High court turns aside another lawsuit questioning Obama citizenship
March 7th, 2011
10:47 AM ET
4 years ago

High court turns aside another lawsuit questioning Obama citizenship

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has again rejected an appeal from a "birther" proponent questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama.

The justices Monday turned aside without comment a request for a rehearing of various claims, after dismissing the original appeal in late January.

The long-shot petition by Gregory Hollister had called on Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to withdraw from considering the constitutional claims, contending a conflict of interest by the president's two high court appointees.

Lower federal claims had dismissed Hollister's claims.

The justices had also dismissed earlier, unrelated lawsuits from individuals questioning Obama's citizenship. State birth certificate records show he was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother is a native of Kansas; his father was born in Kenya.

Among the claims of various "birther" movement organizers are that the president was born in Kenya or Indonesia; that his birth certificate is a forgery; and that he had dual American-British citizenship at birth because of his father's Kenyan heritage and therefore is not a "natural born" citizen, as is required to be eligible for president under the U.S. Constitution.

That clause states, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."

The grass-roots legal issue has gained little legal or political footing, but continues to persist in the courts.

The Obama administration did not file, and the high court did not demand, a formal government response to this latest legal claim from Hollister, who said in his appeal he is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.

The high court will often insist the Justice Department weigh in with its views on a particular constitutional issue, or when a top government official or agency is being sued, a strong sign the justices would be seriously considering accepting the appeal.

Obama and his staff produced copies of his birth certificate when he was running for president in 2008, and have previously dismissed questions over his citizenship.

The respondent in the case was labeled as "Barry Soetoro," the name Hollister said Obama used when he was a child living in Indonesia with his family. The case is Hollister v. Soetoro (10-678).

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in July found that 71% of Americans believed Obama definitely or probably was born in the United States, while 27% said he definitely or probably was not. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The largest support for the idea he was definitely or probably not born in the United States was among Republicans, at 41%, compared with Independents, at 29%, and Democrats, at 15%. The sampling error for that breakdown was plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.


Filed under: Birthers • Supreme Court
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. David

    These "birthers" do a great job at making an issue where none exists, and then keeping it alive forever. They're complete morons.

    March 7, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. cworthee

    The man was born in Hawaii. You can’t fake a birth announcement in a newspaper. Well, if you have a time machine it is possible. Wait… Isn’t this a waste of time? Even if he was born abroad, his mother is a U.S. citizen. So he is a U.S. citizen; unless you take away his mother’s citizenship for marrying an African. OHHHH or is that the real problem.
    Birthers should check their own certificates and stop this conspiracy nonsense.
    P.S. I was born abroad to a U.S. citizen and my citizenship has never been questioned. I served in the Navy for over twenty years and held every security clearance there is. So Birthers need to take off the aluminum hats, get refunds on their asteroid insurance policies and stop digging the bomb shelters under their homes.

    March 7, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Dave

    The constitution provides that a president must be born a US citizen, not necessarily born in the United States. A person who is born in another country to a parent who was a US citizen at the time of his/her birth is technically considered to be born a US citizen. President Obama was born in Hawai'i. His mother was a US citizen at the time of his birth. The latter alone makes him a natural-born US citizen.

    March 7, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Donna

    And don't forget this one small thing, Obama was relatively unknown to most of the country and had become a millionaire due to writing his own autobiography. He was just a new state rep when he , inexplicably, decided one day that he wanted to run for president and boom! he's elected... I am not saying this to be racist as I'm sure some folks will scream that's what I'm doing and not intending to be offensive either but IMHO, Obama got elected for the color of his skin and "to make history". wooo That is not a legitimate reason to vote for someone. He has no experience running a business or even knows much about .. hmm come to think of it, what exactly is his work history prior to becoming a new state rep?

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Human Gene

    Ummm... DB... five of the nine current justices were appointed by Republicans. But then why would you want to adulterate your brilliant analysis with facts or logic? Like Robert suggests, pursue the aliens trying to steal your thoughts.

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    The President has nothing to hide. Extreme Right wing has been trying to find dirt on this guy since 2008. There is no dirt to find. He shows a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii and the extreme right wing still needs "more proof". This is a waste of media. Anna listens to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity apparently. Before implementing ANY policy, Limbaugh admitted that he wanted Obama to fail. Obviously some of his politics are flawed, but that's giving the man 2 strikes before he even steps to bat. Keep it moving people..There is nothing to see here...

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Snoop

    Everyone should note that birthers are NOT representative of the GOP or TEA Party politics.. they're tinfoil hats, the same as the people who think that our government was responsible for 9/11 and every other whacked out conspiracy.

    As much as we don't care for Obama, he's the duly elected president, at least until January 2013.

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. JP

    will these people ever give up?? no.....they'll continue to argue that everything he did was illegal, they don't get it that in order to even be able to run for president you must pass a certain set of requirements that are heavily scrutinized such as, being a natural born us citizen.....if he wasn't, he wouldn't have been able to run! period!!! end of the story!!!

