In 2012, Obama was subpoenaed in the case Farrar, Lax, Judy, Malaren, and Roth v. Obama. However after a failed attempt to quash the subpoena on the basis that a sitting president cannot be subpoenaed (which Judge Malihi rejected and ordered the President to attend court) the White House decided to simply ignore the subpoena and neither Obama nor his lawyer attended the hearing. Was it legal for Obama to ignore this subpoena? (I recall that Nixon was also subpoenaed and the Supreme Court found that he had to comply.)

  • The lead counsel was Orly Taitz! There's a name that takes me back. Nov 9, 2018 at 1:13
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    I'm having trouble finding a reliable source on what was filed during this case, do you have a link to the subpoena order? Nov 9, 2018 at 2:56
  • I don't have the subpoena order itself, but the case is reported on in various news sources, e.g. huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/…
    – Kidburla
    Nov 9, 2018 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


No, it is not legal for the president or anyone else to ignore a lawful subpoena.

Under United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), the president is free to invoke executive privilege in an effort to quash the subpoena. But he may not simply ignore it.

It is not clear, though, whether the Georgia judge (who was not a real judge, by the way, but rather an administrative law judge) in this case actually had jurisdiction to compel Obama to appear.

  • can you explain Malihi may not have had jurisdiction to compel Obama to appear? Is it because Obama did not reside in Georgia and therefore not under the jurisdiction of Georgia courts, or something?
    – Kidburla
    Nov 9, 2018 at 23:51
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    Well, it's not a real "court" in the traditional sense, so I don't know too what extent it has subpoena power to begin with, but it seems safe to say that it's no broader than than am actual judge's. Second, my understanding is that it was the Democratic Party, not Obama, who put his name on the ballot. In that case, it's not clear to me what was going on that would have enabled the judge to drag in other people as part of the proceedings.
    – bdb484
    Nov 10, 2018 at 14:03

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