Earlier this week, I wrote a post in which I opined that assuming LTC Lakin is both sincere and intelligent (which I do), “then it seems to me one of two things must be true:  (1) he thinks that his court-martial will compel the release of some or all of the documents concerning President Obama that LTC Lakin would like to see; or (2) he knows there isn’t any realistic chance that he’ll obtain the documents he seeks and he wants to martyr himself for his cause . . . .”

It occurred to me this morning that there’s at least one additional possibility:  LTC Lakin assumed the Army would back down.

Remember the case of MAJ Stefan Frederick Cook, the Army Special Forces Reservist who challenged President Obama’s eligibility? (MAJ Cook was represented by Orly Taitz.)  When his gaining command in Afghanistan heard what he was up to, the gaining command essentially said, “We don’t want him anymore,” which had the effect of mooting the case.  Following the revocation of Cook’s orders, Judge Clay Land of the United States District Court for the Middle District of  Georgia dismissed Cook’s suit on 16 July 2009 because it no longer met Article III’s “cases and controversies” requirement.  (Of course, Judge Land would have a later encounter with Orly Taitz in the case of Rhodes v. MacDonaldSee, e.g., Rhodes v. MacDonald, 670 F. Supp. 2d 1363 (M.D. Ga. 2009) (imposing sanctions on Ms. Taitz), aff’d, No. 09-15418 (11th Cir. Mar. 15, 2010).)

Following the Cook case’s dismissal, some of the birthers argued that the Obama Administration had arranged the orders’ cancellation because it was so afraid of the suit.  At the time, I thought it was mere posturing.  But maybe they–or at least some birthers–actually believe it.  Maybe LTC Lakin assumed that the Obama Administration would be so afraid of the prospect of discovery that it wouldn’t dare actually let the Army court-martial him.  I’m not suggesting that’s what LTC Lakin actually thought.  But it is a possibility.  So I was overly narrow in my previous post when I suggested that a sincere and intelligent LTC Lakin could believe only one of two things.  A third thing he could believe is that he would never actually be court-martialed.  But if so, I think he’s wrong.

27 Responses to “Thinking about the Lakin case, Part Deux”

  1. An says:

    I think it’s a reasonable possibility; it seems like in 90% of high profile cases the military opts for discharge/separation before going to the mat on these guys. It would be refreshing to see someone actually get punished for an Art 87 violation, esp. an officer.

  2. Phil Cave says:

    And he and others need to be taught that politics and military service don’t mix.

  3. BigGuy says:

    I doubt very much that possibility 3 is what’s happening. As much as the birthers like to claim Cook v. Good as a victory, it accomplished nothing for their cause — and, furthermore, Lakin ought to understand that Cook as a reservist volunteering for the tour was in a very different position.

    No, it seems to me that LTC Lakin is just a very stupid man. Stupid to think he’s done anything here but refuse to follow orders, stupid to think there will be any kind of eligibility issues explored, stupid to think Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii.

  4. Patrick McKinnion says:

    Not only do some of the birthers believe it, but Dr. Orly Taitz sent out press releases and called it a victory. (She’s now claiming that the only reason she got sanctioned and they didn’t cancel Captain Rhodes orders was sexism. Which ignores the fact that Captain Rhodes fired Taitz, disavowed the whole thing, reported for duty, and deployed to Iraq. Which puts her one up on Lakin)

  5. Late Bloomer says:

    I think that scenario #2 (the “martyr” scenario) is probably closest to the mark. Although I don’t think LTC Lakin is attempting to “martyr” himself per se, I do think he is doing this on pure principle, i.e. to prove that he is willing to sacrifice his financial and perhaps even his liberty interests in order to demonstrate his resolve.

    My theory is based primarily on my assumption that LTC Lakin knows that one of two outcomes are possible: (1)the documents will be disclosed to his/the birthers’ satisfaction; or (2) they won’t be disclosed. However, surely LTC Lakin (and his counsel) knew from the outset that neither outcome constitutes a complete defense to Article 86. And even if the documents were disclosed, doesn’t he run the risk that President Obama is legit? I’m no actuary, but the probability of the docs being disclosed, only to reveal that the CinC is ineligible for office, has to be slim. And even if outcome (2) (no disclosure) occurs, I still don’t think it’s a defense to Art. 86. Are we really to believe that an O-5 is betting the farm on a 25% probability of success?

