Philip J Berg lawsuit, Obama files motion to dismiss, DNC motion to dismiss, September 24, 2008

 Here are the court documents filed on behalf of Obama and the DNC:

              

 

 

  DMEAST #10118497 v3

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

PHILIP J. BERG, :

:

Plaintiff :

:

v. : Civil Action No. 2:08-cv-04083-RBS

:

BARACK OBAMA, et al., :

:

Defendants :

DEFENDANT DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE’S

AND DEFENDANT SENATOR BARACK OBAMA’S

MOTION TO DISMISS

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), defendants Democratic National

Committee and Senator Barack Obama respectfully move the Court for an order

dismissing the Complaint on the grounds that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction

over the claim asserted and that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can

be granted.

Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1, accompanying this Motion is a Brief in Support of

Motion to Dismiss and a proposed Order.

Respectfully submitted,

Dated: September 24, 2008 /s/ John P. Lavelle, Jr.

John P. Lavelle, Jr.

Attorney I.D. PA 54279

BALLARD SPAHR ANDREWS &

INGERSOLL, LLP

1735 Market Street, 51st Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 864-8603

(215) 864-9125 (Fax)

lavellej@ballardspahr.com

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 1 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

2

Of Counsel:

Joseph E. Sandler

SANDLER REIFF & YOUNG PC

300 M Street, S.E. Suite 1102

Washington, D.C. 20003

Telephone: (202) 479-1111

Fax: (202) 479-1115

 

 

sandler@sandlerreiff.com

Robert F. Bauer

General Counsel, Obama for America

PERKINS COIE

607 Fourteenth Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20005-2003

Telephone: 202.628.6600

Facsimile: 202.434.1690

RBauer@perkinscoie.com

Attorneys for Defendants

Senator Barack Obama and the

Democratic National Committee

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 2 of 11

DMEAST #10118497 v3

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

PHILIP J. BERG, :

:

Plaintiff :

:

v. : Civil Action No. 2:08-cv-04083-RBS

:

BARACK OBAMA, et al., :

:

Defendants :

:

BRIEF OF DEFENDANT DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

AND DEFENDANT SENATOR BARACK OBAMA

IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendants Democratic National Committee and Senator Barack Obama submit

this Brief in support of their Motion to Dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter

jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim upon

which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff’s allegations

regarding Senator Obama are patently false, but even taking them as true for purposes of

this Motion, plaintiff’s suit must be dismissed immediately. This Court lacks subject

matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff has no standing to challenge the qualifications of

a candidate for President of the United States. Plaintiff fails to state a claim in any event

because there is no federal cause of action asserted in the Complaint.

I. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff Berg alleges that he is a “Democratic American,” Cmplt. ¶6, and that he

is a “Democratic American Citizen.”

 

 

 

Id

. ¶44. Mr. Berg then alleges that Barack Obama,

the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States, is not eligible to serve

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 3 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

2

as President under Article II, section 1 of the Constitution because, Mr. Berg alleges

(contrary to fact) that Senator Obama is not a natural-born citizen.

 

 

 

Id

. ¶3. Mr. Berg

seeks a declaratory judgment that Senator Obama is ineligible to run for President; an

injunction barring Senator Obama from running for that office; and an injunction barring

the Democratic National Committee from nominating him.

 

 

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter

jurisdiction, the Court is to determine “whether the complaint alleges facts on its face

which, if taken as true, would be sufficient to invoke the district court’s jurisdiction.”

 

FOCUS v. Allegheny County Ct. of Common Pleas

 

 

 

, 75 F.3d 834, 840 (3d Cir. 1996). The

plaintiff, as the party invoking federal jurisdiction, bears the burden of establishing the

elements of standing.

 

 

 

Id

. And in reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a

claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court “must accept all factual allegations in

the complaint as true” but “is not, however, required to accept legal conclusions either

alleged or inferred . . . .”

 

 

 

Washam v. Stesis

, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50520 9 (E.D. Pa.

 

2008),

 

 

 

citing Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993);

see also Bell Atlantic

 

Corp. v. Twombly

 

 

 

, __ U.S. __, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65, 1968, 1974 (2007) (plaintiff

must state a plausible claim for relief). Thus, although Mr. Berg’s factual allegations

about Senator Obama’s citizenship are ridiculous and patently false, the Court must of

course accept them as true for purposes of this Motion.

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 4 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

3

B. The Court Lacks Subject-Matter Jurisdiction Because Plaintiff Has

No Standing To Assert His Claim

“‘[T]he rules of standing, whether as aspects of the Art. III case or controversy

requirement or as reflections of prudential considerations defining and limiting the role of

the courts, are threshold determinants of the propriety of judicial intervention.’”

 

 

 

Penn.

 

Prison Society v. Cortes

 

 

 

, 508 F.3d 156, 158 (3d Cir. 2007), quoting Warth v. Seldin

422

U.S. 490-517-18 (1975). In order to establish the “‘irreducible constitutional minimum

of standing’ under Article III of the Constitution” plaintiff must show, first, an “‘injury in

fact—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and

particularized, . . . and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.’”

