The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Archive for March 7th, 2009

Update: Smackdown on Birthers

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 7, 2009

There are some folks out there who push the conspiracy theory that President Obama isn’t really a United States citizen – these morons are called “birthers”, and I have an extensive post about this called “Citizen Obama.”

obama inauguration

In this post I just wanted to give a quick update about the latest smackdown against the lunatic birther crowd. It seems that, despite Obama’s swearing in and acknowledgment by both Congress and the Supreme Court, these folks keep on pushing their woo by filing frivolous lawsuits attempting to get Obama to “prove” his citizenship.

One of the latest is outlined at this link to Politico.com, a non-partisan website which tracks all things political. Ben Smith’s story there states…

As the many lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility make their way through the courts, judges appear to be getting a little fed up, and D.C. District Judge James Robertson penned a particularly harsh memo yesterday dismissing a case called Hollister v. Soetero.

“This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do. Even in its relatively short life the case, has excited the blogosphere and the conspiracy theorists. The right thing to do is to bring it to an early end,” he wrote.

In the entertaining five-page memo, Robertson also describes the lawyers pushing the case as “agents provocateurs” and their local counsel as “a foot soldier in their crusade,” and requires that he prove why he should not pay Obama’s legal fees for filing a complaint “for an improper purpose such as to harass.”

What that last paragraph means, basically, is that if these folks continue to file baseless lawsuits like this, then they should be required to pay all legal fees – including Obama’s. Perhaps that will give them pause before they push their nonsense in the courts.

It is also worth noting that many pseudoscientists misuse our court system in the same manner as birthers, except the pseudoscientists attempt to use the threat of litigation as a way of shutting up skeptics. For instance, “psychic” Uri Geller has filed legal action many times against skeptic & magician James Randi for exposing him publicly as a fraud – if Geller knew going into court that he’d have to pay both his own and Randi’s legal fees if he lost, then perhaps he would have thought twice about it.

One can hope that such a sensible approach would take hold in our courts. One can hope…

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