House Call

John McCaslin

3/17/2009 11:22:15 AM - John McCaslin

Jesse H. Merrell, who lives on Garfield Street in Washington, tells Inside the Beltway that a pair of deputy U.S. marshals paid him a visit last Friday after he had written a not-so-kind letter to U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson regarding President Obama's citizenship controversy.

Judge Robertson this month threw out a lawsuit questioning whether Mr. Obama was a native-born American citizen, and therefore qualified under the Constitution to be president.

The judge ruled that the eligibility question has been dragged through the mud long enough.

"The issue of the president's citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America's vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama's two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court," Judge Robertson wrote when dismissing the case brought by Gregory Hollister, a retired Air Force colonel.

Mr. Merrell now reveals: "I was visited by two U.S. marshals ... after I had written a letter to Judge Robertson for his rant threatening sanctions over lawyers who filed a suit challenging Obama's right to be president over the 'natural born' citizen clause in the Constitution.

"I told them unless the First Amendment had been repealed, or they were going to arrest me, we had nothing to talk about."

Mr. Merrell says one of the marshals cited "some obscure law which made it illegal to say anything that caused 'emotional distress' to a federal judge."

YOU DO BETTER

If Republicans don't like newly approved pork-laden stimulus packages as cures to the country's economic ills, the Democratic Party is inviting them to come up with something better.

The Democratic National Committee has just launched the "Party of No" clock, highlighting the number of days, hours and minutes that Republicans have just said "no" rather than offering a "substantive alternative" to President Obama's proposals.

"Instead of joining Democrats in working to pass practical steps to confront the challenges we face, Republicans have been passing their time just saying 'no' to everything the president proposes," gripes DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.

WORTHY OF JESUS

Suffice it to say, actor John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld," "Dancing With the Stars," "Family Feud") is not in Washington this week to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

"I happen to hate the Irish cuisine," quips Mr. O'Hurley. "And you just don't say, 'Hey, tonight let's go out and dance Irish!' You just don't."

Instead, Mr. O'Hurley will star (and sing and dance) in the role of Billy Flynn when "Chicago: The Musical" opens at the National Theatre on March 31, running through April 12.

In an interview with Inside the Beltway, the actor hints that he will slightly tailor the script to suit his unique Washington audience - something to the effect of Billy Flynn boasting that "if Jesus Christ lived in Chicago today, and he had $5,000, well he could buy himself his own Senate seat, I'll tell you that!"

RUSH DEFENSE

Maybe Rush Limbaugh should lead the Republican Party after all.

We'll allow Inside the Beltway fan Greg Drew to speak for dozens of other letter-writing readers: "I read with interest your article, 'Run Rush, Run'. As an educated man in my late 50s with a passion for politics, I take exception to your analysis.

"I have been listening to Rush for 15 years - not always in agreement. However, if you want to examine the amount of ideas coming from his show to those coming from the entire Democratic Congress in those 15 years, you will find the Democrats sorely wanting.

"He is an entertainer and a businessman, however his ability to interpret for his audience what is really happening in politics/government/culture is unmatched. The only reason he is being targeted is that there is a vacuum of leadership on both sides in Washington. Rush would have never given British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a package of DVDs."