Monday, October 24, 2011

More On Can Lawyers Rely On Online Case Law Databases To Research Obama's Eligibility

A New Jersey attorney and blogger, Leo Donofrio, has determined that a major online legal research engine, Justia, scrubbed references to a key U.S. Supreme Court decision on the meaning of the words "natural born citizen" in the U.S. Constitution respecting a person's eligibility to be president of the United States from dozens of cases in its database in the lead up to the 2008 presidential election. Donofrio's research in July found two cases in which references to Minor v. Happersett had been removed. Further research by Donofrio reveals the disturbing extent to which the online legal database, Justia, tampered with reported U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning the meaning of natural born citizen, an act Donofrio contends represents a federal criminal offense:

New evidence conclusively establishes that 25 U.S. Supreme Court opinions were sabotaged then republished at during the run up to the ’08 election. My prior report documented the scrubbing of just two cases. But last week, a third sabotaged case was discovered which led to a thorough examination of all US Supreme Court cases which cite “Minor v. Happersett” as they appeared on between 2006 and the present.

Since Justia placed affirmations on each tampered opinion which state “Full Text of Case”, personnel may also be guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. 1018 by intentionally passing off tampered versions of US Supreme Court opinions as if they were official versions published by the US Supreme Court.

At this point, we do not know who committed these acts of sabotage. Since neither Obama nor McCain meet the Supreme Court’s definition of a “natural-born citizen” in Minor v. Happersett, the deception might have been undertaken on behalf of either one.

Regardless of who you supported in 2008, or whether you agree with the assertion of Minor’s relevance, every American should be outraged that 25 Supreme Court cases were surgically sabotaged and then passed off to the public as if the tampered versions contained the “Full Text of Case”. This is the very definition of “Orwellian” fascism. It’s propaganda. And there is no place for it in the United States. The sacrifices for truth and justice which created and have sustained this nation are wantonly debased by the subversive deception emanating from servers.

We do not know at this point if Justia personnel were behind this or if their site was hacked. That being said, Justia’s reaction to my last report mirrored the deception of the sabotage. Instead of addressing the proof, Justia quietly and with stealth un-scrubbed the evidence without acknowledging or addressing the issue at all. And they placed “.txt robots” on their URL’s for the two previously identified cases so the Wayback Machine could no longer provide historical snapshots of those cases as published at Justia.
Donofrio alleges that not only was the case citation to Minor v. Happersett removed from the 25 cases he uncovered, but in some cases, entire sentences of text from the cases were removed as well. In some instances, the name of the case was removed, but the citation to it was left intact. The offending text of Minor v. Happersett, which cast doubt on both Barack Obama's and John McCain's eligibility to serve as president, was the following passage:

“The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

Obama's eligibility under this interpretation is put in doubt because his father was never a U.S. citizen, notwithstanding his birth to a U.S. citizen mother in the state of Hawaii. McCain, although the child of two U.S. citizens, was born in a hospital in Panama while his father was stationed at a naval base in that country. Because he was not born within the United States, his natural born citizen status was questioned by some legal scholars. Donofrio often cited to the Minor v. Happersett decision on his blog during the 2008 presidential election to support his contention that neither Obama nor McCain satisfied the definition of a natural born citizen. His critics contended Minor's only precedential value was as a voting rights case and not citizenship because the central issue was the constitutionality of the denial of the right to vote to women in this country prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment. The critics deemed the case to be overruled by the adoption of the 19th Amendment granting the constitutional right to vote to women for the first time. According to Donofrio's research, Supreme Court decisions as recent as 1980 continue to cite to Minor v. Happersett, thus the argument it was overturned by the passage of the 19th Amendment is false.

Donofrio sees the tampering with the cases citing to the case in Justia's database as a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 1018, which reads as follows:

Whoever, being a public officer or other person authorized by any law of the United States to make or give a certificate or other writing, knowingly makes and delivers as true such a certificate or writing, containing any statement which he knows to be false, in a case where the punishment thereof is not elsewhere expressly provided by law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Because he found 25 instances where the content of federal decisions had been altered to prevent legal researchers from using the Supreme Court decision for precedential value, he believes each instance represents a separate federal crime carrying a prison sentence of one year. Donofrio writes:

In every case that was tampered, the words “Full Text of Case” appear on each scrubbed opinion. Since the cases were intentionally sabotaged by the removal of text, the affirmation at the top of each page which indicated that one is reading the “Full Text of Case” is knowingly false. It’s the inclusion of this intentionally false statement which makes this a crime under the statute.
Justia's founder, Tim Stanley, originally founded Findlaw, which he sold to Westlaw in 2001 for $37 million. West later sued Stanley for violating a non-compete agreement after he started up, which operates very similarly to Findlaw. According to Donofrio's report, the American Association of Law Libraries has been briefed on the matter, as well as a number of other heavyweights in the legal publishing business. According to Donofrio, Stanley is a practicing lawyer in the state of California. His business is located in Mountain View, California.

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