More than a year into President Obama’s administration, there are people out there who continue to say he’s not eligible to sit in the Oval Office by reason of the fact that he’s not an American citizen. They pin this entire notion on the idea that he wasn’t born here in the States and continue to seek proof of this by going after the birth records in the state of Hawaii.
Now, I understand that we should make sure that people running for office are in compliance with the law – and, in this case, the Constitution – and I don’t generally have an issue with asking to see the documentation of that compliance. Senators have to be residents of the states they intend to represent and no one would blink at someone confirming the residency requirement by checking out land records. I have, in the past, written about this matter and I do continue to believe that swiftest, surest method of killing this conspiracy theory “dead-in-its-tracks” dead would be for Obama to produce the birth certificate. Which, as I understand it, he’s done. Note that many of the right’s leading lights – virtually all of the Republican leadership, virtually all of the right’s national punditry, conservative community leaders such as Eric Erickson of RedState – have vocally denounced the “birther” movement.
That hasn’t stopped some people from continuing to demand more/better documentation. Apparently, Hawaii continues to receive requests for the birth certificate and, in accordance with the law, they respond as they must. I have some experience with requesting vital records from state agencies as I’ve been involved in genealogical research for nearly 2 decades. Most of my requests have been for people long dead. Literally every state in the Union has laws in place that deny access to the vital records of any living person by anyone except a family member, and it better be an immediate family member at that. Simply put, no citizen of the United States has any reasonable expectation of access to the vital records of another, unrelated citizen. (Law enforcement professionals excepted under very specific circumstances.) To think that one should be given such a document just by asking shows a real ignorance of the laws and, frankly, a real arrogance. To make matters worse, some of these people are sending multiple requests for the same information, again and again, even after they’ve been told, “no.”
Well, members of Hawaii’s legislature are proposing a law that would be able to classify someone as a “vexatious requester” for making the same demands after being given an official response already. Such individuals would then be 1) ignored completely for the purposes of responding to the specific request and 2) have their rights to government records restricted for 2 years.
Understandable, but a bit too heavy, I think. While such a person should still be allowed to make records requests on other matters, I do believe that once a person’s request for information has been answered – in the affirmative or the negative – the state should then be allowed to simply respond to a 2nd request with a “we already answered that” note. Further requests should be simply ignored. If the person in question wants to keep after it, they need to use a different approach, such as filing a lawsuit if they feel they have a case.
Simply put, I think the proposed law is a bit too much but I support them changing their laws to disallow people from nagging the state over this.