A Georgia administrative judge rejected “birther” claims and ruled Friday that President Barack Obama is eligible to appear on the state’s March 6 Democratic primary ballot.
Judge Michael M. Malihi, deputy chief judge for the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings, wrote in a 10-page order that he found “little, if any, probative value” of testimony by witnesses who argued that Obama had faked his identity through forged birth certificates or a fraudulently obtained Social Security number.
Malihi also criticized Obama’s attorney, Michael K. Jablonski, for skipping a Jan. 26 hearing on the matter.
“By deciding this matter on the merits, the Court in no way condones the conduct or legal scholarship of Defendant’s attorney, Mr. Jablonski,” Malihi wrote. “This Decision is entirely based on the law, as well as evidence and legal arguments presented at the hearing.”
Jablonski couldn’t be reached immediately to comment after Malihi’s decision was released late Friday afternoon.
Malihi’s findings will be sent to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican who has final authority to decide Obama’s ballot eligibility.
Malihi said that Obama met the constitutional requirement that presidential candidates be “natural born citizens” because he was born in the United States.
The judge relied on a 2009 Indiana Court of Appeals analysis in Ankeny v. Governor, 916 N.E.2d 678, of many of the same arguments, including that Obama didn’t qualify as “natural born” because only one of his parents was a U.S. citizen. Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was born in Kansas, and his father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in Kenya, which plaintiffs say made him a British citizen.
“Parents born within the borders of the United States are ‘natural born citizens’ for Article II, Section I purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents,” according to Malihi’s citation of Ankeny.
Malihi said witnesses who questioned Obama’s credentials weren’t qualified or tendered as experts on birth records, forged documents or document manipulation.
“For the purposes of this analysis, this Court considered that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Therefore … he became a citizen at birth and is a natural born citizen,” Malihi wrote.
Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, according to birth documents released by his campaign and newspaper birth notices published at the time.