December 22, 2011
WILEY S. DRAKE; MARKHAM ROBINSON, PLAINTIFFS - APPELLANTS, AND AMBASSADOR ALAN KEYES, PH.D.; CAPTAIN PAMELA BARNETT; LIEUTENANT COLONEL RICHARD NORTON BAUERBACH; CAPTAIN ROBIN D. BIRON; COLONEL JOHN D. BLAIR; MR. DAVID L. BOSLEY; MS. LORETTA G. BOSLEY; CAPTAIN HARRY G. BUTLER; REPRESENTATIVE GLENN CASADA, TENNESSEE; JENNIFER LEAH CLARK; REPRESENTATIVE TIMOTHY COMERFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE; CHARLES CRUSEMIRE; REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA DAVIS, MISSOURI; CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER THOMAS S. DAVIDSON; MATTHEW MICHAEL EDWARDS; LIEUTENANT JASON FREESE; MR. KURT C. FUQUA; OFFICER CLINT GRIMES; JULLIETT IRELAND; D. ANDREW JOHNSON; ISRAEL D. JONES; STATE REPRESENTATIVE TIMOTHY JONES, ESQ., MISSOURI; COMMANDER DAVID FULLMER LAROQUE; GAIL LIGHTFOOT; MIL OFFICER LITA M. LOTT, U.S. ARMY; MAJOR DAVID GRANT MOSBY; MSGT STEVEN KAY NEUENSCHWANDER; STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK NICELEY, TENNESSEE; RETIRED SENATOR JERRY O'NEIL, MONTANA; SFC E7 ROBERT LEE PERRY; COLONEL HARRY RILEY; SERGEANT JEFFREY WAYNE ROSNER; MSGT JEFFREY SCHWILK; CAPTAIN DAVID SMITHEY; LIEUTENANT COMMANDER JOHN BRUCE STEIDEL; COMMANDER DOUGLAS EARL STOEPPELWERTH; THOMAS J. TAYLOR; REPRESENTATIVE ERIC SWAFFORD, TENNESSEE; CAPTAIN NEIL B. TURNER; RICHARD E. VENABLE; LCDR JEFF GRAHAM WINTHROPE; LIEUTENANT COLONEL MARK WRIGGLE, PLAINTIFFS,
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA; MICHELLE L.R. OBAMA; HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE; ROBERT M. GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE; JOSEPH R. BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, DEFENDANTS - APPELLEES. PAMELA BARNETT, CAPTAIN; ALAN KEYES, PH.D., AMBASSADOR; RICHARD NORTON BAUERBACH, LIEUTENANT COLONEL; ROBIN D. BIRON, CAPTAIN; JOHN D. BLAIR, COLONEL; DAVID L. BOSLEY, LT. COL.; LORETTA G. BOSLEY; HARRY G. BUTLER, CAPTAIN; GLENN CASADA, REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE; JENNIFER LEAH CLARK; TIMOTHY COMERFORD, REPRESENTATIVE, NEW HAMPSHIRE; CHARLES CRUSEMIRE; CYNTHIA DAVIS, REPRESENTATIVE, MISSOURI; THOMAS S. DAVIDSON, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER; MATTHEW MICHAEL EDWARDS; JASON FREESE, LIEUTENANT; KURT C. FUQUA, MR.; CLINT GRIMES, OFFICER; JULLIETT IRELAND; D. ANDREW JOHNSON; ISRAEL D. JONES; TIMOTHY JONES, STATE REPRESENTATIVE; DAVID FULLMER LAROQUE, COMMANDER; GAIL LIGHTFOOT; LITA M. LOTT, MIL OFFICER, U.S. ARMY; DAVID GRANT MOSBY, MAJOR; STEVEN KAY NEUENSCHWANDER, MSGT; FRANK NICELEY, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE; ROBERT LEE PERRY, SFC E7; HARRY RILEY, COLONEL; JEFFREY WAYNE ROSNER, SERGEANT; DAVID SMITHEY, CAPTAIN; JOHN BRUCE STEIDEL, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER; DOUGLAS EARL STOEPPELWERTH, COMMANDER; ERIC SWAFFORD, REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE; NEIL B. TURNER, CAPTAIN; RICHARD E. VENABLE; JEFF GRAHAM WINTHROPE, LCDR; MARK WRIGGLE, LIEUTENANT COLONEL, PLAINTIFFS - APPELLANTS,
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA; MICHELLE L.R. OBAMA; HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE; ROBERT M. GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE; JOSEPH R. BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, DEFENDANTS - APPELLEES.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California David O. Carter, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 8:09-cv-00082-DOC-AN, D.C. No. 8:09-cv-00082-DOC-AN
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pregerson, Circuit Judge
Argued and Submitted May 2, 2011 Pasadena, California
Before: PREGERSON, FISHER, and BERZON, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge PREGERSON, Circuit Judge:
Plaintiffs-Appellants contend that Barack Obama is constitutionally ineligible to be President of the United States. United States District Court Judge David O. Carter dismissed Plaintiffs' constitutional claims, as well as their claims for declaratory and injunctive relief, for lack of standing. We affirm the dismissal for lack of standing, albeit on somewhat different reasoning than that of the District Court.
Plaintiffs additionally appeal the District Court's dismissal of their quo warrantor claims for improper venue; their Freedom of Information Act claims for failure to state a claim; and their Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claims against defendants First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, for failure to state a claim. We affirm.
Plaintiffs filed their lawsuit on January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was sworn in and took office as President of the United States. The Plaintiffs are *fn1 active, inactive, or retired military personnel; state political representatives; private individuals, including federal taxpayers and at least one individual who claims to be a relative of Barack Obama; and political candidates during the 2008 general election.
The Defendants include President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Plaintiffs claim that President Obama is ineligible for the presidency under Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, which states that "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President." U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 4. *fn2
For ease of analysis, the District Court divided the plaintiffs into six categories: (1) active military personnel; (2) former military personnel; (3) state representatives; (4) federal taxpayers; (5) relatives of President Obama; and (6) political candidates in the 2008 election. The District Court concluded that the plaintiffs in the first five categories lacked standing, because they failed to show an injury-in-fact or showed only a generalized grievance insufficient to establish standing.
The District Court assumed, without deciding, that plaintiffs who were political candidates in the 2008 election could potentially show an injury-in-fact based on their claim that they were denied a fair competition during the election because they had to compete with someone who was ineligible to be President. But the District Court concluded that neither they nor any other plaintiffs could satisfy the redressability requirement of standing, because the remedy they sought-a determination that President Obama is ineligible to be President and, therefore, his removal from office-would be beyond the power of the federal courts to grant, and implicates the political question doctrine and separation of powers.
Concluding that no plaintiff had standing to sue, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs' declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and constitutional claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.The District Court further dismissed Plaintiffs' quo warrantor claims for improper venue, concluding that the proper forum is the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Plaintiffs' FOIA claims were dismissed for failure to state a claim because none of the Defendants is an agency; and their RICO claims, which were never filed, were dismissed for failure to state a claim.
We have jurisdiction to review the District Court's final decision pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review a district court's dismissal of an action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction de novo and may affirm on any basis supported by the record. Zuress v. Donley, 606 F.3d 1249, 1252 (9th Cir. 2010). "A district court's findings of fact relevant to its determination of subject matter jurisdiction are reviewed for clear error." Robinson v. United States,586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir. 2009). With regard to such jurisdictional questions, "[n]o presumptive truthfulness attaches to plaintiff's allegations. Once ...
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