 

 

 

Goode

 

v. City of Philadelphia

 

 

 

, 539 F.3d 311, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 17153 *9-10 (3d Cir.

 

2008),

 

 

 

quoting Lujan v. Defenders of W

ildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992).

In this case, Mr. Berg fails to allege any concrete, specific injury in fact to

himself. He alleges that if Senator Obama is elected as President and then discovered to

be ineligible, “plaintiff as well as other Democratic Americans will suffer Irreparable

Harm including but not limited to: (1) Functional or Actual, Disenfranchisement of large

numbers of Citizens, being members of the Democratic Party, who would have been

deprived of the ability to choose a Nominee of their liking . . . .” Complt. ¶6. It is wellestablished,

however, that a voter’s loss of the ability to vote for a candidate “of their

liking” does not confer standing because the actual injury is not to the voter but to the

candidate. “[A] voter fails to present an injury-in-fact when the alleged harm is abstract

and widely shared or is only derivative of a harm experienced by a candidate.”

 

 

 

Crist v.

 

Comm’n on Presidential Debates

 

 

 

, 262 F.3d 193, 194 (2d Cir. 2001)(per curiam); see

, to

 

the same effect,

 

 

 

Becker v. Federal Election Comm’n

, 230 F.3d 381, 389-90 (1st Cir.

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 5 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

4

2000)(supporters of a candidate lacked standing to challenge exclusion of that candidate

from Presidential debates);

 

 

 

Gottlieb v. Federal Election Comm’n

, 143 F.3d 618 (D.C. Cir.

1998)(supporter of a candidate had no standing to challenge dismissal of agency action

against a competing candidate).

For that reason, a voter does not have standing to challenge the qualifications of a

candidate for President of the United States. In

 

 

 

Jones v. Bush

, 122 F. Supp.2d 713 (N.D.

 

Tex.),

 

 

 

aff’d w/o opinion

, 244 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2000), voters sued to challenge the

qualifications of then-Gov. George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to be elected President

and Vice-President of the U.S., respectively, on the grounds that they were both

“inhabitants” of Texas in violation of the requirement of the Twelfth Amendment that the

President and Vice President shall not be “inhabitants” of the same state. The Court

dismissed the case on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing.

The Court found that plaintiffs’ assertion that a violation of the Twelfth

Amendment “will harm them by infringing their right to cast a meaningful vote . . . fails

to satisfy the Article III requirement of a ‘distinct and palpable injury.’ . . . This type of

injury is necessarily abstract and plaintiffs conspicuously fail to demonstrate how they, as

opposed to the general voting population, will feel its effects.” 122 F. Supp.2d at 717,

 

 

 

quoting Warth

 

 

 

, supra

, 422 U.S. at 501. The Court also ruled that plaintiffs lacked

standing based on harm to non-defendant candidates, recognizing that none of the cases

“established standing for voters to vindicate the interests of candidates for public office.”

 

 

 

Id

 

 

 

. “Because plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a specific and individualized injury

from the pending alleged violation of the Twelfth Amendment and are unable to show

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 6 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

5

personal injury through harm done to non-defendant candidates, the court holds that they

do not have standing under Article III to bring this suit.”

 

 

 

Id

. at 717-18.

 

More recently, in

 

 

 

Hollander v. McCain

, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56729 (D.N.H.

2008), a voter sued Senator John McCain and the Republican National Committee,

alleging that, because Senator McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, he is not a

“natural born citizen” and is therefore ineligible to hold the office of President. The

Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiffs lacked

standing. The Court ruled that the plaintiff “does not have standing based on the harm he

would suffer should McCain be elected President despite his alleged lack of eligibility

under Art. II, §1, cl. 4. That harm, ‘standing alone, would adversely affect only the

generalized interest of all citizens in constitutional governance.’” 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS

at *12,

 

 

 

quoting Schlesinger v. Reservists Comm. to Stop the War

, 418 U.S. 208, 217

(1974).

Like Mr. Berg, the plaintiff in

 

 

 

Hollander

also contended that he would be

disenfranchised if he voted for Senator McCain in the general election and Senator

McCain were subsequently removed due to lack of ineligibility. This theory, the Court

held, “does not establish [plaintiff’s] standing because it does not ‘allege personal injury

fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct,’ . . . but to the conduct of

those—whoever they might turn out to be—responsible for ultimately ousting McCain

from office. Indeed, McCain and the RNC are trying to achieve the opposite.”

 

 

 

Id

. at *18,

 

quoting Allen v. Wright

 

 

 

, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984). The court concluded that: “This is not

to demean the sincerity of Hollander’s challenge to McCain’s eligibility for the

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 7 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

6

presidency; . . . What is settled, however, is that an individual voter like Hollander lacks

standing to raise that challenge in the federal courts.”

 

 

 

Id

. at *21.

 

Like the plaintiffs in

 

 

 

Jones and Hollander

, Mr. Berg manifestly lacks standing to

assert his claim regarding the eligibility of Senator Obama to serve as President.

Accordingly, this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction over that claim.

