Orly Taitz's Crusade to Challenge President Obama's Legitimacy

By Liza Mundy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The dental office of Orly Taitz, DDS, Esq., is in a low-slung complex in a quiet planned community in Orange County, alongside an assortment of small businesses and solo practitioners. The practice, Appealing Dentistry, is busy this morning. In the waiting room are a woman with no dental insurance and a boy with three cavities, and the phone is ringing off the hook with dentists eager to fill a job opening.

"Crowns, bridges, veneers, root canals -- you need to be able to do root canals and molars," the receptionist is telling one caller. And now here is Taitz herself, a bit late, entering in a flurry of energy and apologies to consult with a colleague, then suggesting to a reporter that they go somewhere to chat. Despite many pressing concerns on the dentistry front, Taitz is eager to talk about her crusade to prove that the president of the United States is an impostor.

Emerging into the dry Southern California sunshine, Taitz -- dentist, lawyer, wife of a software executive, mother of three and a leading proponent of the so-called birther campaign against President Obama -- walks briskly past her law office, which is conveniently beside the dental practice. Inside the law office is a modest conference room with a table, eight chairs, a couple of abstract paintings and a houseplant. It is here that Taitz dreams of deposing the U.S. president, proving that he is a citizen not of this country but of Kenya, maybe, or possibly Indonesia, perhaps even -- who knows? -- that he is secretly controlled by Saudi Arabia.

"My children are so excited . . . that the president of the United States will have to appear in Mom's office in Rancho Santa Margarita," says Taitz, whose English is richly Russian-accented; she grew up in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.

And if the conference room proves too small to accommodate the presidential entourage and she has to travel to Washington to question the man she refers to as a "usurper," that's okay. Taitz will fly pretty much anywhere to make her argument. The ends of the Earth, one senses, would not be too far away.

It's a lot to take on, but she has help; assisting with her legal filings is Charles E. Lincoln III, a disbarred lawyer and self-described "anarchist." Leaving the office, Lincoln gets in the back seat and Taitz maneuvers her Lexus through the tidy "Real Housewives"-type landscape to a bakery with outdoor seating. For five hours she will discuss her legal crusade, eventually moving to lunch at T.G.I. Friday's.

Problem is, dentists keep interrupting her narrative. They have found her cellphone number. And they are desperate. The economy is that bad. "Can you please call the office?" she begs one of them. To another: "Could you fax me?" And "I'm in the middle of something," she says, answering another call, not unkindly.

* * *

Surreal as her multi-tasking effort may seem, Taitz is a serious player in the apparently unsinkable birther movement, or, as its proponents prefer to call it, the movement to question Obama's "eligibility" to hold office. She herself objects to the term "birther," arguing in a court document that it is "pejorative."

Taitz has drafted voluminous court pleadings, filing at least five Obama-related cases; a hearing on a California case took place yesterday. In addition to making appearances on radio and television, she blogs and travels the country speaking. She has drummed up supporters at a gun show; joined "tea party" demonstrations against taxation; shouted at, and been shouted at by, MSNBC hosts.

All of which is not to say that her effort is going well. In September, U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land dismissed a Georgia case that Taitz brought on behalf of a military doctor, Connie Rhodes, which held that Rhodes should be spared deployment to Iraq because Obama is not constitutionally qualified to be commander in chief. More than just rejecting it, he excoriated it.

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