December 15th, 2008
11:10 AM ET
6 years ago

Supreme Court rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a second appeal Monday challenging President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a second appeal Monday challenging President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court has dismissed a second emergency appeal questioning 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 Cort Wrotnowski, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut.

In his appeal, Wrotnowski claimed 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 Wrotnowski'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."

A similar appeal was rejected a week ago by the high court, from a retired lawyer in New Jersey.

In another lawsuit making its way through the courts, Philip Berg of Pennsylvania alleges the president-elect was actually born in Kenya. Berg claims Hawaiian 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 Wrotnowski v. Bysiewicz (08A469).

soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. arc, Lugano CH

    Laura December 15th, 2008 12:31 pm ET
    Did I say president? I meant greatest leader of the universe. Smooches for Obama.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You need to combine those weight loss pills with actual exercise. Just taking the pill is the reason that you are still overweight.

    President Elect Obama is in no way connected to your latest failed diet.

    December 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. VALady

    For the record, I am not a particular fan of President Bush, and I did not want either Sen. Obama or McCain to be President–it is difficult to imagine that in a nation of 300 million people, we couldn't come up with two people who were better qualified to be President than the two from whom we chose.

    That said, all of us should be concerned about our politicians living by the Constitution–even those tenets we may not understand. Rather than heap scorn on those who want to be sure that the man who swears to uphold and defend the Constitution actually does so, perhaps it would be reasonable to ask Senator Obama to produce the long form of his Hawaii birth certificate. After all, this matter should be easily put to rest, and remaining silent simply doesn't speak well of him–both our current President and our future President seem to have an imperial attitude that they do not need to answer to those they seek to represent in the highest office of the land.

    December 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Goodoldtxboy, don't get mad because most people's mothers and fathers aren't related unlike yours.

    December 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. you know it

    To the comments of "Salt" the second from the bottom. You are right! Illigal immigrants from across the border, have a baby in America, the baby is American. The baby has to stay in America but they try to send the parents back over the border. Republicans are children of the Devil!

    December 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    The only Naturalized citizens are the Indians. The rest of us migrated here from other parts of the world or were born to parents that migrated here or we are the decendents of others that migrated here from other parts of the world.

    Upon coming here the Indians were found to have a fair judicial system, low or no crime or disease or poverty and the migrants attempted to improve on what the Indians had and look at the mess we are in now.

    Give the man a break. Let him do his job. If you cannot accept having an African American as your President there is always Mexico, Iran, Iraq, or other countries that would be glad to have you.

    As for me, I am going to give him a chance. If he doesn't get something done I will vote for someone else in 4 years. That's my choice.

    December 15, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Erin

    Um.. the only presidential candidate who wasn't actually born in the US – LOST in November. His name was John McCain.. and he was actually born over-seas on a military base.

    Barack Obama was born in the US.. he legally is able to be president.. deal with it.

    I wonder how these republicans who continue to bring friviolous lawsuits felt in 2000 when Gore actually really HAD a reason to fight for the presidency (he won). I bet they thought he should just drop it.. ironic eh?

    December 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Cammi317

    What is wrong with some of you? His mother was AMERICAN. I don't care if he was born in the Artic. He was born to an AMERICAN and is therefore AMERICAN. Give me a break! BTW, I thought that whole challenging McCain's citizenship was dumb as well.

    December 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. gypsyzingaro

    Seriously? Ok. Here you go. EVEN IF he was born on Mars, hung out with terrorists, is not white, or has a middle name of Hussein, America STILL elected him. What does that say about us? None of that bs matters. We need something else, we needed anything else. Sour grapes are unbecoming, and to GOTB, people called him Barry, because it is a nickname, not because it is 'more American', much like your name might be William Joseph Robert E Lee, and your friends call you Billy Joe Bob. Love the Obama, because he is your president. At least he did not steal the elections like your Bush did, and we all suffered through that, so you can make it the next 8 years, while Barry cleans up the mess he made. Thanks Barry, you rock.

    December 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. sensible Cape Coral FL

    RE: gooddoldboy

    I do not know of any problem that was solved by hatred such as yours but I can think of all too many that were caused by it.

    December 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. quasar

    Can any dim-o-crat submit a good rationale for not releasing the original birth documents w/o calling people racist? Why is that too much to ask?

    December 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Jackie in Dallas

    This is one of the silliest of the neocon obsessions. Three separate bipartisan committees looked at Obama's original birth certificate and certified it authentic.

    Considering that the majority of the Supreme Court were Republican nominations, can't these guys get a clue?? Give it up - you are opening a can of worms that might even disqualify McCain!

    December 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THIS IS THE BIGGEST COVER UP IN HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!

    IF THE TRUTH DOES NOT COME OUT ABOUT OBAMAS REAL BIRTH PLACE IT WILL PROVE JUST HOW CROOKED THE WORLD REALLY IS.

    WHERE DO YOU THINK OBAMA GOT MOST OF HIS MONEY FROM???

    WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. gypsyzingaro

    Seriously? Ok. Here you go. EVEN IF he was born on Mars, hung out with terrorists, is not white, or has a middle name of Hussein, America STILL elected him. What does that say about us? None of that bs matters. We need something else, we needed anything else. Sour grapes are unbecoming, and to those who feel he is trying to fake them out, people called him Barry, because it is a nickname, not because it is 'more American', much like your name might be William Joseph Robert E Lee, and your friends call you Billy Joe Bob. Love the Obama, because he is your president. At least he did not steal the elections like your Bush did, and we all suffered through that, so you can make it the next 8 years, while Barry cleans up the mess he made. Thanks Barry, you rock.

    December 15, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I GOES TO SHOW YOU JUST HOW BLIND THE TYPICAL AMERICAN VOTER REALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HAWAII IS SUCH A JOKE OF A COVER UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. ulysses

    Of course the constitutional eligibility of the President-Elect is of the utmost importance. But there is no question of constitutional interpretation here – it's simply a question of fact. We have a lot of people here making claims about what the facts are in this case, but since I personally don't get to walk into an office in HI and examine his birth certificate myself, I'll have to trust the officials who have when they say it matches what Obama posted on his website over the summer. All the random schlubs on the web forums shouting "Why won't he show us his birth certificate" don't actually prove that he hasn't.
    Now, if McCain had won the election we would be having a very similar discussion but the argument would not be about the facts of the case, but about the interpretation of the constitution with regard to the term "Natural Born". I think the SCOTUS would have been reluctantly forced to take that case. And my understanding of the Constitution and the SCOTUS leads me to the conclusion that McCain would have prevailed, but it would require an "activist" interpretation, which McCain himself professes to oppose. I think a strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution would say McCain would have been ineligible for the Presidency. This question has never been force upon the SCOTUS because the numerous historical candidates with circumstances similar to McCain's have never happened to win the election.
    But that's a very different question from Obama's eligibility, which seems to be a matter of fact. The fact that every court has rejected these lawsuits leads me to believe that the evidence presented to them is clearly in Obama's favor.

    December 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Moyiz

    LOL !!!!!! Are you still king of Comedy ???? Ooopssss not a comedy !!!! Sooo being angry of the election result ...? so If you don't want my HERO, please go to IRAK

    December 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. J.P.

    Ya know, Barry, if you release the actual vault copy of the birth certificate, this will all go away.

    But why spend nearly a cool million bucks to keep all your personally-identifying documents under wraps? Smells stinky to me.

    You people do realize that unless Obama releases his actual birth certificate, an army of lawyers will effectively tie up his administration, right? In court case after court case, legal challenge after legal challenge, they'll challenge each and every piece of legislatiion he signs or judicial appointment he makes, claiming that any law Obama signs is not valid due to his constitutional ineligibility? You do understand this, right?

    THIS ISSUE IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY JAN 20.

    Think about this folks... how can one violate a law that is not valid, due to the ineligibility of the signer? If he wants any credibility, he's going to have to release his actual birth certificate, not some administrative "certification of live birth."

    December 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. WI Cheesehead

    GWB is not just a lame duck that knows how to quack. He also knows how to duck.

    December 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. The Chosen One

    I'm surprised it wasn't an immaculate conception.

    December 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. EW

    Barack Obama attended school in Indonesia. In order to attend school in Indonesia, one has to be a citizen of Indonesia. In order to become an Indonesian citizen, one has to give up all other citizenship. One also must practice Islam in order to go to school in Indonesia.

    So, even if Obama is a citizen, he would have gone from a natural born citizen to a non-citizen to a naturalized citizen due to his status in Indonesia.

    Berg was stating this at least as far back as September and by doing a little research, one can find it to be true.

    Plain and simple facts.

    December 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Joseph in VA

    Goodoldtxboy December 15th, 2008 12:36 pm ET

    The reason that the SCOTUS is denying these cases, is because if they took one of these cases and found out the truth, that Obama was born in Kenya and he was then pushed out of the Presidency, do you know how many crazy African Americans would be rioting and looting. Think about how nuts everyone went during the Rodney King fiasco. You can take the African American out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the African American!!!!!!!
    _________________________________________________________
    and you can take the klansmen out the country but you can't stop pure stupidity and ignorance from coming out his mouth

    December 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. That Other Jerry

    "Many legal analysts questioned Wrotnowski's argument." What about his sanity? Republicans have a lot of housekeeping to do to regain their lost credibility and avoid being crushed by the Obama juggernaut. Step One should be to distance themselves as far as possible from the radical weirdos–like say, from here to Pluto?

    December 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. jeh15

    As for another poster commenting that you had to be an Indonesian citizen to enter Indonesian schools, I am not knowledgeable about Indonesian law, but I would say this, Americans study in schools outside the U.S. a lot, including at one time (former) President Bill Clinton. Clinton did not "give up" an American citizenship to study in British schools, nor was he required to. And even further, if mom did have to provide a temporary "dual citizenship" status for Prez elect Obama, she also returned with him to the states after the ending of her second marriage. Mom guaranteed that by returning Obama back to the states, and with the specifics of the law itself, that Obama spending the rest of his youth growing up on American soil, that he would indeed be an American in accordance with the law. The law says, that he is eligible to be President. The law is the final word on the matter.

    December 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Baze

    Republicans just won't stop until we're a country in flames.

    December 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Tim

    This stuff needs to end. Obama is our President and we need to support him. Stop crying because you lost and move on!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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