The Birther Interruption

The scheduled reading of the Constitution in the House went off smoothly today, after a few of the usual procedural squabbles and legislative throat-clearing.  Most representatives of both parties did a perfectly fine job of reading their assigned bit of the text.  Speaker John Boehner got to read the really soaring words at the beginning, and gave an exceptionally powerful performance.  At the other extreme, watching disgraced Democrat Charlie Rangel read from the Constitution was like watching atheist comedian Ricky Gervais read the Bible, but not as funny.

The only bump in an otherwise smooth process came when the requirements for presidential eligibility were read, by Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey. Article II, Section 1 states that only a natural-born citizen may be President.  This prompted a woman who has been tentatively identified as Teresa Cao to upstage the unfortunate Pallone by screaming “Except Obama!” from the House galley.

Cao is a member of the “Birther” movement, which does not believe Barack Obama meets Article II, Section 1’s requirements.  She’s an avid supporter of Lt. Colonel Terrence Lakin, who was court-martialed and imprisoned last month for refusing to report for duty when his unit was deployed to Afghanistan.  Lakin says this is because he challenges Obama’s legitimacy as Commander-in-Chief.  He had hoped to use the discovery process of his trial to force the President to unseal his long-form birth certificate.  The military judge ruled against his request.

Cao knows her way around the inside of a sandwich board, having been photographed outside the Supreme Court with a “No Proof U.S. Citizenship” sign by the Associated Press, as far back as December 2008.  A recent WorldNetDaily piece on the Lakin trial quotes her as saying, “I’ve been taking his message to the White House and Congress that Lakin was standing up for God, Constitution, and country.  Puckett [his defense attorney] let Lakin down, and Lakin let all of us down.”

This whole story is a letdown.  No action of Congress, from its wisest to its most foolish, is improved by hecklers shouting from the galley.