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Florida judge hears ‘birther’ challenge to President Obama’s re-election bid

The argument has been debunked and rejected many times, but that hasn’t stopped people from continuing to file lawsuits disputing President Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve. A South Florida man is behind one of the latest challenge, asking that Obama be blocked from having his name listed on the Florida ballot this fall.

Plaintiff Michael Voeltz filed the suit in Leon County circuit court in February. His attorney, Larry Klayman, says he has evidence Obama wasn’t born in the United States and therefore is not a citizen eligible to serve as president. Even if he were born in Hawaii, Klayman said, the president isn’t a “natural born citizen” as required in the U.S. Constitution because his father wasn’t a citizen.

Gov. Rick Scott has been a critic of Obama, but his administration is siding with the president on this issue. Attorneys for Secretary of State Ken Detzner appeared at a hearing this morning alongside the president’s lawyers to argue for the case to be dismissed.

The suit is without standing because Obama won’t officially become the Democratic nominee for president until after the party’s convention in September, the defense argued. Right now he is simply a candidate, albeit one without opposition in primary, they said.

“In this case, there has been no nomination to office, there has been no election to office as a result of the presidential preference primary of January 31,” said Mark Herron, a lawyer representing Obama.

Plaintiff Voeltz is described in the lawsuit as a registered Democrat. But according to a state voter registrations database updated in Janaury, Voeltz is listed as having no party affiliation. His address is in Plantation, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale.

UPDATE: According to a clerk with the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office, Voeltz switched from "no party affiliation" to Democrat on Nov. 23, 2011. END UPDATE.

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis didn’t indicate when he would making a ruling. While Obama and the state want the suit dismissed, Klayman said he is hopeful he will be allowed to conduct research and bring the issue to trial. He believes Obama should be exposed once and for all.

“We want discovery in this case. We want to take depositions of Hawaiian officials where the president claimed he was born,” Klayman said.

By the way, Klayman also said he does not believe Sen. Marco Rubio is eligible to serve as vice president for those same reason. We have already written about the "birther" movement's effect on Rubio here.