Calling her complaint “frivolous,” Judge Clay Land has denied Army Captain Connie Rhodes’ request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit her deployment to Iraq.  Captain Rhodes, a physician, alleged that she should not be required to deploy because of her misgivings about President Barack Obama’s qualifications to serve. 

Judge Land, a 2001 appointee of then-President George W. Bush, also dismissed CPT Rhodes’ complaint in its entirety.  The judge further required CPT Rhodes to pay the defendants’ costs (the lead defendant, Colonel MacDonald, was sued in his capacity as garrison commander at Fort Benning, Georgia).  The judge warned the captain’s attorney, noted “birther” movement lawyer Orly Taitz, that she faces sanction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 should she bring another such frivolous case.

The order can be found here: [PDF].

38 Responses to “U.S. District Court dismisses Rhodes v. MacDonald lawsuit”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a disgrace of an officer. Talk about service-discrediting conduct.

  2. Bill C says:

    I have practiced before Judge Land. She picked the wrong court to file in.

    Right wing nuts like her give right wing nuts like me a bad name.

  3. Bridget says:

    This made my day, how often can one laugh out loud about a court order?

  4. Christopher Mathews says:

    Ms. Taitz is, apparently, not amused: accusing Judge Land of “treason,” she says she will appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.

    I hope CPT Rhodes has deep pockets.

  5. Anonymous says:

    After going to Dr. Taitz website where she discussed this case and also had pictures of her and her clinet I am curious why CPT Rhodes elected to appear in Civilian clothes as opposed to uniforms… I think this is clearly a case of someone who just doesn’t want to go to the sandbox.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Judge Land is a better man than I. I can’t imagine I would have wasted one minute doing the writing/research that was done in his decision.

    I also would have gone ahead and slapped sanctions on her for a frivolous filing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know what are the implications for these military personnel who have filed these lawsuits. Are they liable for UCMJ or other disciplinary action?
    What about this Taitz character? She accused the judge of treason, but she was outside the court at the time. Can she be held in contempt or face bar procedings?

  8. Bill C says:

    Anon 1030: You raise two interesting issues. I doubt the service members face jeopardy for filing the suit, unless they make disparaging comments about the President. Ms/Dr. Tait is on thin ice. While the 1st Amendment may shield her, there are cases which say such speech is not protected.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t being a party to a suit that alleges that the President is not an American, is an illegal alien, and has been lying about his identity using dozens of fraudulent Social Security numbers amongst others choice bits considered making disparaging comments?

  10. Paul says:

    The birthers, the tea baggers, the screamers, and the deathers continued extreme minority presence will become tiresome to mainstream America, if it has not already done so. To all the birthers in La, La Land, it is on you to prove to all of us that your assertion is true, if there are people who were there and support your position then show us the video (everyone has a price), either put up or frankly shut-up. I heard Orly Taitz, is selling a tape (I think it’s called “Money, Lies and Video tape”). She is from Orange County, CA, now I know what the mean when they say “behind the Orange Curtain”, when they talk about Orange County, the captial of Conspiracy Theories. You know Obama has a passport, he travel abroad before he was a Senator, but I guess they were in on it. In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme religious right (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away the rights of those they just hate) and that’s who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, “We Ain’t Coming Out”. I heard that she now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC).

  11. Southern Defense Counsel says:

    With respect to Anonymous’s comments, I would look to agency law to assign Captain Rhodes’ criminal liability. When Ms. Taitz filed suit she did so ON BEHALF OF Capt Rhodes. Thus, one must conclude that Captain Rhodes approved of what was said in the complaint, and was saying it through counsel.

    This would be an excellent case for the army to quell once and for all these mutinous charges that undermine good order and discipline and take away from mission readiness. If there is a problem with the President’s qualifications to sit as president the appropriate way to resolve those is through Congress and impeachment, not through filing lawsuits that personally attack the commander in chief.

  12. John O'Connor says:

    I agree that this Captain is behaving reprehensibly. They ought to put her on the first plane to Iraq.

    I haven’t read the complaint, but if it basically made the birther argument, it might be Rule 11 territory but I’m not so sure it can (or should) result in criminal liability if the complaint treated the President respectfully (or at least not contemptuously) in the course of making a ridiculous legal argument.

    The mutiny statement is another matter, if you could show the client approved of that. I don’t think by hiring a lawyer, a client puts herself on the risk of criminal prosecution for whatever that lawyer might decide to say.