    Therefore, I surmise that LTC Lakin does not really care if the CinC discloses his birth records. This is because he has already concluded that the CinC is ineligible. If he honestly thought that Obama was a natural-born U.S. citizen, I don’t think he’d be doing this, regardless of whether or not the docs had been disclosed. I conclude that LTC Lakin must be so sincerely and genuinely dissatisfied with his CinC that, when presented with an opportunity to voice his dissatisfaction in spectacular fashion, he went for it.

  6. anon says:

    Agree. He does not care. He is looking for publicity for his bat guanno cause.

  7. AF Lurker says:

    There is a fourth possibility (or perhaps a “litigation multiplier” factor): Over-reliance on his attorney’s rosy forecast. It would not be the first time a gullible soul has surrendered to a sales pitch, and somehow I don’t think the $500K web fundraiser will go solely to pay expensive court-martial filing fees. (Cue the “Ask about our half price special” banner I once saw an NCO sneak out during Apr 1 legal assistance hours.) We’ve seen this drama before, whether suicide bombing recruiters or subprime loan peddlers; I’m saddened it’s now broached counsel’s chambers, and deeply saddened the good LTC hasn’t realized he’s being fleeced.

  8. Norbrook says:

    I think it’s a combination of 2 and 3. While he may sincerely believe in his “cause,” and be willing to martyr himself for it, he may also have believed that the Army wouldn’t court martial him.

    President Obama has already shown, during the campaign, his COLB bearing the seal of the State of Hawaii to independent experts. The person responsible for the records in Hawaii that were used to generate said official document has attested to their veracity.

    Even if, in his wonderful fantasy trial, the judge were to require the President to provide proof of natural born citizenship, and subpoena Dr. Fukino to the stand, that would be the same thing. One official COLB with seal, valid in any court in the country, showing he was born in Hawaii, and attested to that it’s a valid COLB. Case closed, the President is eligible, LTC Lakin’s going to jail.

    Which is why this is one of the stupidest moves LTC Lakin could have made. Even if they get what they want, they lose. The issue of the President’s eligibility is not going to allowed for discovery, because the case is going to be decided on a very simple question: Did LTC Lakin disobey orders from a direct superior?

    That’s why I believe that, while he may be willing to martyr himself, he didn’t really think it would happen. He may have assumed the Army would rescind his orders, and shuffle him out the door rather than court-martial him. If he’d had competent legal advice (which he was directed to seek), he have never gone this route.

  9. Late Bloomer says:

    Upon further review, I am even more perplexed by the possibility that the docs are disclosed and they reveal that the CinC is legit. If that occurs, I don’t think LTC Lakin/birthers are satisfied. I really think this is about making a political statement. If that is the case, I don’t like it one bit. Either way, I think the more appropriate way to voice his concern would be to resign (i.e. put the money where the mouth is).

  10. DC Steve says:

    Norbrook, don’t know why I didn’t consider it before, but you are absolutely right. Even if they get the COLB, it will still be an authenticated copy under the MREs.

    This entire event was planned, deliberated, and literally scripted.

    Assuming his attorney’s claims about his court room experience are true, then he must have anticipated this. The attorney must know that this is hopeless.

    Which leaves two options: One the attorney is misleading his client; or two, Lakin is fully informed but doesn’t care.

  11. ret1sgt says:

    Interesting to follow as I have been around both sides as both a participant and an initiator of proceedings as a “consumer” of services.

    As part of the Medical Department, I was just floored at the lack of common sense displayed by him.

