Judge Carter Does Not Have Subject Matter Jurisdiction For Quo Warranto In Barnett v. Obama.

From google cache. Some links don’t work. This blog has been deleted but I thought it was worth its weight in gold to preserve.

Judge Carter Does Not Have Subject Matter Jurisdiction For Quo Warranto In Barnett v. Obama.

Judge Carter must dismiss the quo warranto aspect of the case (essentially the entire case) because his court has no subject matter jurisdiction to hear a quo warranto complaint pertaining to a US national officer located in the District of Columbia.

If Judge Carter takes the case, it will be in direct contradiction to a clear federal statute as well as existing US Court of Appeals precedent.

The federal quo warranto statute at 16-3501:

A quo warranto may be issued from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the name of the United States against a person who within the District of Columbia usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises, a franchise conferred by the United States or a public office of the United States, civil or military. The proceedings shall be deemed a civil action.

As you can see, the statute is very specific.  The office of President is in the District of Columbia.  The District Court for the District of Columbia is the only court which has the authority to hear a quo warranto complaint to remove a US national office holder from the District of Columbia .

The following Court of Appeals decision is directly on point.  I am baffled that the DOJ failed to cite the case (originally discussed as follows in Part 3 of my Quo Warranto legal brief):

In UNITED STATES of America ex rel. STATE OF WISCONSIN v. FIRST FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, 248 F.2d 804 (1957), the US court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, provided an on point discussion of quo warranto in the district courts:

There have been submitted to this court only two instances in which original quo warranto jurisdiction has been specifically conferred upon federal district courts. The revised statutes of 1878 vested jurisdiction in these courts of proceedings brought by the United States Attorney for the removal of persons holding office contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Rev.Stat., Sections 563(14), 626(14), (1786). This Act was repealed in the Judicial Code of 1911, 36 Stat. 1168. In 1901, Congress specifically authorized the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to issue quo warranto in the name of the United States. Act of March 3, 1901, 31 Stat. 1419, Title 16, Section 1601 of the D.C. Code (1940). However, this grant is strictly limited and is confined solely to situations involving franchises and public offices held within the District of Columbia. There is no other specific statutory provision vesting original jurisdiction in the district courts in quo warranto actions. (Emphasis added.)

The first statute mentioned above dealt specifically with quo warranto actions which arose out of 14th amendment issues where citizens were refused the right to vote.  Under this statute, all US district courts could hear quo warranto cases.  But this statute was repealed in 1911 and so the only remaining statute which controls quo warranto is the District of Columbia Code.  And all actions brought thereunder must be brought in the District Court for the District of Columbia.

It comes as quite a shock to me that the DOJ did not cite this case in its motion to dismiss.  That’s just shabby lawyering right there.  Why argue against quo warranto and fail to cite the very case which is directly on point?  It seems a bit too strange.

Judge Carter should note that the District Court’s decision to entertain the quo warranto in that case was reversed:

“No instance is known of the use of writ of quo warranto in a district court of the United States other than the District Court of the District of Columbia.” Cyc. of Federal Procedure, 2d Ed., Sec. 7098…It follows that the district court in this case should have dismissed the action for want of jurisdiction instead of determining it upon the merits. The judgment dismissing the action is therefore modified so as to show that the case was dismissed for want of jurisdiction…”

How did the DOJ miss the one case which makes dismissal a slam dunk?  Are they trying to ensure the case is heard on the merits?

The only answer I can think of is that the DOJ knows more cases are coming down the pike, some of which will be brought by very skilled attorneys with plaintiffs who have much stronger cases.  If the Barnett case gets heard on the merits and it loses, that sets a very bad precedent for these future cases.  If the Barnett case is dismissed on subject matter jurisdiction no issues of res judicata apply and future cases won’t be jeopardized.

I would be very suspicious if this case gets past the motion to dismiss.  It’s hard to believe the entire Department of Justice simply missed the case I cited above.  It doesn’t seem plausible.


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