U.S. District Judge Brian Miller gave new life on Friday to a birther lawsuit by David Librace, a political gadfly from Helena. Librace will have his day in court today at noon. Miller granted his motion to proceed with the civil lawsuit.
Librace, who is running for president himself, is seeking a declaratory judgment on whether Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are eligible to appear on the ballot tomorrow when the state holds its primary. The lawsuit questions whether Cruz and Rubio are “natural born citizens” under the Constitution. Cruz was born in Canada; Rubio, born in Miami, has Cuban parents.
“The U.S. Constitution is not a popularity document for fair weather only,” the lawsuit states.
Arkansas Business reports:
“In order to run for president, I think it finally needs to be defined,” Librace, in an interview with Arkansas Business on Sunday, said of the constitution’s citizenship requirement. …
Martin, the secretary of state with oversight of elections, objected to Librace’s motion to proceed with the case without paying court costs, saying Librace was using pauper status to harass Martin. Librace has filed three previous suits against Martin, including one complaining that taxpayers should not bear the cost of party primaries.
Judge Miller, however, granted Librace’s motion late Friday afternoon and set another hearing for noon on Monday, saying he thought Librace deserved to be heard.
“I started this day with a judge from Conway and ended the day with Ted Cruz,” Miller commented.
The D-G is on the scene and reports that Miller stated that it’s unclear whether he can make a decision of the natural born citizen question that would set a precedent for other birther lawsuits:
Attorneys for Cruz, Rubio, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and the Arkansas Republican Party were making just that argument Monday, saying Miller should decline to rule on the merits of a suit brought by a Helena-West Helena man seeking to have the senators removed from the ballot in Arkansas.
In addition to arguing that Miller should not make a decision on natural-birth citizenship, attorneys arguing against the suit said it would cause “irreparable harm” a day ahead of the state’s partisan primary elections if Miller orders an injunction against the candidates.
The ballots for Tuesday’s vote have already been printed; 170,000 people have cast ballots during the early voting period; and an additional number of absentee voters in the military and abroad have received ballots, according to testimony from Rob Hammons, the director of elections for the secretary of state’s office.
During the hour-and-a-half hearing, Miller questioned if a ruling in the other direction — that Cruz and Rubio both qualify as natural-born — could end similar arguments in other courts.
“When is a court just going to say here it is?” Miller said on the question of natural birth citizenship. “If a court would just be clear, we wouldn’t have to file these cases over and over.”
Miller will issue a written order at 3 p.m.
The case has been dismissed.