High court turns aside another lawsuit questioning Obama citizenship
March 7th, 2011
10:47 AM ET
9 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. Finch

    This decision will not ally the birthers. There is nothing that can convince those folks who believe everything is a "matter of opinion." This new way of thinking is at the heart of disregard for scientific inquiry in the US today. It is also behind the lack of repect for teaching professionals we see in so many state legislatures. George Bush, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and their ilk lead the charge against scholarly thought. I think it is an attempt to disguise their own lack of intellectual inquiry, inability, and depth. It is leading our country back into the dark ages of supersition and blind religious ferver.

    Facts are facts. Straight forward.

    March 7, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. kevin

    This is a fairly easy argument. Got proof? Nope? (thought so, now shaddup) I mean anything short of you having a home video of Obama coming out of his mom's womb in a delivery room in Indonesia won't help much.

    Some counter-proof from these idiots would be nice, considering Obama has a newspaper article, a birth certificate and eye witnesses on his side.

    March 7, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    although I'd like to think this is the end of it, I will surely be proven wrong as more deluded birthers chime in with their ridicuous sour grapes. Truly pathetic but what do you expect from the right wing?

    March 7, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. John

    I am I imagining it, but the last few pictures I have seen of Sarah Palin makes her look a lot more like Alice Cooper. Probably knows less about world affairs than he does.

    March 7, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. D

    OK, lets humor these bright folks...

    So what happens if it is proven he was not born here? Are you going to get in your time machine and go back to 2008 and not allow him to run? Are the last few years going to be erased from the worlds history?

    Seriously...what will you do if this is proven to be true except go "See, I told you?"

    If you spent this much time and money on improving education then you and your children would be smart enough to know how ridiculous this really is. Help yourself.

    March 7, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. big~tuna

    The rest of the world looks at folly like this and just laughs at the United States and all it's frivolity in times of real crisis.

    March 7, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Ed @Anna

    Anna it has been proven The governor of Hawaii confirmed the document with the raised seal is the correct document for the State of Hawaii. The Supreme court is refusing to hear the argument becasue hearing it would legitamize it. The President can not control what cases the Supreme court will hear so his not hiding anything. I think his a bad president but he is a citizen and legally elected so he is our president until the next election. We need to stop wasting the countries time an d effort on this and move on to fixing problems If your going to dislike Obama do it cause he sucks or because is dangerously under qualified not because you want to use a failed arguement that his not a citizen.

    March 7, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Bill

    I have to provide a birth certificate and social security card to get a passport. I am sure that the election committee required these same documents in order to PROVE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP in order to run for president!!! It is foolish that these people can continue to pester President Obama, and this country with frivilous lawsuits. For those of you who say that if President Obama has nothing to hide, then he should just prove his is a citizen, I find this insulting.

    March 7, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Anonymous

    This nonsense is purely racially motivated tea party paranoia over a Black president. Nothing more. Despite the slim Republican majority and corporate interest on the SCOTUS, there is at least a shred of reason. Good decision, IMO.

    March 7, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Black Man

    There is a easier way to shut up the so called birthers. OBAMA show everyone your long for birth cirtificate. The problem will go away or may show what some may already know. Settle this.

    March 7, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    Any candidate seeking the republican nomination and entertains the birther notion, they should not be considered seriously for office.

    March 7, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. PeterD

    "The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a so-called "birther" advocate to examine whether President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States" Hypothetically even if let's say BARRY is not then also The Supreme Court does not have balls to correct it. It is too little to late. America has a so called PRIDE and does not want WORLD EMBRRASSMENT.

    March 7, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Will

    For those of you still complaining that the courts won't look into this situation, you must realize there are 5 justices who are either bedrock conservatives or lean conservative. Do you honestly think they would engage in a cover-up to protect a so called liberal (socialist) President. Get real people and get over it. Obama won and is President whether you like it or not!!!!

    March 7, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. NameTonya

    Yes, it's about time someone puts a stop to all this silliness.

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Mike

    Obama is more American then Sarah Palin! I connect more with him and his message then some moose killer from Alaska who has no clue that public servents are supposed to work for the public not there own bank accounts.

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. R. Diane

    Yes, ignorance is bliss. Put it all on the table, Mr Obama.....those that believe Mr Obama is not backing a SOCIALIST agenda need to review their 8th grade government lessons...how quick some are to drink the kool-aid of "Give me" If you were surrounding yourself by ballet dancers, would one not assume you had a passion for ballet?

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Dave

    It doesn't matter. Regardless of the truth there will always be Republican voters evil and stupid enough to believe the Birther lies. You can't fix people who are broken on the inside.

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. PeterD

    "The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a so-called "birther" advocate to examine whether President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States" Hypothetically even if let's say BARRY is not then also The Supreme Court does not have honesty to correct it. It is too little to late. America has a so called PRIDE and does not want WORLD EMBRRASSMENT.

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Reality

    Why waste time on this and just start the impeachment process for his administration not defending the D.O.M. Act, and allowing guys with club batons to stand outside of a polling place, with Eric Holder's blessing. Then after that, we should pull the voting records for everyone that voted for him, and charge them with treason. Liberalism is a disease of the mind. There is no cure, as there is no measurement capable of determining that depth of utter narrow minded ignorance.

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Anonymous

    If this current ultra conservitive roberts supreme court won't bother with this case, that really tells you how far gone these "birthers" are. Let's try to solve a few issues that actually matter

    March 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. BradInMaine

    We are dealing with a very basic constitutional question. One has very specific requirements to be qualified to be President of the US. Yes, the definitions can be confusing which is why eligibility questions have been raised concerning other people in the past. Every candidate for President should be required to prove they are eligible for the office to be allowed on the ballot. I am not a "birther" or a part of any movement or organization. I just want the Constitution to be upheld. Prove where you are born and that includes any candidate – not just Obama. I have no problem with him being President – "we" elected him. But, provide the proof.

    March 7, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Coherent1

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. –MLK and/or Mark Twain; Nevertheless worth repeating.

    March 7, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Amunaka

    Thjs is so silly ..how the hello did he do the things he was doing all these years without being asked for a birth certificate ..jeeeeze you gotta show a birth certificate for everything ..let alone working for the government ..do you mean to tell me Obama was never vetted ...please people think before you fall into the "happily misinformed and proud of it " category....

    March 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. David

    These are the same pinheads that think Bush had the WTC intentionally blown up, and that the missions to the moon were filmed on a soundstage.

    They are an embarrassment to the United States... and to themselves...

    March 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Horvath

    I have no doubt he was born in the US. However, to this point I don't think he's shown the birth certificate, has he? It's a very simple task one would think: Here, here it is. Be done with it! Instead, he continues to let it be an issue. I suspect it's actually wise for him to let it keep going so that the 'birthers' can stay in the news and look absurd while he does not.

    I think it's a legitimate question to ask for his birth certificate considering he's been around the block to a few different places. What's the harm? Show the certificate and be done with it already.

    March 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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