COA: Obama, McCain eligible to be president

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

More than a year after the 2008 presidential election, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama were eligible to run for the office.

Steve Ankeny and Bill Kruse pro se filed the suit against Gov. Mitch Daniels, Ankeny and Kruse v. Governor of the State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0904-CV-353, claiming the governor had a duty to determine a person's eligibility to become president because he issues a "certificate of ascertainment," which lists the electors chosen, other candidates, number of votes received, and other information; and because he appoints members of Indiana's electoral college. They argued the governor didn't comply with this duty because Obama and McCain weren't eligible under the federal Constitution's clause that says no U.S. senator currently holding that office shall be appointed elector for any state. They also believed neither candidate was eligible for the office because they weren't "born naturally within any Article IV State of the 50 United States of America."

The Marion Superior Court granted the governor's motion to dismiss the suit under Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6).

"Initially, we note that the Plaintiffs do not cite to any authority recognizing that the Governor has a duty to determine the eligibility of a party's nominee for the presidency," wrote Judge Elaine Brown. "The Plaintiffs do not cite to authority, nor do they develop a cogent legal argument stating that a certificate of ascertainment has any relation to the eligibility of the candidates."

The plaintiffs argued because Obama and McCain were U.S. senators on Election Day, they were constitutionally ineligible to be appointed as presidential elector.

"The fact that the names 'Barack Obama' and 'John McCain' are the ones that appeared on the ballot does not change the fact that they were in fact candidates for the presidency, not any of Indiana's electors," she wrote.

The appellate court then used centuries-old caselaw to rule Obama is a "natural born citizen" as required to qualify to be president. Ankeny and Kruse complained that the senators weren't natural born citizens and the governor shouldn't have been able to issue any certificate of ascertainment. The Court of Appeals focused on Obama because the plaintiffs didn't develop a cogent legal argument pertaining to McCain. Ankeny and Kruse claimed because Obama's father was a citizen of the United Kingdom, he is constitutionally ineligible to be president.

Based on the language of Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 and the guidance provided in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 18 S. Ct. 456 (1898), the Court of Appeals ruled that people born within the borders of the U.S. are "natural born citizens" for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents.

Judge Brown noted in a footnote that nothing in the opinion today should be understood to hold that being born within the 50 states is the only way one can receive natural born citizen status. She also noted that the 21st president, Chester A. Arthur, also was born of parents with different citizenships; his mother was a U.S. citizen and his father was Irish.


Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Heritage, what Heritage? The New Age is dawning .... an experiment in disordered liberty and social fragmentation is upon us .... "Carmel City Council approved a human rights ordinance with a 4-3 vote Monday night after hearing about two hours of divided public testimony. The ordinance bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other traits. Council members Rick Sharp, Carol Schleif, Sue Finkam and Ron Carter voted in favor of it. The three council members opposing it—Luci Snyder, Kevin Rider and Eric Seidensticker—all said they were against any form of discrimination, but had issues with the wording and possible unintended consequences of the proposal." Kardashian is the new Black.

  2. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Thank you.

  3. Should any attorney who argues against the abortion industry, or presents arguments based upon the Founders' concept of Higher Law, (like that marriage precedes the State) have to check in with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for a mandatory mental health review? Some think so ... that could certainly cut down on cases such as this "cluttering up" the SCOTUS docket ... use JLAP to deny all uber conservative attorneys licenses and uber conservative representation will tank. If the ends justify the means, why not?

  4. Tell them sherry Mckay told you to call, they're trying to get all the people that have been wronged and held unlawfully to sign up on this class action lawsuit.

  5. Call Young and Young aAttorneys at Law theres ones handling a class action lawsuit