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. Tony

    These rightwing nuts are the same people who want to restrict the right to sue for everyone else.

    December 8, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Larry, IL

    He's a whole lot better than President Goofball.

    Move on, stop wasting our tax dollars with this nonsense. Americans have spoken and Barack will be our next president.

    Also, after the courts selected that idiot Bush, they shouldn't have anything to say. They were morons to saddle the country in 2000 with an inept bumblehead. He couldn't run a PTA.

    December 8, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. JL

    Both sides are guilty of emotional overreaction to this subject. Sure, right-wing nuts, crazy conservatives and sore losers will react with lawsuits and public verbal attacks while the left-wingers and other nutjobs will go into the 'i can't believe you would question my lord and savior obama' phase or the 'you're just a racist' rant. Both sides are guilty throughout the election, but as an immediate response tot his article I would agree with 'Candice, CA' in that he has a right to file, he filed, he lost, it's over – Go USA.

    December 8, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Jenn

    For all of you calling the people questioning Obama's citizen idiots, shame on you.
    Although I do not agree with their thinking, the day people are stopped from questioning what our goverment and it's elected oficial are doing is the day this Great nation will disappear.

    December 8, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. ck in Colo

    The only real Americans are those who greeted the English when they got off the Mayflower. We are all transplants and immigrants.

    December 8, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. Debra in CA

    GET OVER IT! We have elected a wonderful new President of the United States of America!

    December 8, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Mike

    Candice has it right,
    as much as laughable the thin is, he has the right to sue.
    Let him do it.
    And just laugh at him, we have the right to that.

    Notice that the judge who turned down his appeal is Scalia nonetheless

    December 8, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Wendy NC

    Just to add to the discussion, I am posting a bit out of the AP story which is interesting. (Note: John McCain was included in his suit.)

    The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth — his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject — he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

    Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.

    sting. But my opinion, he was born in Hawaii, he's a natural born citizen – end of story.

    December 8, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. C.T.

    Cattlecar??? Or empty wagon???

    December 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Richard3565

    News Flash! Barack Obama Won!!! The People have spoken!

    December 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Shut up...Please! are is a sad thing that dumb people are allowed to vote....but what's sadder is that fools and idiots know how to get on line and blog.... Which one are you? 🙂

    December 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. zplace

    i wonder if these guy would have sued if McCain would have won. After all he was born in Panama.

    December 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Pauline

    What a waste oif time. Get over it & move on. We have a new President!!

    December 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Brenda, MD

    Every idiot who started this phony Iraq war had two American parents and look where that got us. Barack is smart, he's an American and his mom and grandparents raised him properly.

    He will never start a phony war, torture people, lie to get his way, do nothing while people drown in American cities, and do fly overs for photo opts. Barack will be a great president and he is surrounding himself with people who will make sure that happens.

    I like him, and I can't wait until January 20th. It will be a new day for America and the world.

    God bless America.

    December 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Mrs Mays

    Frank, Frank, get a hold of your brains man. They are scrambled along with Donofrio's. Did you two eat from the same spoon or what?
    What does your birth certificate look like, what does it say? Are you a natural born citizen? What country do you really come from? Better yet, oh foolish one, WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?

    December 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. NY Republican

    Katiec – you're quite right, the country is at stake, crush all opposition, silence all contrary voices, jail the free-thinkers. If this doesn't work there is always the Final Solution. your start to this conversation was spoken like a true NAZI.

    December 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Chuck

    Read the article. Obama's campaign posted his birth certificate on-line once before.

    The Federal Elections Commission has to verify that a candidate is eligible for office before he can be put on the ballot.

    Obama was born in Hawaii two years after it became a state. His mother was an American who was born in Kansas. In fact, everyone on his mother's side was born in the US.

    He was eligible to run according to the Constitution, and the lawsuit had zero merit. The SCOTUS proved as much by refusing to hear it.

    December 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. bernj

    Just more right wing bs it seems to me.

    December 8, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. John

    I hope you reread your post because it makes absolutely no sense what so ever. I was going to take the time to enlighten you but your case is just too deep down in stupidity

    December 8, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Morons To The Right of Me

    This guy is stuck on stupid. Has anyone checked his citizenship?

    December 8, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Anthony

    Obama was born in Hawaii. McCain was born in Panama. Last time I checked Panama is not a state.

    December 8, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. JT

    this is a non- issue . . sour grapes conspiracy theorists. but, unfortunately for them, the SCOTUS is was and always will be the last word on this stuff, and they ain't buyin it. next!

    December 8, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Jenn

    December 8th, 2008 1:51 pm ET

    Incidentally, Hawaii became a state in 1959, well before Barack Obama's birth.

    Hawaii's status doesn't really matter, anyway. If you're born anywhere in the world as the child of a US citizen, you are a US citizen by birthright.

    But once you turn 18 you must declare it's not automatic

    December 8, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Alison B

    It is so obvious that people are so obsessed with Obama that they cannot find anything of real substance to nitpick about so they go after his citizenship give me a BREAK people. The man won fair and square get over it.

    December 8, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. randy

    obama is a true american all this attempt to make him unamerican is for the fact the can stand his smartness.

    December 8, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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