The decision [pdf] in Justice v. Fuddy affirms a lower court ruling and upholds the Hawaii Department of Health’s decision to deny plaintiff Dr. Robert Justice’s request to inspect and copy Obama’s birth certificate.
Justice, who represented himself before the court, had argued that while he did not have a “direct and tangible interest” in the records, the section of the state’s open records law that refers to the “health and safety” of an individual should apply to Obama’s birth records because “the President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of our military and entrusted with our nuclear and chemical arsenals.”
Justice said that allowing him to inspect “the purported birth certificate for [President Obama] will ensure the health and safety of all 300 million of us by making sure that our military and our nuclear and chemical arsenals are still under our control and not in the control of any one of our enemies.”
The opinion from the three-judge panel was written by Chief Justice Craig Nakamura and joined by Associate Judge Alexa Fujise. They relied on the section of state law that bars the release of vital records except to family members and others with a direct interest and rejected Justice’s argument that Obama’s eligibility to be president rose to the level of a medical emergency.
Associate Judge Katherine Leonard — who was nominated to be chief justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court last year by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle but was rejected by the heavily Democratic Hawaii Senate — filed her own one-page concurring opinion in which she wrote that “Dr. Justice does not have the power or authority to determine President Obama’s eligibility. Only the Congress of the United States has the power to remove a sitting president.”
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