The Supreme Court Wants to Choose the President Again!

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A rare photo: Fred Hickman, at work.
A rare photo: Fred Hickman, at work. Photo: Getty Images

The Internet conspiracy theories floated about Barack Obama during the campaign ranged from the frivolous (he doesn't salute the flag!) to the hilarious (Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams From My Father!). But one has managed to bubble from the wretched depths of the Web all the way up to the Supreme Court. In a move led by Justice Clarence Thomas, the justices will consider today whether to hear a suit looking to stay the election on the grounds that Obama isn't a natural-born citizen.

Nobody expects the suit to proceed. Marc Ambinder, after calmly debunking the conspiracy theories, quips that they're at least "entertaining, and in a down economy, they keep people employed, so I suppose one cannot entirely dismiss their social utility." Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times plays along by noting that Obama has resigned his Senate seat, although Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton — conveniently — have not. David Weigel goes for historical context in Slate, noting that long-shot attempts to "overturn presidential results by any means necessary" have become "a new American political tradition," starting, "as all election madness seemed to, in 2000."

But even Michelle Malkin isn't biting on this one. Though she notes that the way we enforce the citizenship requirement for presidents is a "legitimate constitutional issue," she's also delighted to lump in the birth-certificate hunters with the "9/11 Truthers" and Trig Palin conspiracists. And of course, as Ben Smith reminds us, John McCain faced similar questions about his eligibility to be president, since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.