By Wally Kennedy
Is President Barack Obama’s citizenship still in question?
State Rep. Ed Emery, a Lamar Republican who plans to run for the state Senate, thinks so, and says for that reason that he this week attended an event on behalf of his constituents.
His attendance Wednesday at an event at which Orly Taitz, a California dentist and lawyer, continued to challenge Obama’s citizenship has Emery at opposites with House Speaker Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican, on the matter.
“I don’t think it’s an issue,” said Richard, who is known for blunt reactions. “I’m not concerned about that. We have no jurisdiction to look at something like that, and I wasn’t consulted about this meeting.’’
Even though concerns over Obama’s citizenship have been widely debunked by state officials in Hawaii, and even though the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to even give the notion a thought, Emery says he remains unconvinced.
Emery said he was at the event Wednesday at a Jefferson City hotel to listen to Taitz’s arguments and hear her evidence. He was the only recognized legislator at that meeting.
Later that day, Taitz spoke at St. Louis. In attendance there were state Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, and a representative of state Rep. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. They, too, said they attended to hear Taitz’s position.
Taitz alleged that Obama was born in Kenya, the home country of his father; that Obama has failed to produce a true copy of his Hawaii birth certificate; the birth documentation he has produced may be a forgery; that the president has falsified his Selective Service papers and his application to the Illinois bar; and that the president may have as many as 25 Social Security numbers.
Taitz maintains that without an acceptable version of his birth certificate, it’s impossible to know if Obama was born in Hawaii and, thus, whether he qualifies as a “natural-born citizen’’ as required by the Constitution.
In response to reporter inquiries about his attendance at the meeting, Emery released an official statement on Friday.
Emery said he attended the meeting “because lots of claims have been made and he has never seen any responses to them that settle the issue. The courts have chosen not to accept this on review.’’
As an elected representative, Emery said he took an oath “to defend the Constitution. I felt like this was important and that serious questions have been raised. I attended the event out of an interest and obligation to my constituents and the Constitution, and it was my duty as a state representative.’’
He said he did look at Taitz’s documentation, but “she had a lot of documents there and has done a lot of traveling and spent a lot of money on the legitimacy of his citizenship and how well they have satisfied the constitutional obligations.”
Emery, who has announced plans to run in 2010 for the District 28 seat in the Missouri Senate, said the media should “definitely be doing a lot of digging and reporting on whether this was valid. There’s clearly a serious disagreement.’’
“It’s easy to resolve with the issuance of a couple of documents,” he said. “If someone could produce a birth certificate that satisfies the constitutional requirements, this would all go away.’’
With regard to Obama, Richard said, “Let’s give the guy a chance and let’s get things moving forward.’’
Democrats, some Republicans and some nonpartisan groups have dismissed the accusations about Obama’s citizenship.
The state of Hawaii and Obama’s American relatives say he was definitely born in the United States. His mother was a U.S. citizen who met Obama’s father, an exchange student, at the University of Hawaii. Because Obama’s mother was a U.S. citizen, Obama would automatically be one too.
Taitz filed a lawsuit before Obama was inaugurated in an effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to consider her claims. The court declined to consider the issue. She subsequently has filed another suit in the California courts.
On Nov. 1 of last year, The Associated Press quoted Chiyome Fukino as saying that both she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, had personally verified that the Hawaii Department of Health holds Obama’s original birth certificate.
Records also show that a newspaper announcement of his birth was published Aug. 13, 1961, in the Honolulu Advertiser. The account states that Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu.
Tea Party attendance
State Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, on Friday said he would be unable to attend today’s “Tea Party’’ in Joplin. He said he was scheduled to speak at the one in Springfield and could not attend both. The “Tea Party” meetings began in response to the government’s response to the economic meltdown that began in the latter part of last year.
By Wally Kennedy
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