The Supreme Court has upheld a $20,000 fine a lower court judge levied against Orly Taitz, the Soviet Jewish émigré lawyer-dentist who has been at the forefront of the so-called “birther” movement, as punishment for filing lawsuits based on claims that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore not qualified to serve as president.
Specifically, the order came from Justice Samuel Alito—one of the Court’s six Catholics and four staunch conservatives—after Taitz asked for a review of an identical order issued by Justice Clarence Thomas, on the grounds that she thought she’d read in a book co-authored by Justice Antonin Scalia that fewer than one percent of case filings actually get read, except in Alito’s chambers, where everything gets reviewed by a clerk. “I don’t believe the Justices read a word of the pleadings,” Taitz said. Oh, and also, Alito didn’t attend a meeting with Obama before his inauguration, which makes him the only justice whose word she’ll accept. “That’s a clear conflict of interest, that’s lack of impartiality, and Alito was the only justice who didn’t attend this meeting,” Taitz went on.
You’d think that means Alito’s order would be the end of it, but Orly Taitz is not a woman who takes no for an answer, if she can help it. This is a woman who managed to get herself from Moldova to Southern California, via Israel, where she’s built what appears to be a reasonably successful dental practice and sent her children off for Ivy League educations. She’s a woman who decided to run for Secretary of State of California, as a Republican, after the current Democratic officeholder failed to de-certify Obama’s candidacy; she lost, but 368,000 Californians voted for her. She’s someone who has stuck with the birther cause even after her old ally Lou Dobbs tired of the trope, filing lawsuits on behalf of military officers who insist they cannot be deployed to Iraq because Obama is an illegitimate commander-in-chief. And now she’s managed to get herself hearing with not one but two Supreme Court justices, and she is probably not going to rest until she sees a piece of paper with Alito’s signature on it. Which means, in the end, that Orly Taitz is sort of an American hero: she proves that the system, flawed as it may be, actually does work.