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. Wake UP America

    If Obama is a US BORN CITIZEN then why is there not a LIVE -BIRTH certificate the has been shown to the public. What has been shown is a document that is NOT an actual birth certificate. Apparently, there was some info about the Grandmother telling that he was born in Kenya. When it was being investigated, the hospital in Kenya would not allow the investigation. Wonder why....? Do they have something to hide? If they did not, then they should have been ok with this investigation. And.. do you really trust the CIA and FBI? Look at the situation in Iraq? So... the Grandmother is no longer alive. Isn't that a coincidence.....? The one Obama threw under the bus during the campaign...that had the answers to the questions, but was probably kept from speaking to anyone... What a shame....

    December 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. mark from Buffalo, NY

    another snap case nut job. will they ever cease?

    December 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Rick, which is a non-partisan group with impeccable credentials, have examined the birth certificate, held it in their hands, and have declared it 100% authentic.

    Case closed.

    December 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Tiff of lithia springs

    This was a waste of time and money! We need to got back to the colonial stockade methods for this village idiot!


    December 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Nikole

    @ Skye-I cannot find my original birth certificate, therefore, I get to use a certificate of birth that I got earlier this year, in a font that did not exist when I was born. That is NOT proof that I am not a citizen. Get a life and move on!

    December 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Pistolp7

    This whole case regarding Obama's citizenship was BOGUS and has been settled by SCOTUS and now he will be POTUS. Thank you everyone, and goodnight!!!

    December 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Trudy

    Thanks Veteran in Kansas. Wow. Obama must really be a gift, something magnificent if this is the best that people can do against him. Please everyone, come up with something better that is legitimate if you don't like him or SUPPORT our new leader and get to the business of making the country better, instead of spewing lies and hate on here and going to work and mingling with your minority co-workers like everything is cool...oh, is that just me it happens to? He wrote his first book long before the Presidency entered his mind where he details his birth. His mother did not know he would run so what reason would there be to tell him he was born here all of these years if he was not? Admit it everyone, people still cannot handle his intelligence or his colour. The sooner people are honest with themselves, the better they will sleep at night. There is entirely too much rage in peoples' minds and hearts and not for the right reasons at all.

    December 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Lets talk about more important things people

    For all of you Republicans who wish to think that Obama is not a U.S. citizen, I want to see the same fight when Bobby Jindal runs in 2012. I don't have a problem with him, in fact as a Democrat I like him, but I can guarantee you, there will not be talk of his "citizenship" (he's an American) or religion (he's a Catholic). Try not to show your ignorance that because someone looks different does not mean he is not American. You need to get over it already and talk about how to bring the ailing economy back. Some of you are grossly underpaid because you have all the answers and seem to be "smarter" than everyone else. My answer, move to Washington, contact your local congress to make a difference, but I challenge that none of you will.

    December 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Jack

    "The survival of our country is at stake..." – katiec @ 11:59am

    Exaggerate much?

    December 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. bob

    Obama's mother is an American, doesn't matter if he was born on Mars, that makes him a natural born citizen. The rest of you people are just sore losers or sad conspiracy theory nuts. Get a life and lets get on with cleaning up the huge mess we have in America instead of playing these partisan witch hunt games.

    December 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. MsBingo

    All you soreloser cons crack me up.

    December 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. george

    some ppl just can get over the loose of mcpain..cnn post this pls

    December 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Once you vote Black

    I am sorry you are so upset about this. Emotions aside lets look at the facts we do have. Who do you think is holding his papers under key in Hawaii? The state? A Bank? Obama is born of a nice White, Kansas US Citizen, it would not matter if his dad was a goat from the foot hills of Tasmania. It would not mater if he was born in Indonesia, the moon, or Uranus. Her fresh clean white blood makes him a citizen. That one drop of American Arian Blood gives him the keys to the palace. If he is being accused of something does not that put the burden of proof on you? You should read up on what it takes to be an American before you blow a gasket.

    December 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Skye

    No, I did not vote for Hillary. And I love how that could be the only motivation. You people have such simplistic mindsets that you have disregard the concept of something being true or false, regardless of your party affiliation or interest. This is a matter of is he lying or is he telling the truth. A case to get to the bottom of this should be not be thrown out, it should be investigated. And again, if you look at the actual evidence presented surrounding the forgery that is the certificate of live birth on the website, including an incorrect 2007 border on the supposedly 2008 document (among all the other inconsistencies), it is obvious that the document was altered. Open up your minds and get past the right vs. left paradigm that you are chained in and investigate the truth. Stop believing what you are being trained to believe by your media masters and use logic and reasoning to investigate this, observing the facts. It looks like, due to ignorance and disregard of critical thinking, we will have our first illegal alien "president" come January.

    December 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Chris

    @ skye

    Your quote:
    "He got his real, original documents locked up in Hawaii so nobody could see them. What is he hiding? The burden of proof is on him and he REFUSES to reveal the truth."

    Actually, in this country you are innocent until proven guilty – if you or Berg has evidence he is lying – PROVE IT! You cannot make accusations then demand proof of innocence. And I guarantee you don't have the original copy of your birth certificate, you have a certified copy – just like Obama.

    Your right though, the ignorance on this site is astounding.

    December 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. marla from Florida

    I am glad the Supreme Court rejected this case. Some people have way to much time on their hands. Before one can run for many state or national offices citizenship is proven. Too bad the misguided and ill informed could not have found a better way in spending money instead of wasting it on this nonsense.

    December 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Aaron from Ohio

    The frivilous lawsuits will keep coming one after another. You get looney tunes who have too much time and too much money on their hands and the cases wind up in the Supreme Court.

    December 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. sunshine

    this is childish, no wonder people have lost respect for the republican party.

    December 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. please

    for those you you conspiracy theorists, try reading the whole article before commenting –

    "although the campaign posted a copy of it online this summer"

    How is Obama hiding his birth certificate again? Please explain....

    December 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Tiff of lithia springs


    Dude! just say know to DRUGS!

    December 8, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Drew

    I find it highly amusing that after the current administration has successfully trampled the Constitution by taking away our civil liberties and granting the president an absurd amount of power, the same individuals that supported those transgressions now wish to pick up the tattered remains of the supreme law of land, tie it to a stick upside down, and wave it in distress.

    Obama Won, McCain lost. McCain showed why he is a great American during his concession speech. Please stop miring that by the fact that you cannot admit defeat.

    December 8, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. proudliberal

    hahaha! stoopid repubs! i hope it cost that moron a small fortune in legal fees. lol!

    December 8, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Vero

    I can't believe anyone would waste the courts time with this issue, but I guess after having a joke of a president like Bush for the past eight years some people might think anything is possible.

    December 8, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Sharon Plainfield NJ


    December 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. SJR

    As we all know, Barack Obama did graduate from Havard Law so I'm pretty sure he knows the law very well and would not try to run for president if he was not a natural born citizen.

    December 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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