The New Jersey Administrative Law Judge who dismissed the latest Obama eligibility case seems to have made a new, special law for Presidential primaries in New Jersey. According to this law, anyone can nominate anyone for President in a major party primary. The nominee need not agree to let someone nominate him, need not qualify to be President, need not be a citizen (natural-born or otherwise), and indeed need not even be real. This makes no common sense, and the Secretary of State instructs Presidential candidates otherwise. For that reason alone, CNAV calls on the Secretary of State to overrule her Administrative Law Judge and stop Barack H. Obama from appearing on the New Jersey Democratic Primary ballot.
The Obama eligibility hearing
Last week, two New Jersey voters, Republican Nicholas E. Purpura of Wall Township and Democrat Ted Moran of Toms River, objected to Barack H. Obama’s nominating petitions in the Democratic primary. They said that Obama’s name should not appear on the ballot. They objected for two reasons:
Barack Obama has never shown one document to the Secretary of State that says that he qualifies to be President, according to these instructions.
Barack Obama could never qualify to be President because he is not a natural-born citizen.
Yesterday, from 9:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (with a ten-minute break), they had their hearing. And at that hearing, the Obama campaign’s lawyer, Alexandra Hill, said something incredible: that no candidate for President has to produce any document to show that he or she qualifies to be President. In so saying, Hill closely paraphrased the three bandits in the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. As any fan of Humphrey Bogart’s films knows, Bogart’s character meets the bandits, who claim to be lawmen, and demands to see their badges. The bandits tell Bogart’s character:
We don’t need no badges! We don’t have to show you no stinkin’ badges!
They say that, of course, because they have no badges. Neither does Barack Obama seem to have a birth certificate. Alexandra Hill offered none (and said that the PDF document that the White House served up to the Internet is not relevant).
Mario Apuzzo, in his opening remarks, told Administrative Law Judge Jeff S. Masin that New Jersey election law says that a candidate must show that he or she qualifies for the office. NJSA 19:23-7 clearly says:
Accompanying the petition, each person indorsed therein shall file a certificate, stating that he is qualified for the office mentioned in the petition, that he is a member of the political party named therein, that he consents to stand as a candidate for nomination at the ensuing primary election of such political party, and that, if nominated, he consents to accept the nomination, to which shall be annexed the oath of allegiance . . .
That law governs primary elections for any office except that of President of the United States. But NJSA 19:25-3 says that a candidate need not consent to accept the nomination, and may not have a slogan appear with his name. But in every other detail, a Presidential primary nominating petition must conform to all other requirements of law. A straightforward read would mean that, whether he consents to stand for nomination or not, he must still certify that he qualifies, and that he is a member of the party that the petition names.
Obama did not so certify. That was why Purpura and Moran objected. That is the basis of their Obama eligibility challenge. And Obama’s lawyer said baldly that he does not intend to certify.
Judge Masin defies common sense
The Hon. Jeff Masin presides at the latest Obama eligibility hearing. Photo: CNAV
A judge should read the plain sense of the law. Judge Masin did not do this. Instead he seized upon the part of the statute that says that a candidate for President need not consent for a petition to be valid. On that basis, he said that where the law does not require consent, it cannot at the same time require certification.
That statement alone is utterly without foundation. How shall a voter know whether any candidate on the ballot qualifies or not? That’s why States have Secretaries of State and Divisions of Elections.
In the case of the presidential primary, where the person or persons indorsed need not consent to being indorsed by the petition, N.J.S.A. 19:25-4 authorizes such a person indorsed without consent to “decline in writing, filed in the office of the Secretary of State, to have his name printed upon the primary election ballot as a candidate for President, the Secretary of State shall not so certify such name.” It could be assumed therefore that if a person so indorsed knew that he did not meet the Constitutional requirements for the office, he would decline, thus leading the Secretary to not certify his name.
In other words, the candidate’s word alone is enough. And not even an expressed word, but an implied word. Silence gives certification by this “Masin Rule.” Here, then, is how Masin’s statement reads in formal logic: if the candidate knows that he does not qualify to be President, he will decline in writing. Obama has not declined. Therefore, Obama does not know that he does not qualify.
How does a former professor of Constitutional law not know that he does not qualify to be President? And furthermore, the last time CNAV checked, ignorance of the law is no defense. By the Masin Rule, ignorance of the law, and of the Constitutions of New Jersey and the United States, is now a defense for breaking all three.
The Masin Rule, unless the Secretary of State overturns it, will stand as the most infamous product of the Obama eligibility jurisprudence. Ironically, Obama’s proxy seemed to know this. She actually said that someone could nominate Mickey Mouse, of Disney fame, as a candidate for President in a New Jersey primary. And Judge Masin never challenged that. CNAV must therefore assume that the Masin Rule also lets someone nominate a character of fiction to be President.
Those who ignore Obama eligibility cases should take notice now. Those who feared that an Obama eligibility case would make New Jersey a laughingstock, should now realize that this case confirms their fears, though not as they said it would. New Jersey is now a laughingstock, not because two voters (one from each major party) challenged an alleged sitting President’s primary petition. New Jersey is a laughingstock because now New Jersey primary voters may nominate a “person” whether he wants them to or not, whether he qualifies or not, and indeed whether he is real or not.
Will the Secretary of State act?
Secretaries of State do not usually overrule their Administrative Law Judges. But New Jersey Secretary of State Guadagno must. Judge Masin’s decision is absurd. The Masin Rule makes a mockery of the primary process, and as such disenfranchises those who vote in primaries. Guadagno should stop this insanity at once and not let anyone renominate Obama for President until he sends her office a certified true hard copy of his birth certificate. Anyone seeking a license to drive in New Jersey must show who he is. Obama refuses, and now the Masin Rule lets him refuse. This is nothing less than a travesty of law and justice.