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

SCOTUS rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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 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. Former republican army wife

    Good. This was a joke. Some people are pathetic, sore losers. The election is over, get over it!

    December 8, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. proud army and navy mom

    will you losers get over it. Obama is our new president, if you don't like it leave!

    December 8, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. AJ

    Leo Donofrio needs to increase his medication. He is not being rational.

    December 8, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. BB

    Those whack jobs just want to get their 15 minutes of fame. Tell them to go on the Dobbs Rant Hour. (No one watches it since he got away from illegal immigrants).

    December 8, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Al, NY NY

    Here's a comment for lost. Get over it

    December 8, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Brook Mantia

    I hope these clowns go broke chasing their fantasies.

    December 8, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. cherrystrawberry

    Hopefully this right wing nuts will stop the madness now.

    December 8, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Maggie

    Oh, good grief! The guy's an American citizen! Just because McCain lost, some are going to be sore losers.

    Talk about the shoe being on the other foot - when Bush won, all the Bushies told the voters who didn't vote for Bush to deal with it - he was president.

    Guess what?

    Obama won.

    So all who didn't vote for Obama - deal with it. He's president.

    Let's see if you can take it as well as dish it out.

    December 8, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Mickie

    It's is so crazy that bigots will go to any length to keep everyone else from being equal. I didn't heare this much todo about the babies illegal aliens have while they are in this country being considered citizens and therefore their parents can stay.

    December 8, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Sheila43302

    I hope this guy is satisfied with his 15 minutes of fame, and, like Sarah Palin, will just go away.

    December 8, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Kim

    Get over it. He's an American Citizen. And the next President of the United States. Let's move on.

    December 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Jackie

    He is just looking to be in the spotlight. What a fool!

    December 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. sick n tired

    Would this guy be making as big of a deal out of this if John McCain won the election? HE WAS BORN IN PANAMA! Makes a person wonder!

    December 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Honestlady

    Obama was born in many times does he have to present his birth certificate. All this doesn't matter anyways....even if he wasn't born in the U.S....his mother was a United states citizen.

    I don't understand their argument. Are they trying to say that the millions of children who are born to parents in the Military who might be stationed in other countries can never be president? Just ridiculous. If your parent or parents are U.S. citizens and you just happen to be born in another are automatically a U.S. citizen as well.

    December 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. David Goldman



    December 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Mike Files

    Oh no, now the dttoheads have proof that the Supreme Court is now in the tank for Obama along with the media!

    That is certainly a wide reaching conspiracy to promote his soclialistic agenda.

    December 8, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. MICK from MESA

    Finally this absurdity by this neocon whack job comes to an end – Unless of course your from W. VA, TN or KY...

    December 8, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Wizard from San diego

    People are so desperate...they can't get over the fact that we have a President elected by the majority of voters. I wonder if when Mr. Berg sees the original birth certificate and it says that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, he will say that the certificate is false and there's a conspiracy to keep Obama in the White House. Ridiculous!

    December 8, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Mobius

    Niiiice. Still none of our business, huh? That's not Change, nor Transparency. Fooled again, how's it feel?

    December 8, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. beckster


    December 8, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Steve in Charlotte

    Way to waste the court's time. What losers.

    December 8, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. charlie

    I'm glad you brought up the fact that if one is born in the US then they are considered naturalized, because many of the suits brought up against Obama is that he was born in Kenya and not in Hawaii. Just because you say he was born in Hawaii doesn't make it so. Where is the Naturalized Birth Certificate, not the new certificate they placed on the web where you could see the stamp 2007 bleeding through the paper.

    December 8, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Warrior

    Satan what will you try next the Bible clearly states that God appoints who governs us wether we agree with it or not, but this time you got the wrong man we will fight , not by our might nor by our power but the Spirit of the Living God!!!

    December 8, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Peggy the Unemployed

    I don't understand why these people continue to insist Obama is not a natural born citizen when proof has been shown over and over that he is. Are they inspired by racism, or are they just afraid that a different sort of person has been elected president. They should just get over it.

    December 8, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. indy 08

    These nutcase deadenders rethugs will never stop. Clarence Thomas is a rightwing tool and is very envious of Obama. I can't believe he had the nerve to question Obama's citizenship,the guy is a product of affimative action which he rejects, he is a disgrace to the SCOTUS.

    December 8, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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