Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer refused to sign a birther bill. The issue won’t go away, and it’s forcing GOP presidential contenders and other Republican leaders to pick sides: Do they think President Obama was born outside the United States and is therefore disqualified to be president? (Photo: AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week vetoed a birther bill passed by both the state’s House and Senate chambers, calling it “a bridge too far,” but similar pieces of legislation continue to pop up in other state legislatures across the nation.
They may not mention President Obama by name, but there’s no mistaking their ultimate target.
In Louisiana, for example, CNN reports, proposed legislation would require candidates for president, Congress and other offices to produce a birth certificate and a sworn statement verifying their place of residence for the preceding 14 years to qualify to appear on the state’s ballot.
So-called birthers have argued since 2008 that Obama’s mother perpetrated a RICO-type fraud that enabled her to have her Kenyan-born son registered as a natural-born U.S. citizen, despite evidence that the president was born in Hawaii. But state lawmakers are arguing that they are not targeting Obama but simply trying to fill a statutory gap.
“It’s not a birther bill; it’s a common-sense bill,” said Republican state Sen. Rick Brinkley, a lead sponsor of a bill in Oklahoma that would require candidates to provide proof of citizenship. “If you’re going to file for office, you should be willing to substantiate that you meet the qualifications.” The state’s GOP chairman, however, said that the bill is “not a priority,” The Associated Press reports.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he would sign such a bill were it to reach his desk even though he believes that Obama was born in the United States. “My disagreement with the president is not where he was born, but rather with his policies,” he told USA Today.
It begs the question, though: Would Jindal be so enthusiastic if such bills challenged the birthrights of lawmakers like himself and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who are both of Indian descent?