Texas Republican Files Birther Bill

Texas Republican Files Birther Bill

Texas Republican Files Birther Bill

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 17 2010 10:09 AM

Texas Republican Files Birther Bill

No one wants to think about it, but one side effect of the GOP's historic gains in state legislative elections this year will be an uptick in legislation demanding proof of Barack Obama's citizenship. There were half a dozen such bills in 2009-2010 , in states like Georgia and Arizona, but they all petered out in part because Republicans didn't have the numbers or momentum to consider controversial bills.

That's no longer a problem.

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A state representative on Tuesday filed a bill that would require any candidate for president or vice president of the United States to show his or her birth certificate to the Texas secretary of state, another indication of just how ambitious the conservative agenda for next year’s session of the Texas Legislature is expected to be.

What's that about? Guess.

"This bill is necessary because we have a president whom the American people don’t know whether he was born in Kenya or some other place," Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, said in reference to President Barack Obama and of House Bill 295. "If you are running for president or vice president, you’ve got to show here in Texas that you were born in the United States and the birth certificate is your proof."

There's been some speculation about whether John Boehner's Republicans will indulge themselves on "birther" legislation; that's extremely unlikely. What is possible that conservative legislatures in several states pass laws mandating birth certificates from 2012 presidential candidates, and Barack Obama has to contend with this as the primaries get underway in 14 months. The first round of "birther bills" were, from the conspiracy theorist's perspective, flawed, because they allowed birth certificate reprints to count as proof, and Obama has provided such proof since June 2008. So watch and see whether the new birther bills attempt -- in a manner that I can't imagine is legal, because it's not how the government deals with birth questions -- to rule out reprints as unacceptable.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.