 

 

C. The Complaint Fails to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can be

Granted

In any event, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted

because it fails to establish a cause of action. Mr. Berg cites the Declaratory Judgment

Act, 28 U.S.C. §2201, Cmplt. ¶8, but that Act “has only a procedural effect. Although it

enlarges the range of remedies available in federal courts, it does not create subject

matter jurisdiction. Thus, a court must find an independent basis for jurisdiction . . . .”

 

Mack Trucks, Inc., v. Int’l Union, UAW

 

 

 

, 856 F.2d 579, 583 (3d Cir. 1988). Mr. Berg also

claims that the case “presents a federal question within this Court’s jurisdiction under

Article II of the Constitution.” Cmplt. ¶7. There is no federal cause of action under or

created by Article II of the Constitution, however.

 

 

 

See, e.g., Catholic Charities CYO v.

 

Chertoff

 

 

 

, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62732 (N.D. Cal. 2007).

For these reasons, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be

granted.

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 8 of 11

 

DMEAST #10118497 v3

 

 

 

7

CONCLUSION

For the reasons set forth above, defendants Democratic National Committee and

Senator Obama’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure

to state a claim should be granted.

Respectfully submitted,

Dated: September 24, 2008 /s/ John P. Lavelle, Jr.

John P. Lavelle, Jr.

Attorney I.D. PA 54279

BALLARD SPAHR ANDREWS &

INGERSOLL, LLP

1735 Market Street, 51st Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 864-8603

(215) 864-9125 (Fax)

lavellej@ballardspahr.com

Of Counsel:

Joseph E. Sandler

SANDLER REIFF & YOUNG PC

300 M Street, S.E. Suite 1102

Washington, D.C. 20003

Telephone: (202) 479-1111

Fax: (202) 479-1115

sandler@sandlerreiff.com

Robert F. Bauer

General Counsel, Obama for America

PERKINS COIE

607 Fourteenth Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20005-2003

Telephone: 202.628.6600

Facsimile: 202.434.1690

RBauer@perkinscoie.com

Attorneys for Defendants

Senator Barack Obama and the

Democratic National Committee

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 9 of 11

DMEAST #10118497 v3

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 

I hereby certify that on this day, a true and correct copy of the foregoing

 

 

 

Defendant

Democratic National Committee’s and Defendant Senator Barack Obama’s Motion to

Dismiss

 

 

 

was served by First Class U.S. Mail, postage prepaid, upon the following:

Philip J. Berg, Esquire

555 Andorra Glen Court, Suite 12

Lafayette Hill, PA 09867

Plaintiff

Dated: September 24, 2008 /s/ John P. Lavelle, Jr.

John P. Lavelle, Jr.

 

 

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 10 of 11

DMEAST #10118497 v3

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

PHILIP J. BERG, :

:

Plaintiff :

:

v. : Civil Action No. 2:08-cv-04083-RBS

:

BARACK OBAMA, et al., :

:

Defendants :

:

ORDER

AND NOW, this ______ day of _______________, 2008, upon consideration of

Defendant Democratic National Committee’s and Defendant Senator Barack Obama’s

Motion to Dismiss, it is hereby ORDERED that said Motion is GRANTED.

J.

Case 2:08-cv-04083-RBS Document 12 Filed 09/24/2008 Page 11 of 11
 

 

About these ads

10 responses to “Philip J Berg lawsuit, Obama files motion to dismiss, DNC motion to dismiss, September 24, 2008

  1. So what happens next? When does the court decide and what about the suits demands for proof ie Birthcirtificate?

    Grrr! Why can’t he just show the proof!

    CQ

  2. Obama has no proof or is a total idiot or both.
    Mr. Berg has some options we will find out about soon enough.
    The judge may not dismiss it.

  3. “Come on your Honor, Please don’t do this to me.” That’s what I read.

  4. Interested Bystander

    I agree with CW, Obama is in a pickle. Even though the court dismissed McCain’s suit, it is a different ballgame all together. BOTH of McCain’s parents were American Citizens.

    Obama can not make this claim.

    It occurs to me that Obama could have squashed this today, by showing his birth certificate, and proof that he has denounced his Indonesian, and Kenyan citizenship.

    Over and done with.

    Since this didn’t happen, it only raises more suspicion.

    Pitiful, this man is totally pitiful.

  5. Just curious. How long does it usually take for a judge to grant a dismissal?

  6. Obama you are busted! If you had a valid birth certificate to show, this would have been the ideal time!

  7. He should have to prove his citizenship.

  8. cnn, cnbc, headline new, rush limba, abc
    dont really care do they?
    NO REPORTS AT ALL
    allmost like they want the USA TO GO DOWN THE TUBE.

  9. Have you seen the following treatise from the Michigan law review?

    http://www.michiganlawreview.org/firstimpressions/vol107/tokaji.pdf

    It seems to be suggesting that actions filed in state courts would fare better than those in federal courts.

  10. Pingback: Robert Bauer et al illegally scheme with Obama, Attorney ethics, Rules of Professional Conduct, Criminal or fraudulent conduct | Citizen WElls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s