COLUMBUS, Georgia -- A federal judge fined a leader of the movement challenging President Obama's citizenship and warned her against using the legal system to pursue "political rhetoric and insults."
U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land's scathing 43-page order Tuesday said California lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz filed "frivolous" litigation and attempted to misuse the federal courts to push a political agenda.
Taitz, a leader of the so-called birther movement, sued in Georgia federal court on behalf of Army Capt. Connie Rhodes. Rhodes sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by claiming Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and that he was "an illegal usurper, unlawful pretender and unqualified impostor."
Documents show the president was born in Hawaii.
Land, appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, had already dismissed the lawsuit, but Taitz continued filing motions. He said he fined her $20,000 "as a deterrent to prevent future misconduct and to protect the integrity of the court."
"The absolute absence of any legitimate legal argument, combined with the political diatribe in her motions, demonstrates that Ms. Taitz's purpose is to advance a political agenda and not to pursue a legitimate legal cause of action," Land wrote.
He added that while Taitz's speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, "the federal courts are reserved for hearing genuine legal disputes, not as a platform for political rhetoric and insults."
Taitz told The Daily Report that Land's order is "an absolute outrage."
"All I can say is that this order is issued with a goal to intimidate me, harass me and retaliate against me for bringing a legitimate action on behalf of my client," she said.