  12. Norbrook says:

    They won’t be satisfied, and that’s a given. There’s been a lot of discussion over at the Native and Natural Born Citizenship blog about the various cases, with a number of birthers making their claims. It turns out to be a classic case of moving of the goalposts or “no true Scotsman” fallacy. No matter what evidence is shown, they’ll always come up with one more reason that it isn’t sufficient, and demand one more “proof.” No matter what actual evidence exists, no matter how many experts attest to it, no matter how many legal precedents there are, and no matter what the Constitution actually says, it’ll never be enough to satisfy them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    He’s looking for a few of gains here. Selfish gains. First, he doesn’t want to deploy and this seemed like an easy way out. Second, he wants to be a hero to the guano-crazy birthers, oath keepers, and all the rest of those anti-Obama types. Third, he’s looking for a book deal.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Of course they won’t be satisfied if they get the docs and the docs are exactly what they demand they be. They’ve already settled on their definition of natural born citizen in other posts, and since CINC’s father was born in Kenya, he cannot be CINC. The docs are therefore irrelevant for another reason – even if they are disclosed, that won’t satisfy them that the president is eligible to be CINC and they’ll argue the definition of nbc, hoping to convince the MJ. I imagine Lakin’s “defense” team is pouring over these posts to see if they can come up with a credible argument to defend this poor misguided fool.

  15. soonergrunt says:

    Really replying to Anon 133 and Norbrook, this thread–
    The reason they will never go for it is quite simple and prosaic. They don’t like the fact that a Democrat is President. Think back on all the craziness of the 90s and the claims of literally dozens of people that the Clintons supposedly had killed and thousands of tons of drugs imported into the country and so on.
    The birther angle is new because it’s a polite way to do what they’re dying to do and can’t–jump up and down shouting “Ni***r! ni***r! ni***!”
    I’m surrounded by these people and I’m telling you all that if his name were Barry O’Bannon and his dad was from County Cork we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  16. Anonymous says:

    funny you say that since some of his ancestry is actually Irish!

  17. CDR Kerchner says:

    Concerned Americans Have Good Reason to Doubt that Putative President Obama Was Born in Hawaii.


  18. Dwight Sullivan says:

    CDR Kerchner,

    I see that you’re a retired Commander in the United States Naval Reserve. Let me ask you once again the questions that you never answered in an earlier chain: Is it your position that today, any member of the U.S. military anywhere in the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, is free to simply walk away from his or her place of duty with no repercussions? The next time a U.S. Navy ship pulls into a foreign port, are all of the members of its crew free to walk off the ship without fear of any legal repercussions? In your view, is it illegal for members of the U.S. military to follow any orders given to them? Does each member of the U.S. military have complete discretion to decide which orders to obey and which to disobey?

  19. Anonymous says:

    CDR KKK (ret.) (or is it retarded?) won’t respond to these questions. He’s only good for posting a link to someone else’s arguments. For him to have reached CDR, he must have some traces of logic left in his little brain and must realize that his position only leads to an affirmative answer to the questions you ask of him. He doesn’t care about logic or the law. His only interest is to not have a black man in the white house.

  20. funnyhaha71 says:

    I think that you are correct; Lakin is relying on poor civil counsel. Lakin’s spokeswoman is Margaret Hemenway, who is the daughter-in-law of John Hemenway, one of the lawyers that works/worked with Phil Berg. Margaret Hemenway has been a vocal birther for many, many months.

    I also agree with Dwight.

    Dwight said: “Maybe LTC Lakin assumed that the Obama Administration would be so afraid of the prospect of discovery that it wouldn’t dare actually let the Army court-martial him. I’m not suggesting that’s what LTC Lakin actually thought. But it is a possibility. ….. A third thing he could believe is that he would never actually be court-martialed. But if so, I think he’s wrong.”

    I think that Lakin was convinced by several birther lawyers that he wouldn’t be court-martialed for this stunt. The military backed off on Cook and on Rhodes. It is certainly possible that Rhodes was subject to discipline for her actions in her case against Obama. But unless Rhodes eventually shares any details about that, we will never know if she was disciplined for her actions. That said, how anyone could assume that the military would treat Lakin the same way they treated Cook and Rhodes is foolish. Perhaps Lakin’s puppet-masters are trying to prove that Obama truly is hiding his “sealed” documents. But Lakin should be smart enough to know better. The man is highly educated and has been a career military officer for years. I guess he feels the need to take a stand against Obama. The other military members that have filed against Obama certainly got the birther agenda back in the press.

