December 8th, 2008
11:42 AM ET
5 years ago

SCOTUS rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal that questioned Obama's eligibility to be president.
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal that questioned Obama's eligibility to be president.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from a retired lawyer in New Jersey who questioned Barack Obama's eligibility to be president, because he had dual British-American citizenship at birth.

The justices without comment on Monday refused to intervene in the November 4 presidential election, dismissing the claims of Leo Donofrio, a resident of East Brunswick, New Jersey.

In his appeal, Donofrio claims that because Obama's father was a Kenyan-born British subject, the president-elect does meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural born citizen" of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in the United States.

Many legal analysts questioned Donofrio's argument.

"The law has always been understood to be, if you are born here, you're a natural born citizen," said Thomas Goldstein, founder of the Scotusblog.com Web site, and a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the high court. "And that is particularly true in this case, when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama's mother."

In another lawsuit making its way through the courts, Philip Berg of Pennsylvania alleges the president-elect was actually born in Kenya. Berg claims Hawaii officials will not let him see Obama's original birth certificate, although the campaign posted a copy of it online this summer, following numerous blog postings over the citizenship question. That case had previously been dismissed by lower federal courts.

The appeal rejected Monday is Donofrio v. Wells (08A407).


Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (539 Responses)
  1. PC from DC

    Donofrio is a loser!!

    December 8, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. thersa

    Shame on Justice Thomas for introducing this.

    December 8, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. obama-mama

    Boy that old geezer is really trying to stir up nonsense....What a nut....

    December 8, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. grahame

    wonder how much the Republicans paid this loser?

    December 8, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Irma in North Carolina

    These are just a bunch of racits people. They think they can make it miserable for Obama, but it isnt working.

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Jon

    And why does this Donofrio guy care?

    Obama was born in the US, therefore he is a US citizen. The Donofrio guy obviously needs to get a refresher in what being born in the US means. Maybe he needs a geography lesson too and remind him that Hawaii IS part of the USA.

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Jessica in IL

    Sore losers?

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Nancy from FL

    The Supreme court are obviously INCOMPETENT. Ugh. He is NOT qualified to be President. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!! HE IS GOING TO DESTROY OUR COUNTRY :(

    1776-2008 – United States of America
    2009-2012 – The Socialist Republic of Amerikkka
    2012 – RENEW AMERICA!

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Salt

    Who the heck does Berg think he is demanding that confidential files be released to him? Both of those men should seek a psychiatric evaluation.

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    Great idea, let's try and throw out the person that just won by a landslide and has great ideas for a country in really bad shape! That is exactly what this country needs right now. Plus, we could add on the wonderful pleasure of deciding who replaces him. (Can you feel the sarcasim, cause I'm laying it on thick!?)

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Jim Schimmer

    haha.. all you haters..
    accept the fact that he is your president...

    he aint going no where for another 4 years..

    We love you BARACK!

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Jaye

    Stupidest lawsuit ever.

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Chet Hayes

    Who is more stupid, the right-wing nutballs who persist in questioning Obama's citizenship or Sarah Palin? I gotta give the edge in stupidity to Palin.

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. rumpusgoopus

    What a tragic day it is when the Supreme Court refuses to hear a completely frivolous case brought by conservative nutjobs. I for one am ashamed.

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. FreeNLovIt

    we have so many serious issues and threats against America. This shouldnt even be an issue. Why dont you spend some time trying to 'impeach' those that rushed America to war? This will help new gnerations of leaders to be more accountable for reckless behaviours.

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. katiec

    Am glad to see the Supreme Court make the right decision.
    The unfounded attempts by the radical right to constantly stir up
    trouble for Barack Obama and the democrats must come to an
    end.
    The survival of our country is at stake and they MUST, for once,
    unify the help resolve the crisises they created.

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Gays for Obama

    Oh, give it up, will ya! Obama would have never even gotten in sniffing distance of the presidency if he was not a citizen. Please find something else worthy of a complaint to talk about.

    December 8, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. PDX Gal

    Good to know the SCOTUS gave this nonsense all the attention it truly deserves.

    December 8, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. WiseMan

    Give it a rest! Obama is the POTUS!!! Do you think these people would be quesitoning John McCain's citizenship had he won? This is ridiculous and needs to stop now!

    December 8, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Isn't Hawaii a state?

    December 8, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Jules

    Sheesh, these wing-nuts just won't let go!

    December 8, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. mike butera

    barack hussein mohamed obama is a black liberation theology muslim who was born in kenya of an arfican (forget british subject). aren't we all british subjects?
    he is conceived of the hollywood think tank & promoted by liberal media.
    us citizens will rue the day this socialist chicago agitator enacts his wpa on a democrat deciminated economy via credit & banking policies of a corrupt machine.

    December 8, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Accountant Guy

    LOL, this is pathetic that some people with single digit IQ's are still behaving like idiots!! Get over it people, America already voted and it was clear that we want Barack to lead us. So proud that America looked past color to the best man for the job, even if it turned out to be a black man!! Go U.S.A.

    December 8, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. JIM...TX

    The only reason this is an issue to some is that when all is said and done...they're RACISTS! Of course they'll spout off about wanting to protect the office...blah blah blah and they don't have a mean bone in their body. What a joke...now get over it folks an get ready for the 1st BLACK President to take office soon :)

    December 8, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Not much of a surprise

    Pretty much expected, it would have been a sad day in America if the Supreme Court were to overturn the will of the voters.

    We all know that the far right wing of the Republican establishment is behind all this nonsense. Just like the far left wing of the Democratic establishment tried to say that Bush’s election was illegitimate 8 years ago.

    These days it seems like no matter who gets elected the extreme wing of the opposition party will try to derail their election.

    December 8, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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