Vitter endorses frivolous ‘birther’ lawsuits

VITTER ENDORSES FRIVOLOUS ‘BIRTHER’ LAWSUITS…. I know the scandal-plagued senator is facing a credible primary challenge, which no doubt pushes him even further to the right, but does Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) really have to go this far? Apparently so.

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana says he supports conservative organizations challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship in court.

Vitter, who is running for re-election, made the comments at a town hall-style event in Metairie, La., on Sunday when a constituent asked what he would do about what the questioner said was Obama’s “refusal to produce a valid birth certificate.”

Such claims about Obama’s birth certificate have been discredited.

Well, sure, of course they have. But an apparent supporter nevertheless asked Vitter at the event what the senator would do about the president’s birth certificate — and the assembled crowd thought that was a great question.

Perhaps motivated by the audience’s response, Vitter endorsed birthers’ lawsuits. While the far-right senator conceded he wouldn’t have legal standing to file the suit, and doesn’t want to “focus on that issue,” Vitter nevertheless explained, “But I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court. I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it.”

I don’t really expect Vitter to chastise supporters who ask stupid questions at town hall-style events, but for a sitting senator to publicly endorse birther litigation is pretty crazy.

Given Vitter’s background — the guy did get caught in a prostitution scandal after running on a “family values” platform — it’s wise to keep expectations low. But even he should know better than this.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.