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. Tea Partier

    Could this one just go away already? His mother is/was a US Citizen hence him being one also. Move along now.

    March 7, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Sara

    Oh come on, what is the matter with these people. This is so out of control to question if Obama is a US citizen. What a waste of our tax dollars. How come no one questioned the Govenor of California Arnold. If Obama were not black they would not question this at all. But they won't be honest about that. I find this so very disrespectful to the leader of our country.

    March 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Charlie in Maine

    It would be un-seemly for the President to take the time to sue the birthers but I am wondering if I as a private citizen could sue these idiots for wasting the government's time on this. There is a lot of "stuff" going on and any time that these folks take up is wasted.

    March 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. gt

    let this dog die.. there is another election soon... get over it ...he is our president...ugh

    March 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Steven

    Everyone who seems to think that the Supreme Court's decision not to hear this case leaves the question of Obama's birth unsettled is very misguided. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case simply because even the right wingers on the court concluded that the claim that Obama was not born in the US has no merit – because the real evidence actually shows that Obama was born in Hawaii.

    March 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Dean

    Here is an alternative explanation for those saying "What are the courts hiding" or "If he has nothing to hide then why not let the courts hear it". The fact is, the courts are already full of nonsensical lawsuits, and it is OBVIOUS that the SCOTUS judges are intelligent enough to see this for what it is – complete and utter nonsense. Those who cling to this ridiculous conspiracy theory should look at themselves and admit they are just fools – but they can't. They have to blame it on some wild conspiracy that makes no sense. This is what I find truly scary...

    March 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Karla

    Are you serious ? Wasn't this checked out before he ran for president. With all the negative things Bush did were you guys are still stuck investigating this? What a waste of $$$

    March 7, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. amac1959

    Doesn't matter if you were born on American soil. If both of your parents are American citizens you automatically acquire American citizenship at birth.

    March 7, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Art

    I strongly advocate private weapon ownership. I strongly advocate free speech.... and all of the other rights we have. I am a Republican. And, I can't believe that the "birthers" are so dense to believe that Mr President was not vetted by the little old ladies in tennis shoes, running around the halls of our beurocratic establishment. How stupid can you be to believe that our processes were not followed? Just a waste of time. He got elected anyway by the mass majority. By the way, what country were the signers of the Declaration of Independance born in? Are we to doubt that they were Americans?

    March 7, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Layla

    This just plain stupid!! Only in America!!

    March 7, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. DB

    It seems that all Presidents that have had a problem with anything have set up independent commissions that would report their findings publically. I am a firm believer that were there is smoke there is fire. So why doesn't this administration put out the fire by providing the water, proof beyond a reasonable doubt other than a copy of a live birth from Hawaii? I am sure there is more proof than the LBC of where he was born. Why, inquiring minds want to know! hahhhahhah

    March 7, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Marcus

    It's scary when you think that they actually vote!!

    March 7, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Lisa

    In order to get a passport you must send your original birth certificate to the State Department. It does NOT have to be the one your mom or dad received when you were born but it must be an original from the state your were born in, with a raised seal. Since President Obama has had a passport for years, it is only logical that at one point he has sent his original birth certificate in to the State Department to renew his passport. Therefore, he has shown his original birth certificate to prove he was born here. Problem solved.

    March 7, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. maf5454

    I don't see how this could be ANY simpler. Chief Justice Roberts administered the Oath of Office to the incoming President elect, Barack H. Obama. The Chief Justice would NOT have administered the Oath to any party that was not eligible to occupy the office.
    On that day orderly transition of power was maintained, in accordance with the law. That is all the idiot “birthers” need to know.

    March 7, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. samot

    once again, Obama gets a free pass and is allowed to operate above the laws of this country. No proof of citizenship, never showed his school transcript, did not show past years tax statements , etc. Virtually every other presidential candidate in the history of USA had to do this .... but , noooo, not Osama Obama.

    March 7, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. naynayaz

    Wow! I can't believe they are still on this topic! What a joke! This country is having larger issues than that and all they can think about is whether or not President Obama was born here. Give it up!

    March 7, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. TOM

    If Hilary Clinton couldn't find evidence to uproot Mr. Obama during the election then no one can because it doesn't exist. Also, Mr. Obama is not under any burden of proof. It is the burden of anyone else challenging him to prove he is NOT a US born citizen.

    March 7, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Publius13

    This is just further proof to the Birthers that the SCOTUS is a liberal conspiracy.

    March 7, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Jack

    Amazing that this is still going...his birth certificate is posted on-line. I don't get what they think there is some 'real' birth certificate somewhere. How do they explain the Hawaii birth notices? One huge conspiracy.lol...insane people

    March 7, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. ells cats

    why is it such a problem to just confirm Presidient was born in the US. Does anyone else out there have proof. That is all I would like to see. Nothing elsie.

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

    SOTUS isn't going to listen to this case because the data submitted by obama has been verified accurate. Its time to move forward. If you don't want obama as president, don't vote for him but wasting your mental/emotional energy in this fashion is utter nonsense. I also take issue with some of obama's policies but the birther thing, the black guy thing, the socialist/marxist/communist thing is a smoke screen for a republican group of candidates who haven't the foggiest idea what the do to get this country started. The only thing that they can bring to us is frivolity about the president's childhood. pathetic and why he was voted in in the first place. Put a real candidate in front of us. Someone who is willing to discuss solving problems. I am not listening to anything else. Many other americans are thinking the same thing. We have no one to vote for but obama.

    March 7, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Robin Bray

    How much time and money is wasted on this nonsense? Even idiots get their day in court under the American system. What else do they want?

    March 7, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Billy/Bob117

    Why will not the non citizen unlock his birth records and his education records. Why has the non citizen spent over $1.5M to keep this all a secret. Why cannot that stupid lackey governor in Hawaii locate the true live birth document. The non citizen traveled to Pakistan in the early 80s. Since the USA was not allowing any travel to that country, please tell me what country's passport did he travel under. Why was no back ground investigation completed on the non citizen like other contenders for the WH. Believe me this is not going away and it will come up again to the SCOTUS. Thank you for all being proud of having a non citizen be in the WH.

    March 7, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Dee

    Nothing will satisfy these so-called birthers it is a waste of the Supreme Courts time. It is so said to see how people are denigrating this President. No other President has been under such scrutiny it is all about the color of his skin and his name.
    People need to get over this non-sense and set an example for the young people of this country.

    RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL whoever the next President is I will be watching to see if he is treated in this manner, if President Obama is not elected again.
    If the President says the sky is blue there are some that will not believe him no matter what he says.

    March 7, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. sameeker

    By the doctrine of jus sanguinis, Obama is am American no matter where he was born because one of his parents was an American. This is the same for any child born to American parents overseas. Or are these birthers going to say that children born to military families overseas are not Americans either?

    March 7, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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