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. cattlecar

    The Congress is responsible for the review of elligibility for the office of President. Votes are meaningless if the candidate does not meet the Constitutional requirements. Obama had his birth records in Hawaii sealed for a reason. The Birth Certificate on file there is stamped Kenya. The certificate of live birth is stamped Hawaii. Obama is not elegible for the office. His signature on a bill will be worth no more than mine.

    December 8, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Cynthia, NJ

    Now Go AWAY.

    December 8, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Feel The Love

    I know, it's hard to digest......but Barack Hussein Obama is the next President of the U.S.A., now get a life!

    December 8, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Scott NYC Independent

    Deeply embedded racism has no limits on how it attempts to rationalize the ridiculous. Stupid is as Stupid does.

    December 8, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Camille

    Barack Obama will be our president January 20, 2009.... GET OVER IT!!!

    December 8, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. maddog

    Why won't Obama just post a copy of the original, long form, signed birth certificate that has the details of his birth, the hospital, the doctor etc.? The only thing posted on SNOPES and Obama's website is just a computer generated database dump, not the original birth certificate. He could shut down all this sniping and BS if he just posted it. He ought to just go ahead and do it so we don't have to continue to hear this stuff.

    December 8, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. HelpTheAmericanPeople

    This retired Lawyer from New Jersey needs to get a life and learn about how one can become a US Citizen.
    It appears he did not understand our laws pretaining to naturalized citizenship.

    This guy is a retired lawyer thank God I would not want this loser representing anyone.

    December 8, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Ted


    December 8, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Get over it

    Some will do anything to stop Barack Hussein Obama from becoming president. I love who & what he is: A brilliant black man born in Hawaii.

    December 8, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Colorado Liberal

    Oh, puh-leaze! This has already been debunked many times before.

    Or have you right-wing nuts forgotten already?

    December 8, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. frank

    Obama is a fake!
    he was born in Kenya
    no birth certificate (not posted online)
    just a certificate of live is not the same
    no doctor delivered him in us the records!
    it is a shame nobody is willing to look into this.....
    it is is breaking the law...
    but who cares, right?
    it is a fraud

    December 8, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. President Barack Obama

    Leo Donofrio.....what a moron this guy is.
    Did you seriously believe you had a chance....

    Let me spell it out for Barack HUSSEIN Obama is your President for the next four ...I'm sorry next EIGHT YEARS!!!

    Deal with it or leave the country ....WHO CARES!!

    December 8, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. natkat

    some people just can't get over themselves can they? bo won. get over it... move on all you republican idiots.

    December 8, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Accountant Guy

    Good job SCOTUS!! Glad to see that you all understand that this country has more important things to focus on, and don't have time to deal with completely ridiculous appeals. Maybe someone should explain to these people that Hawaii is a part of the USA, might be a good idea to use a pop up book to illustrate it!!

    December 8, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Erik

    No matter what, some people will never accept Obama as president. To tie up the SCOTUS with this nonsense is one of the freedoms our new president will keep in place. If he had tried that with GWB, he would have ended up in Gitmo or worse.

    December 8, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Independent voter

    Thank you, now can we please move on from this

    December 8, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Phili

    Find someting else to do with your life. Stop whining like Karl Rove.

    December 8, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. frank

    this was questioned during the campaign!
    the media silenced it...that is all
    Obama is not my president!
    you idiots just look away.......
    he is giving you change all right!!!!

    December 8, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Pamela, NM

    Sore loser. One man thinks he's going to go against what Americans know is right. Barack is an AMERICAN citizen. No one questioned his citizenship when he was a state legislator or Senator, it's only when he wants to become president that this is an issue.

    The court was right.

    December 8, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Jay

    Of course John McCain must be a citizen...he was born in Panama.

    December 8, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. TyWebb

    Alito wanted to hear this case until Ginsburg slapped him.

    December 8, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. appiah

    I'm suspicious of Donofrio's citizenship? Please BCIS check this man's citizenship?

    December 8, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Obot

    I'm so glad that SCOTUS refused to let anyone learn the facts about this issue. Now Obama can rule – and he does! I'm sure now all the anti-Obama whackos will feel appropriatley stupid. How dare they request to see his birth certificate! It's none of their business! Anyway, now the O can go about unifying the country.

    December 8, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. brian

    seriously? still?

    i keep forgetting his a muslim terroirst sleeper cell operative that is bent on destroying the country. He is also employed by the devil and wants to rename the USA the united Al Qaeda republic.

    December 8, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Independent voter

    Hey cattlecar, if Obama's Birth Cert is sealed in Hawaii records with "Kenya" stamped on it. How would you know if the records are sealed??? hahaha....Dude....get a life.

    December 8, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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