    Is this all just a ploy to get discharged? Would civilian employers of doctors care if she got a discharge characterization of less than honorable. I ask because I don’t know.

  13. Christopher Mathews says:

    Arguably, Article 88 would make certain statements accusing the President of fraud or other misconduct criminal. I suspect that strict enforcement of that particular provision in the Code would have gotten a fair number of officers drummed out of the service over the last two administrations, though, and I’m not sure it’s something that cries out for prosecution.

    Speaking strictly for myself, I would not recommend to my convening authority any charges based on a “birther” lawsuit. Such suits may be frivolous; but the right of servicemembers to access the federal courts to seek redress is well-established.

    Now, if the captain, or any other service member, refuses to actually get on the plane … that’s another matter altogether.

  14. Cossio says:

    I think I’m missing something here. You think it’s frivolous to demand a copy of the original birth certificate? I remember having to show my flight chief mine.

    So if you want to be a soldier, cop, or cook, we have to show our birth certificate, but for president we can just rely on a poor forgery from his campaign.

    The “well he had a passport” arguement is like saying Colonel Murphy is in good standing with his State Bar because he’s a JAG.

    I agree she should deploy while this goes through the courts, but to deny the whole suit…….

    BTW, I support drug test for Congress too.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cossio’s a birther, who would’ve guessed?

  16. Christopher Mathews says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    I think we just found Orly’s next summer intern!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Choice bits from Ms. Taitz’s motion for reconsideration:

    “It is reasonably certain that the men who framed the Constitution did not anticipate the election of a man as a President who appears to have prevaricated about his place of birth and then ordered his loyal followers to ridicule all those who questioned the contradictions inherent in his own biography, such as the obvious fact that his Father was an (admittedly disloyal and possibly treacherous) Subject of the British Crown when he was born, even though this fact alone would disqualify the President as a “natural born citizen”, regardless of his place of birth.”

    “Plaintiff submits that the clear preponderance of the credible evidence is that, in quite a few ways, Defendant Barack Hussein Obama has toyed with and manipulated his identity in order to obtain the President, and therefore won the “hard fought” Presidential Campaign of 2008 by fraud and trickery against the American People. The Court should reconsider the seriousness of its swift dismissal of this Plaintiff’s claims.”

  19. Christopher Mathews says:

    This is bound to go over well: “Plaintiff avers that there is increasing evidence that the United State District Courts in the 11th Circuit are subject to the same illegitimate chain of command which plaintiff has previously protested in this case…”

    See the article here.

  20. anon says:

    Wow, so basically the entire United States is illegitimate because the President is really Kenyan?

    Who knew?!

    (Well, except for Orly and Cossio).

  21. Phil Cave says:

    Does anyone know the California Bar position on this attorney?
    I think we all as advocates have made statements and filings that some might consider edgy, but I don’t think any of us has or would even consider such outright disrespect to a court.
    Of course in this day of shouting head commentary, snatching of microphones to say someone else should have won, threatening a line umpire . . .
    The predictions of John Ralston Saul in his excellent book on American seem to, well . . . read Volataire’s Bastards. A good read.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Judge Land will consider the motion for reconsideration to be another frivolous filing meriting a sanction for this incompetent attorney.

  23. Bridget says:

    Bar records show that Ms. Taitz attended Taft Law School, an online law school not accredited by the ABA. She appears to have been admitted to the bar in 2002 after graduating from Taft. She is listed on the school alumni page. I defer tacky comments about non-ABA schools, a California special, because several attorneys I respect have attended non-ABA schools.In addition, it is an impressive feat to pass the Cal bar in this manner. So she is not as stupid as this case makes her out.

    California does not have any record of discipline for Ms. Taitz, yet. California is a bit picky about this level of open contempt for judges and the courts. Ask Steve Yagman, a pretty big bucks LA lawyer who had a little run in a few years ago.

    A bit like that media seeker, the infamous Tila Tequila who has been so happy to involve SD Charger Shaun Merriman in well publicized drama, it appears Ms Taitz has achieved her goal of getting lots of ink and blogosphere and air time. I love living in California. [See I even got a football reference into this.]

