Birthers 0-for-3 in knocking Obama off PA primary ballot

Pennsylvania "birthers" are 0-for-3 in their efforts to knock President Obama off the April 24 Democratic primary election ballot after a ruling in Commonwealth Court today. 

Philip Berg, a Lafayette Hills attorney who previously has tried to take his claims about Obama's citizenship to the U.S. Supreme Court, had his ballot challenge rejected yesterday by the Commonwealth Court at the request of attorney John Lavelle Jr., the Pennsylvania counsel for Obama for America.

The court, in a two-page order, said ballot challenges can be based on the authenticity of signatures on nominating petitions, the affidavits of the people who circulated those petitions or the affidavits filed by candidates about their financial interests. 

"The sole basis for the objection is [Berg's] contention that President Obama is not a 'natural born citizen' eligible for the Office of President of the United States under the United States Constitution," the ruling said, adding that Commonwealth Court does not have the jurisdiction to rule on Berg's claims about Obama's citizenship.

Berg called the ruling "unconscionable" and said he was considering an appeal, either to the state Supreme Court or another try in federal court. 

"As far as I'm concerned, he's a phony, he's a fraud, he's an impostor and this is the biggest fraud perpetrated on the country in history," said Berg, repeating his claim that Obama was born in Kenya.

The U.S. Supreme Court in December 2008 refused to hear Berg's lawsuit challenging Obama's right to hold the office of President.  The court also did not take up Berg's efforts to delay the 2008 general election, the January 2009 official count of the votes by the presidential electors and Obama's inauguration that month.

Obama released his short-form birth certificate from Hawaii during his 2008 presidential campaign and the White House in April 2011 released his long-form birth certificate from that state.  State officials in Hawaii have vouched for their authenticity.

Commonwealth Court, also citing a lack of jurisdiction, dismissed on March 2 a similar challenge brought by two Lehigh Valley men.  The court, on the same day, dismissed a ballot challenge from former Congressional candidate James Schneller of Delaware County, ruling that he was a registered in independent and lacked standing to challenge a Democratic candidate in a primary.

Schneller on Monday filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court.