The Associated Press
Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, right, in a 2008 file photo with then-state Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa.
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
If Barack Obama wants to run for re-election he would need to produce proof of both his U.S. birth and citizenship to get on the ballot in Arizona, at least under a measure being pushed by a state legislator.
Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, is crafting a measure to require anyone running for president or vice president to provide proof to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office that they are legally eligible to seek the office. The U.S. Constitution requires the president – and, by extension, the vice president – to be “a natural born citizen.”
More to the point, Burges would require the secretary of state to verify, independently, that the information is accurate.
“And if it’s not certifiable, then that person’s name would not go on the ballot,” she said.
Burges told Capitol Media Services the measure is not necessarily about Obama, though she admitted she has her doubts that he was born in Hawaii as he claims and, even if so, that he can show he is a U.S. citizen.
“With what’s happening throughout the world, we need to make sure that our candidates are certifiable,” she said.
Burges did not support Obama and is not a fan. And she said if, in fact, he is not a “natural born” citizen, that makes him suspect.
“When someone bows to the king of Saudi Arabia and they apologize for our country around the world, I have a problem with that,” she said.
The kind of certification Burges wants, though, could be more difficult than simply checking for a valid birth certificate, as the arguments about his legal qualification go beyond whether he was actually born in Hawaii.
A lawsuit filed in federal court in Pennsylvania charged, among other theories, that Obama lost his U.S. citizenship when his mother married an Indonesian man and moved there, and that he failed to reclaim it as an adult. But Judge Barclay Surrick threw out the case without ruling on the legal theory, saying the plaintiff did not have standing to sue.
The U.S. Supreme Court eventually rejected the case.
Burges’ bill, if it becomes law, would put the secretary of state in the position of having to determine whether the individual circumstances of a candidate’s life disqualify him or her from being on the Arizona ballot.
The two-term lawmaker said her concerns remain about having a president whose citizenship – and, by her reckoning, loyalty – is not clear.
“We want to make sure that we have candidates that are going to stand up for the United States of America,” Burges said.
“This is my home. I want to leave my children a better country than I inherited. And the only way I can do that is what I can do as a state legislator.”
Burges said her suspicions about Obama go beyond that well-publicized bow in Saudi Arabia.
“Obama has a book and it said, when it came down to it, he would be on the Muslim side,” Burges continued. “Doesn’t that bother you just a little bit?”
The quote comes from Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” in which he writes about conversations with immigrant communities following the 2001 terrorist attacks, especially Arab and Pakistani Americans. Obama said they were fearful over detentions and FBI questioning and were concerned about the historical precedent.
“They need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction,” Obama wrote.