You can petition the White House online about anything, and get an official response if you can gather enough signatures. But that doesn't mean silly ideas won't be rejected.
In 2011, President Obama's administration launched a website called "We the People" that allows citizens to send petitions directly to the White House. All you needed was 25,000 signatures in 30 days to get the president, or at least his staff, to consider your request.
At least, that's what you needed before. After several silly petitions, the number of signatures needed has been raised to 100,000, New York Magazine reports. How silly, you ask? Well, take a look at five weird White House petitions:
- Please build a Death Star. The idea of a planet-obliterating space weapon appealed to some people -- 34,435 to be exact. But alas, the force of "Star Wars" fans wasn't quite enough for this petition effort, which got shot down. The potential expense (about $850 quadrillion, according to the White House), the bad foreign policy ("the Administration does not support blowing up planets"), the "fundamental flaw" in the Death Star's design (which, as everyone knows, "can be exploited by a one-man starship")... take your pick of reasons not to do it.
- Deport CNN host Piers Morgan. The British talk-show host and critic of current U.S. gun policies made himself a lot of enemies with his on-air comments, and they wanted him kicked out of the country. Luckily for him, the White House recognized that the First Amendment protects Morgan's right to criticize the Second Amendment, notes The Huffington Post.
- Recognize the Sasquatch. The myth of Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch as he's more formally known, is one of America's more famous tall tales. But its mythical status didn't stop a few people from starting a petition to prevent others from hunting the Sasquatch. The petition is actually still collecting signatures until Feb. 10, 2013, but at last glance it needed a lot more signatures to reach the 100,000 threshold.
- Let Texas secede. It looks like a lot of Americans want Texas out of the union, since more than 100,000 people signed this petition, reports the Houston Chronicle. It's not clear whether the support was from Texans or other Americans who don't want Texas around, but the final word from the White House is that Texas stays.
- Don't let the Twinkie fail. We were all a little sad when Hostess announced its bankruptcy and put the Twinkie's future in jeopardy. Some were so upset that they petitioned President Obama to take the Twinkie under his wing and make it a national industry, according to NBC's "Today." Sadly, the petition didn't get enough signatures and is no more.
- White House now requires 'We the People' petitions to have 100,000 signatures for official response (The Daily Caller)
- Are Petition Signatures Private Speech? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- US Chamber of Commerce Sues the Yes Men (FindLaw's Legally Weird)