Waiver of right of respondents Federal Election Commission, et al. to respond filed.
Dec 1 2008 Motion for leave to file amicus brief filed by Bill Anderson.
Dec 8 2008 Application (08A505) for an injunction pending the disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, submitted to Justice Souter.
Dec 9 2008 Application (08A505) denied by Justice Souter.
Dec 15 2008 Application (08A505) refiled and submitted to Justice Kennedy.
Dec 17 2008 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 9, 2009.
Dec 17 2008 Application (08A505) denied by Justice Kennedy.
Dec 18 2008 Application (08A505) refiled and submitted to Justice Scalia.
Dec 23 2008 Application (08A505) referred to the Court.
Dec 23 2008 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 16, 2009.
Apparently, Berg will get his two days in court (1/9 & 1/16).