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. Joey G

    Is Donofrio being paid by the non-capacitated Republican Party, a smear that is not only for Obama but the entire American citizens who voted him into his presidency.
    Perhaps we should question Donofrio instead as maybe he is a Latino illegal alien because of his last name.
    DONOFRIO – Welcome to America, NOW GO HOME.

    December 8, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Havoc

    Where did you see a ceritified copy of the Birth Certificate showing Kenya as place of birth?
    Just because you say it doesn't make it so.

    December 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. James Orleans

    Once again, shotty reporting by the mainstream media. No official copy of Obama's birth certicate has been shown to anyone in the media. If it had, these questions would have gone away a long time ago.

    Alan Keyes is suing the California SOS alleging she never verified Obama's eligibility, i.e. place of birth. He has standing. He will get access to the actual certificate of birth. I sincerely hope Mr. Obama's actual certificate of birth states he was born in Hawaii, or we've all ben hoodwinked.

    December 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    To CattleCar

    Thank you for the honest update, but until W is impeached, I cannot support your view. Nobody is perfect 🙂

    December 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. BryantA

    Let's have a small review of the nutjobs behind all this :

    There's Jerome Corsi, who's best known as the co-author of the book that launched the Swift boat vets; he's a chief proponent of the claim that the government is secretly planning to form a "North American Union" with Canada and Mexico. Philip Berg, who filed the lawsuit that had until now drawn the most public attention, is a 9/11 Truther. Andy Martin, who's credited with starting the myth that Obama is a Muslim and has been intimately involved in the birth certificate mess as well, was denied admission to the Illinois bar because of a psychiatric evaluation that showed he had "moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character." He also has a long history of anti-Semitism. Robert Schulz, who's responsible for the ads in the Tribune, is a fairly notorious tax protester. In 2007, a federal judge ordered Schulz to shutter his Web site because he and his organization were, in the words of the Justice Department's Tax Division, using the site to promote "a nationwide tax-fraud scheme."

    December 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Cool Hand

    I fail to see this man's logic. The U.S. is basically an immigrant country. Everyone's ancestor's originally came from somewhere else (native Americans excepted). Would he close the door, not only on new Americans, but on history?

    December 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Sherrol

    It's about time.........

    December 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. emily

    John McCain was born in Panama, yet no one seems to question his citizenship...

    December 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Independent In NY

    Suck it up neocons, your day is OVER!!!!

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

    "cattlecar" you like drama – go find it somewhere else. This is such an old stupid story, please give it up, Obama is the next President of the United States.

    December 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Truly Glad

    I am so glad that this nonsense is over with. "Cattlecar", with your comments, you MUST be under the influence of something illegal.

    Hail to our new POTUS, Barack Obama!

    December 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. al/Alabama

    Sometimes you just can't fix stupid.

    December 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Angel

    I am a Kenyan...Obama was not born in Kenya...these people are crazy. If that's the case then anyone born in the states to a foreign father must renounce the U,.S citizenship ASAP. Because they are not LEGITIMATE CITIZENS.....That means everyone in the States because this land belonged to Indians first

    December 8, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    Good JOB Supreme Court. Some Americans still have hate in their heart and souls, and will continue to use the Internet to give them reasons to continue this non-sense of smears towards President Elect Obama. One must re-examine themselves, and the truth is "CHANGE STARTS WITHIN YOU". Now! Do you honestly think Obama would have gotten this far if he had any eligibility concerns to be president ???

    December 8, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. SGC

    I never want to hear Republicans blame Democrats for the litigiousness of our country.

    December 8, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. PDX Gal

    Take off your tinfoil hat and seek help.

    December 8, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. JL

    So, using that logic, if your ancestors are from a different country, you are not eligible to be president, even if you were born here. That means the only people eligible for the office are native americans.

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. The problem

    To "cattlecar":

    GET A LIFE, PLEASE!!!!!!! Who cares what you think, he's the president and THAT'S IT!!!!!

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. JLH

    Good! This HACK of an attorney should be stripped of the right to practice law...BITTER, SORE LOSER!!!! Talk about your frivolous law suits!

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Love Bird

    Sing with me: Let it go, Let it go, Let it go.

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas

    Sorry fellas but like it or not the US is going to have an African-American president. I am glad the courts decided NOT to get tied up in such a silly lawsuit when we have more important things going on right now in our country to deal with.

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Jen

    cattlecar – If the records are sealed, how would you know what was stamped what? I suppose that means you had the incredible foresight to check into the documents before they were sealed, but not the simple common sense to take a picture or make a copy. Right?

    Forgive me if I don't think you're the most reliable source of information.

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. JIM

    SCOTUS made the right decision! The dumb nut that wanted Obama not to be POTUS elect, didn't want McCain to be POTUS elect either.

    God Bless Democracy

    December 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. TWM

    On reading some of the above comments, I know where the Roswell crowd has been doing lately.
    Give it a rest!

    December 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Jim

    A fitting end to possibly the dumbest bit of legal mumbo-jumbo since the Dred Scott decision.

    As if the folks who brought you endless months of Rev. Wright, William Ayers and "Obama is a socialist" wouldn't have leapt upon this little tidbit if it were, in fact, true.

    December 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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