Vermont now has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to remove President Barack Obama from the November election ballot on the basis that he is not a “natural born citizen,” thanks to a lawsuit filed August 27, in Washington County Superior Court in Montpelier, the state capitol.
Since 2008, there have been at least 40 challenges to President Obama’s legitimacy, based on challenging the circumstances of his birth, of which Vermont’s is the most recent. Previously, 13 federal suits, six suits in state courts, and 20 other ballot challenges have failed to dislodge the President.
The Vermont Plaintiff, who is representing himself pro se, is H. Brooke Paige of Washington, Vermont, where he has lived since 1987. Paige filed his lawsuit the day before the Vermont primary election in which he was a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against Independent/Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders for his Senate seat. The lawsuit was not part of Paige’s campaign, which he lost by a 3-1 margin, despite campaigning as “the sacrificial Republican opponent to Bernie Sanders.”
The Vermont Defendants named by Paige are the State of Vermont itself, as well as Vermont Secretary of State James Condos and “Barack Hussein Obama, Candidate.” The goal of the suit is to get an injunction from the court prohibiting Condos from having Obama’s name printed on Vermont ballots for the November 6 election.
The legal basis for the injunction, Paige argues, is that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” in the sense meant by the Constitution, a position for which he provides over 20 pages of argument. The essence of Paige’s position is that, to be a “natural born citizen” in the 18th century sense, one must be born of two citizen parents, and Obama fails this test, since it is well known that his father was Kenyan.
Paige, 59, announced his senate candidacy in March, when his positions included two new taxes. Reportedly, “he would levy a 6.2 percent payroll tax on employers for workers making above the current Social Security cap to stabilize the system. He also is proposing a 2 or 3 percent shipping tax on packages sent by private vendors to stabilize the postal service finances.”
His campaign slogan – Help Is On The Way” – reflected considerable discontent with the state of things:
For years Vermonters have sent radical Socialist and “Liberals” to Washington, embarrassing our great state with plans and schemes designed to bankrupt Vermont and America. I hope to convince my fellow Vermonters that it is time for a new direction for our nation – a course toward self-sufficiency and self-reliance where citizens understand the importance of providing for themselves and their families without having to depend on the largess of government and self-serving politicians who take our hard earned wages and earnings and spend it freely, unconcerned with the effort and sacrifice we have endured to earn it. Now please don’t misunderstand, I am fully aware that there are those among us who need help to get by. But many politicians see these less fortunate folks to be used as a tool to keep them in power. Yes, provide the less fortunate with just enough to get by, but heaven forbid we would provide the less fortunate with skills and resources to become proud self-sufficient citizens – free of the shackles of enslavement to the government largess.
Early last summer, Paige was looking for a lawyer to represent him in the “natural born citizen” lawsuit now known as Paige v. Vermont. His personal attorney, Wendell Rose of Barre, whose specialty is real estate, warned him that most Vermont attorneys would probably turn down his case “because of the high profile and controversial nature of my action,” Paige wrote in his court motion to be allowed to represent himself.
After numerous rejections, Paige wrote a three-page, single-spaced letter dated July 4 to J. Paul Giuliani, a well-established Montpelier attorney. Paige wrote, in part, “While what I am hoping to achieve… is very modest, I am thoroughly aware of the profound ramifications my actions could have…. As you reminded me, our judiciary here in Vermont will probably look unfavorably upon my effort to encourage the State of Vermont to do the right thing….”
Once more he was turned down, as Giuliani explained that his office had insufficient resources for this sort of litigation, as well as no experience with the subject matter. “There aren’t many lawyers in Vermont with the experience you are looking for,” Giuliani wrote, and recommended that Paige seek help from the legal clinic at the Vermont Law School.
Considering the Law School an unlikely prospect, Paige turned to retired Superior Court Judge Paul F. Hudson, “who said he found the issues I raised were ‘fascinating’ and completely consistent with Vermont law.” Hudson agreed with Giuliani that there was no practicing attorney in Vermont with sufficient expertise to handle the case, Paige wrote.
Paige then tried a different approach, seeking to have Mario Apuzzo, a New Jersey attorney who had handled a similar case there, sponsored by a Vermont attorney so that Apuzzo could practice in Vermont temporarily. When communications with Giuliani broke down, Paige turned to attorney Rose, who flatly refused, telling Paige: “when all of this is over, I still need to have clients – this is my livelihood and I just can’t put that at risk.”
At that point, concluding that Rose had expressed what was likely close to a unanimous feeling among members of the Vermont Bar, Paige petitioned the court to be allowed to represent himself and to have attorney Apuzzo assist him.
For 25 years, Paige owned and operated the Remington Newsstand and the Vermont Outpost coffee shop in the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, commuting weekly by plane from his home in Vermont. By 2009, suffering from chronic heart problems, Paige had decided to sell his business and live in Vermont fulltime.
Although Paige has requested an expedited hearing on enjoining the Secretary of State from printing Obama’s name on the ballot, there are as yet no responses from the defendants and Judge Robert Bent has not yet scheduled a hearing. Vermont ballots are scheduled to be printed and mailed to overseas and military voters by September 22.