Drake v. Obama

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 12-22-2011
  • Case #: 09-56827
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Pregerson for the Court; Circuit Jugdes Fisher and Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

In order for candidates to have competitive standing (standing based on the "inclusion of a disqualified rival"), they must file a claim for relief before the election is over and the elected official is sworn in.

Plaintiffs are a group of current and former military personnel, state representatives, tax payers, and former 2008 presidential candidates. They filed suit seeking to remove President Obama from office based on a claim that he was not born in the United States as required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution. The district court granted summary judgment finding none of the plaintiffs had an injury-in-fact, and also because federal courts lack the power to redress this type of violation. The Ninth Circuit agreed, and found that all plaintiffs, excluding 2008 presidential candidates, lacked standing because their alleged injury was not "concrete and particularized" as required by Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife. Turning to the 2008 presidential candidates, the Court noted that it has recognized "competitive standing", but that the district court improperly ruled that plaintiff's claim failed only for a lack of being able to be redressed by courts. Instead, based on the fact that plaintiffs filed their complaint after President Obama was sworn into office, the Court ruled that "Plaintiffs competitive interest in running against a qualified candidate had lapsed" and they no longer held competitive standing. AFFIRMED.

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