You've got to hand it to Philip J. Berg: he doesn't give up easily.
You might recall that Philadelphia attorney Berg tried, and failed, to halt the presidential election of Barack Obama on the grounds that he is not a native-born citizen. Game over, right? Wrong.
Berg filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in late October, asking that the highest court review the decision of the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania.
The latter court dismissed Berg's claims because he lacked standing to bring them. Standing requires plaintiffs to prove they are directly affected by the issue at hand, with evidence of injury that is concrete and particular.
In its decision the district court said Berg "does not, and we believe cannot, establish injury in fact." It also dismissed his claims as frivolous.
Berg takes this in stride. His writ, he says, requires Obama and the Democratic National Council to respond by December 1. Also, he has another arrow in his quiver.
He's filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., under the False Claims Act, which is often used in Medicaid fraud. "I am basing this on the fact that as a U.S. senator [Obama] is collecting money illegally because he is not a citizen of this country," he says.
One of the pillars of Berg's argument is that Obama doesn't have a legally-valid U.S. birth certificate because he was born in Kenya.
Though debunking specialists from Snopes.com and Factcheck.org have asserted the validity of a birth certificate released by the Obama campaign and affirmed by the State of Hawaii, Berg remains unconvinced.
Factcheck.org, he said, is suspect because it is run by a group called Annenberg of Chicago, where Obama once sat on a board with William Ayers.
Snopes.com worked off the same false document, he said.
Brooks Jackson, director of Factcheck.org, admits that his group is a part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, but says the Obama board connection is a canard.
The only connection Obama had with Annenberg came in 1995 through 1999 when the president-elect was the board chairman for The Annenberg Challenge in Chicago. The Challenge was charged with distributing $49 million in order to improve public education.
"The connection with us is that Obama was the board chairman of a group that benefited from Annenberg's philanthropy years before we came into existence," Jackson says. "Somehow that was twisted into Obama sat on our board." Factcheck.org, in fact, does not have a board of directors.
The seeming last word on the subject came from Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the director of Hawaii's department of health. On October 31 she issued a press release stating that she had personally seen and verified that Hawaii's state department of health has Obama's original birth certificate on record.
Berg responds that nowhere does the press release say this original certificate is actually American. Instead, he says, the certificate in Hawaii's vaults is from Kenya.
Hawaii's answer to this will surely fuel more fires.
"Unfortunately the way state laws are written we are not allowed to confirm vital information and vital records," said Janice Okubo, a spokeswoman for Hawaii's department of health. "I cannot confirm individual information because that is against the law."
She added, though, that Dr. Fukino does have authority over and maintains records for individuals born in Hawaii.