Obama "Birthers" slapped around by federal judge

In an opinion that features unusually scathing language, a judge dismissed a lawsuit about the president's birth and eligibility for his job.

Published March 6, 2009 10:00PM (EST)

Finally, a judge has given the "Birthers" -- the people who argue that President Obama is not eligible for the presidency -- the spanking they so sorely deserve.

In his opinion dismissing one lawsuit filed on behalf of a retired Air Force officer who argued he needed to see even more proof that Obama was born in the United States, U.S. District Judge James Robertson wrote:

This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do. Even in its relatively short life the case has excited the blogosphere and the conspiracy theorists. The right thing to do is to bring it to an early end.

Robertson also wrote dismissively -- even angrily -- about Philip Berg, the man pulling the strings behind this lawsuit. Berg, who's also a 9/11 "Truther," has been at the forefront of the Birther movement and has advanced various nutty theories about Obama's birth and citizenship. In his opinion, Robertson notes that imposing civil penalties against Berg would only provide him fodder for his crusade, but does threaten such penalties against a local lawyer Berg brought in to help with this case.

As the judge noted, and as I wrote in an article examining the psychology of this conspiracy theory specifically and conspiracy theories generally, even an opinion like this is, unfortunately, unlikely to bring an end to this particular madness.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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