Renewed Debate Over Obama's Birth Certificate

Rumors questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship have been circulating since the first part of 2008, when opponents of the Democratic nominee -- including many supporters of Democratic primary candidate and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- floated rumors that Obama did not meet the citizenship requirements to become president of the United States as set forth in the Constitution.

These opponents claim Obama is ineligible because he was -- they allege -- not born in the United States.

Various theories of where President Obama's birth may have occurred have failed to produce any documentation that suggests he was born overseas. An alleged Kenyan birth figures prominently in one popular theory; a lesser known theory places his birth in Vancouver, British Columbia. Another theory accepts that he was born in Hawaii as a natural born citizen, but then argues that the Indonesian citizenship he gained as a child after moving to be with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia stripped him of his U.S. citizenship because Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship (Indonesian law regarding dual citizenship is irrelevant in the United States).

Last week, a lawsuit filed by a U.S. Army Reserve major questioning Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president gained notoriety for several days when the Army canceled his deployment, prompting his attorney to declare victory in the case. The "victory" was short-lived.

The legal case was subsequently dismissed as the result of his deployment being canceled, and the plaintiff who brought the suit, Major Stefan Frederick Cook, was allegedly terminated from his job at a defense contractor in retaliation for bringing the suit.

If you think that Cook's dismissal and termination will quell those questioning Barack Obama's citizenship, however, you haven't been paying attention.

Orly Taitz, Cook's lawyer, has already filed another case and added two more plaintiffs (one of which is disputing his involvement) and has at her disposal claims from an immigration lawyer in Hawaii that have been floating around in various forms in the backwaters of the internet previously, but that so far have not seen widespread notice.

The contention is that Barack Obama could indeed have obtained an "official birth certificate" in Hawaii under laws applicable at the time of his birth in 1961, but that not all original birth certificates in the new state were created equal. There were four ways to obtain an official birth certificate under laws passed in 1955 and active in the 1960s, and three of the four ways this document could be obtained may not have required enough proof to satisfactorily prove President Obama is a natural born citizen.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. But it does make for a fascinating read.