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. mark

    You know the funny thing is that you can still be a "natural born us citizen" and still have been born outside of the US. Being "naturally born" does not imply that one has to be born in territorial borders of the US. In fact, if at least one parent is a US citizen, and they have a child in a foreign country, then all they would need to do is register the birth at the closest US embassy or consulate and ...voila, the child is a natural born citizen of the US, which means he or she can run for the office of presidency if they so choose to. The Birthers, Tea partiers, and the uneducated seem to have never gotten the memo.

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. john

    Was his mother not a American citizen? That right there makes him a American citizen even if he was born on the moon. End discussion.

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Ksobserver

    And the birthers just won't accept the fact they are wrong. The biggest problem is Obama is 1/2 black.

    March 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. tankrothchild

    Wait. Doesn't the whole "checks and balances" thing mean the supreme court should be remotely concerned with the legitimacy of the president. Just sayin.

    March 7, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Stan Sutherland

    We've got REAL problems in this country. Why do these crackpots continue to waste their time and energy, and that of our institutions, on this BOGUS issue? Let's move on to the real stuff, kiddies!

    March 7, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Baraka Flacka

    The President has nothing to hide. Extreme Right wing has been trying to find dirt on this guy since 2008. There is no dirt to find. He shows a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii and the extreme right wing still needs "more proof". This is a waste of media. Anna listens to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity apparently. Before implementing ANY policy, Limbaugh admitted that he wanted Obama to fail. Obviously some of his politics are flawed, but that's giving the man 2 strikes before he even steps to bat. Keep it moving people..There is nothing to see here...

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Rj

    The best reason for Obama NOT to end this debate, is that it keeps the birthers (and the party or parties with which they associate) look like idiots. The best strategy, and the one I believe Obama will follow, is not to respond, and so keep the birthers in the press, and so discredit their parties.

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. mkelley

    Let's see, the 2 newspapers in Hawaii would have had to lie 2 days after his birth. The republican governor of Hawaii who certified his birth prior to the election would have had to lie. The State Dept office that issued him a passport when he was a child would have had to lie. And I guess the conservative Supreme Court is now lying to protect Obama. All this lying would have had to take place from 2 days after his birth thru today. And people believe this lying nonsense??–I don't think so, instead I think it is downright bigotry going on here. And this is half of the republican party–if so, they are so doomed.

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    If he is a legitimate citizen there should be no problem coming forward with the proof!

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Stanchman

    Hey, I hear the world is flat.. birthers please look into this..

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Katie

    It's just so incredible that people view this as the SCOTUS hiding or covering up something. Really? Really???? Does anyone seriously think, especially in today's exceptionally polarized, wickedly anti-Obama climate, that a thing like that could be hidden or covered up? The man is a US citizen. Deal with it. SCOTUS has much more important things to spend their time on, and so do you folks.

    March 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. MarcyD

    There are people out there that will never be satisfied about this issue. He isn't hiding anything...he has given the proper authorities all the documents necessary to establish US citizenship. Copies of his birth certificate are on the internet for anyone to see. If each of these birthers were to personally be given a certified copy they would still claim it was a forgery.

    March 7, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Kent Sakamakato

    He may have been born in Hawaii, but his mother revoked his US citizenship (technicality, but true) when he took on Indonesian citizenship as an under 18 child and he filed college financial aid papers as an international student. Birth certificates only prove so much. It's what happens after that birth. And McCain was born to a U.S. father (servicemember) overseas. Natual Born U.S. Citizen.....end of story on that end.

    March 7, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Rio Grande Roadkill

    It isn't up to the Supreme Court. The vetting of a candidate for any office is supposed to be done by the sponsoring organization, in this case the DNC. Until the Democrats produce tangible vetting, I will not vote for ANY Democratic candidate for ANY office.
    I don't understand why this ever became an issue. Either he is or isn't eligible. If so, he could produce evidence as such and end this crap. Couldn't you ? Wouldn't you ?

    March 7, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Adam

    The funny thing about this is that by believing that Obama was elected to office despite not being a citizen, the birthers are claiming that the entire government is in on it. Every Senator, every Congressman, every other candidate that ran, the Supreme Court, all of them. They all gave their ok for him to run, they all believe him to be a legal citizen of the U.S. and to meet the requirements to run for President. The reason the Supreme Court won't touch this is because they don't have to. Why even dignify it with a response when it's a complete non-issue? They have much more important things to worry about than the delusions of people who just don't like Obama and are willing to look for ANY excuse to say he can't/shouldn't be the president. Get over it. He won, fair and square and under the law of the land. He is the President. Don't like it? Show up and vote in larger numbers next time. Sorry. That's how this country works.

    March 7, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. John from TN

    This whole debate is worthless. If President Obama was not born in the USA he could never have become President, period. He has produced his birth certificate and nothing more is needed. The conservatives are destroying our country a little bit at a time. Look what President Obama walked into, a total economic and foriegn policy nightmare. When he is elected for a second term the country will be put back on a reasonable track.

    March 7, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Al

    Due to the procedures, paperwork, etc. one has to go thru to run for President... if he wasn't a legal US citizen, he wouldn't have been legally allowed to run in the first place. Those are the basic facts. Pretty simple to understand. For most people... obviously excluding the loud few who obviously don't get it.

    March 7, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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