DRAKE v. OBAMA
664 F.3d 774 (2011)
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted May 2, 2011.
Black's Law Dictionary 1374 (9th ed.2009) defines quo warranto as a "common-law writ used to inquire into the authority by which a public office is held or a franchise is claimed." Section 16-3501 of the District of Columbia Code states:
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.
D.C.Code § 16-3501 (emphasis added). Under § 16-3502, only the Attorney General of the United States or the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia can initiate a proceeding for issuance of a writ of quo warranto "on his own motion or on the relation of a third person," and if the writ is brought on behalf of a third person, it may only issue by leave of the District Court for the District of Columbia. D.C.Code § 16-3502. "If the Attorney General or United States attorney refuses to institute a quo warranto proceeding on the request of a person interested, the interested person may apply to the court by certified petition for leave to have the writ issued." D.C.Code § 16-3503.
Plaintiffs concede that the District Court for the District of Columbia is the proper venue to issue a writ of quo warranto under D.C.Code § 16-3503, but argue that their efforts to file there have been frustrated because the Attorney General and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia have not responded to their requests.
The District Court properly dismissed Plaintiff's quo warranto claims under D.C.Code § 16-3503, because the proper venue to file such claims against the President of the United States would be the District of Columbia. See D.C.Code § 16-3501; see also U.S. ex rel. State of Wis. v.
First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 248 F.2d 804, 809 (7th Cir.1957) ("We hold, except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, that there is no original jurisdiction in the federal district court to entertain an information in the nature of quo warranto."). While D.C.Code §§ 16-3501 to 16-3503 do not explicitly provide that quo warranto claims under them must be brought exclusively in the District of Columbia, the plain language of the statute indicates that a writ based on the D.C.Code provisions must be sought within the District of Columbia, because such a claim is challenging the right of a person within the District of Columbia to hold a public office of the United States. See D.C.Code § 16-3501 ("A quo warranto may be issued from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. . . against a person who within the District of Columbia. . . .") (emphasis added)). More importantly, §§ 16-3502 and 16-3503 provide only for the District Court for the District of Columbia to grant leave of court to file the writ on the relation of a third person. Moreover, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has now weighed in with respect to the reach of the D.C.Code quo warranto provisions. In Taitz v. Obama, 707 F.Supp.2d 1, 2-4 (D.D.C.2010), the District Court for the District of Columbia stated that "a quo warranto action against a public official may be brought only by the Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney." Id. at 3 (citing Andrade v. Lauer, 729 F.2d 1475, 1498 (D.C.Cir.1984)).