  24. Phil Cave says:

    Thanks B. I also know some very good attorneys who are licensed in states that only require you graduate from one of their state law schools, you don’t even have to take an exam. So the idea of the CA non-accredited schools doesn’t trouble me.
    I just find it difficult to believe that someone can ethically express contempt in such a manner.
    Perhaps the federal court will recommend she be prohibited from practicing in that court, along with sanctions.
    As I’ve blogged, this captain, and others, have been happy to take the Queens shilling for years, and even since January 2009 when the president was inaugurated. I don’t see any request for resignations subsequent to the election. So I have no compassion for them.
    This is like the high priced doctor who calls me and is going to lose his multi-million dollar practice if recalled and deployed. “Hello, how long were you in the Guard? How long in the Reserves? How long did you take that monthly check from my taxes? Will you be giving up your retirement check from my taxes, blah, blah, blah.”

  25. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Well played, 1735 Anon (warning — since I’m in a different time zone, I’m not sure it was posted at 1735 EDT).

    This line is particularly amusing: “the obvious fact that his Father was an (admittedly disloyal and possibly treacherous) Subject of the British Crown.” It strikes me that this line perfectly describes another U.S. President: John Quincy Adams.

  26. Anti-Cossio says:

    Everytime I read this convict Cossio’s comments I feel like I’ve lost a few seconds from my life! Cossio, it doesn’t matter where someone was born! By the way what did you get on the LSAT!

  27. anon says:

    “Fact is we are just taking his word and the image of a JPEG that was on his Campaign Website that is not too accurate.”

    That is true, we are just taking his word. Well, and the word of the Hawaiian Department of Vital Statistics. Oh yeah and the word of the Republican governor of Hawaii. And the word of who has actually seen the birth certificate, verified that it had a raised seal, etc.. And well also the two separate birth announcements in the Honolulu newspapers back in when he was born.

    But I mean…other than that…yeah, it’s pretty much just his word. Nothing gets past you.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “I did “average” in that it is smack in the middle.”

    So you scored what, 100?

  29. Paul says:

    Bridget—this just in, an Ohio attorney (CA inative) filed a complaint.

  30. BIG FAN of Cossio says:

    Mr. Cossio, please let me know where you plan on taking the bar, so I can put in a good word for you with the character and fitness committee.

  31. Anti-Cossio says:

    Don’t get me wrong, sometimes Cossio makes interesting and witty comments. But this birther stuff is just over the top. It really does make those right wing nuts look even crazier.

    And I don’t believe the fact that this lawyer went to a non accredited law school and that she is now doing this crazy stuff is completely unrelated.

  32. Anonymous says:

    “I believe that’s Checkmate in the logic department.”

    I don’t know which should be more offended, chess or logic.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I’m not crazy, I’m just 30% crazy.

    How can the President be “”most likely, to a great degree a US Citizen?”

    Is that like being a little pregnant?

  34. Anonymous says:

    “Other presidents do not have family members claiming they were born somewhere else”

    Neither does this one. You should stop reading worldnetdaily, or the writings of a radio blusterer who tried to confuse an old woman through an interpreter and then only reported the misunderstanding, not the clarification of that misunderstanding during the exact same phone call.

    I’ve lost my birth certificate several times. I lost my social security card because my parents were dumb enough to give it to me as a kid.

    Thanks for putting it in caps, that’s oh so more persuasive. You will make a fine attorney with that type of persuasive skills.

  35. Phil Cave says:

    Here is a link to a January Courtoon.

  36. Southern Defense Counsel says:

    Is there an anti cossio filter I can apply when reading the comments?

  37. Phil Cave says:

    No, but the administrators of the site can. You’ll recollect that was a lengthy topic of discussion some weeks ago — comment blocking. The blocking can be done to block everyone or individual by handle. I think one of the questions was should they have a system where regular readers can vote to have the administrators block a particular commentator. But all that means is that the individual can go to the cloak-room. Then they become anonymous, etc.

  38. Christopher Mathews says:

    Cossio, I think you misapprehend the issue when you write about people’s willingness to accept things without question.

    Speaking for myself, at least, it’s not that I have accepted the President’s status “without question;” it’s that the question has been resolved to my satisfaction in his favor.

    As to whether the “birther” movement is racially inspired — it’s difficult to assess motivations of others, and it would be as wrong to assume that all people who challenge the President’s qualifications to serve are racist as it would be to assert that none are.

    That said, I will note anecdotally that I don’t recall any demand for Leslie King to prove his citizenship, despite the fact that he hailed from a border state, was never formally adopted, and lived under an assumed name for many years before having it legally changed.

    And since I think this thread has largely run its course, comments are now closed.

    For the latest twists in this case, go here.