The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal challenging President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship. The high court is known as the most extremist right-wing court in modern times, dominated by five conservatives.
State and federal courts also have rejected lawsuits over the issue.
Among those who filed the dismissed lawsuit is right-wing zealot Alan Keyes, who ran against Obama for Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat in 2004 as the Republican nominee.
Although the conspiracy charge that Obama was not born in Hawaii may seem wacky to a great majority of Americans, the far right has fueled the myth as an appeal to racism, even after the state of Hawaii released the president’s long form birth certificate.
Critics have condemned such appeals to racism and lies, yet they just keep coming.
Arizona’s secretary of state, for example, demanded Hawaii send his office more verification or else he would leave the president’s name off the state ballot in November. However, perhaps with egg on his face, the secretary, Ken Bennett, who is also a Republican, recently announced that he now considers the matter closed and the president’s name will appear on the ballot.
The state’s legislature had passed a bill that would have required presidential candidates to prove their citizenship before their names could appear on the state’s ballot. Even the far-right governor, Jan Brewer, said that law was “a bridge too far” and vetoed it.
But the unabashedly racist and anti-immigrant Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, vowed to press the issue, saying Bennett’s office doesn’t dispel his suspicions. He put together a volunteer “posse” to investigate, and said it would continue its “investigation.”
Often times Republican officials are soft in challenging the citizenship lie, which in turn, keeps the conspiracy alive. Media outlets from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News to even CNN have been criticized for their role in giving the charge any legitimacy.
Photo: Mitt Romney, Republican presidential hopeful, shakes hands with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Arizona Republican Party Headquarters in Phoenix in 2007. Ross D. Franklin/AP