    Lakin wants to make a stand, and he is under the impression that birthers care what happens to him. No one will care about him after he is court-martialed. The birthers will bemoan the fact that Obama has again “hidden” his records, will lament that the military is being unfair to Lakin and then they will move on without giving Lakin a passing glance. They will move on to the next silly stunt by another birther. Lakin will be utterly abandoned. I hope he isn’t surprised when this occurs.

    It would be interesting to know if Lakin has been in contact with Scott Easterling. Easterling was one of Orly’s clients for a short period of time, but he disappeared from birtherstan shortly after his name and intentions became known. Orly did write a quo warranto for Easterling, but it was either not filed or not accepted by the courts. I don’t think that anyone knows what happened to Easterling.




  21. Norbrook says:

    This is probably not Kerchner, but Appuzo the lawyer. He got raked over the coals over at the NBC Blog when he tried to run his legal “arguments” out over there. Had a real problem with misquoting source material and missing numerous precedents.

  22. funnyhaha71 says:

    “This is probably not Kerchner, but Appuzo the lawyer. He got raked over the coals over at the NBC Blog when he tried to run his legal “arguments” out over there. Had a real problem with misquoting source material and missing numerous precedents.”

    Tell me it isn’t so. A birther misrepresenting legal decisions and misquoting sources? No, you must be pulling my leg!!

  23. Southern Defense Counsel says:

    CDR K will not answer Col Sullivan’s question because the military has shown (Hennis) that they have no problem with bringing a retiree back on trial in a capital case. Because, if CDR K were to agree that all officers have not only the right, but the OBLIGATION, to disobey orders until the CinC proves his legitimacy, and CDR K were to advocate such a position, CDR K is guilty of sedition. Of course, given the unlawful order doctrine, if Lakin is right all officers have that obligation… Bad ju-ju. It seems CDR K is willing to justify LTC Lakin’s jump off the cliff but won’t do so himself. Probably a wise choice.

  24. Nancy Truax says:

    That earlier Barry O’Bannon comment got me thinking…

    I was born in Massachusetts. My father was born in New Jersey. His father was born in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, in 1891; at the time of his birth and his emigration to the U.S. in 1911 my grandfather was a British citizen (he later became a U.S. citizen, but I don’t know when).

    So, assuming my old granddad did not become a U.S. citizen until after my pop was born, under the guano-crazy-both-parents-must-be-U.S.-citizens theory my father could not be President. Which is probably a good thing.

    But what about me?

    Upon the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Irish Constitution granted citizenship to all Irish domiciliaries then living unless that person was a citizen of another state *and* elected not to accept Irish citizenship. The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1956 made every person born in Ireland — whether they were alive or dead at the time of its passage — an Irish citizen from the time of their birth, and provides for citizenship by descent through the third generation.

    But it’s not automatic. To obtain Irish citizenship by descent, the foreign-born child or grandchild of an Irish citizen (anyone born in Ireland who never renounced his or her Irish citizenship through a “Declaration of Alienage”) must apply to be listed on the Register of Foreign Births, and provide sufficient documentation to prove the descent (and probably pay a fee).

    Under any of the various guano-crazy birther theories, would my mere *eligibility* for citizenship in another state make me constitutionally ineligible to be President? What if I applied for registry on the Irish Register of Foreign Births and actually became an Irish citizen? Would I somehow lose my status as a natural born citizen?

    I’m just wondering whether, after 17 July 1956, the U.S.-born grandchild of any Irish citizen would be ineligible. Not that I’m thinking of running.

  25. Nancy Truax says:

    I guess I should amend that last bit to ask whether, after 17 July 1956, under any of the guano-crazy birther theories, the U.S.-born grandchild of any Irish citizen would be ineligible.

  26. Southern Defense Counsel says:


    Perhaps you just hit the next meme of this inanity. Perhaps our president’s name is Barack O’Bama.

  27. ret1sgt says:

    Yeah, Yeah, blame it on the Irish… ;-)