December 15th, 2008
11:10 AM ET
14 years ago

Supreme Court rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a second appeal Monday challenging President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court has dismissed a second emergency appeal questioning 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 Cort Wrotnowski, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut.

In his appeal, Wrotnowski claimed 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 Wrotnowski'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."

A similar appeal was rejected a week ago by the high court, from a retired lawyer in New Jersey.

In another lawsuit making its way through the courts, Philip Berg of Pennsylvania alleges the president-elect was actually born in Kenya. Berg claims Hawaiian 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 Wrotnowski v. Bysiewicz (08A469).

soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Joe Six-Pack

    The Wrotnowski case (denied today without comment) alleges two things:

    1. The natural born citizen issue whihc was covered in the article;
    2. That Obama, when adopted by his Indonesian step-father became an Indonesian citizen. This is based on Indonesian law, the school issue (only citizens were permitted to attend public school), adoption laws of Indonesia, etc.

    The supreme court may feel they do not have standing to rule now. Maybe after the electors elect Obama, or afther congress confirms them, then their standing may change.

    I believe there is enough question that it warrants ckearing up. Mybe this is the issue that Biden implied will "test Obama" after Obama takes office?

    December 15, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!


    December 15, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Michael

    Yet another waste of court time and tax money.

    The term "natural born Citizen" is not defined in the Constitution.

    The definition applicable to President-Elect Obama is contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. The question regarding Senator McCain is materially different, as US immigrational and citizenship law was different at the time of his birth.

    A "natural born Citizen" is NOT restricted to birth in the United States or its territories. It is defined as a person born in the United States or territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, OR a person BORN ABROAD "of parents, one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States" under specific conditions of residency – namely, Obama's mother had to be a resident of the United States for five years prior to the birth of Barack Obama. 8 U.S.C. §1401 (a), Section 301 (a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

    My son was born overseas under the same conditions, and he is not a naturalized citizen, he is legally a US citizen at birth.

    December 15, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Ken

    I am disappointed that our high court is following the political agenda instead of up holding our Constitution and what it stands for!

    I think that the question be looked into, for if Obama is indeed not a "natural born citizen", then he should NOT be our next president!

    Why is the Supreme Court afraid of not looking into this matter?

    December 15, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Obamaye Hoye

    ricki: "Why does the President Elects' paternal grandmother claim he was born in Kenya and she witnessed the birth?"

    I don't know if BO's paternal grandmother said she had witnessed the birth or not, but if she did there is a simple cultural explanation for that. All African traditional societies (like Kenyans) are very possessive of a newly born male child. In the Swahili culture, they strongly believe in the spirit and that death and birth transcend space and time. It is not uncommon for a grandmother in Africa to claim witness to the birth of her grandson, since she was there in the spirit, or the birth happened, spiritually that is, at the ancestral village of the Obamas, even if the child was born in outer space.

    December 15, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. jm

    Has it ever occurred to any of you accusing the posters here of being racist that race has nothing to do with it? First of all, McCain had to produce information relative to his birth in Panama. He did so without problem.
    THe problem with BO is not necessarily that most people believe he isn't a US citizen, it's that he, as he did throughout his election and will likely do throughout his presidency, acts as though he is above that AND NO ONE CALLS HIM ON IT. The same thing happened with his medical records. I believe a big problem with Obama is his lack of openness, his lack of disclosure and this odd sense of arrogance that he doesn't have to answer to the public the same way every politician has. I chall
    enge any person to disagree that BO had the most unchallenged, unvetted and uncriticized campaign in the history of presidential politics.

    December 15, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |

    Drum roll please..... you have just witness the opening of PANDORAS
    BOX. there will be much more to come... and when is all said and done....the electorial lite will all say I NEVER VOTED FOR HIM..... four more years of lies and hogwash coming from the OBAMA CAMP

    December 15, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Soccer Nana

    FYI, Barack did not begin to call himself "Barry"; his maternal grandfather did.

    December 15, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |


    December 15, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. linda from South Dakota

    lets give this a rest,,,, but then some people just cant leave "well-enough_ alone,, Obama won, fair and square and lets enjoy the blessings,,, god bless america!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!




    December 15, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. geecee827

    I need to add something that is so apparent that it is going to really sound stupid, but I just have to say to the person who said Obama is using two first names "Barry" and "Barack". Barry is a nickname. He obviously used it in place of the more formal and rather unusual name of Barack which is his given birth name. What else would you call someone named Barack – Racky? So, Barry made sense and he called himself Barry for a portion of his adult life. Is that so difficult to understand? Can't you come up with some real issues to bash him about? Is this all you got as a reason why his birth certificate isn't valid? Come on, grow up. Get a life, better still, get an education. Go back to school, Geez!!!

    December 15, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. You can't have it both ways!

    It's funny to see these hypocritical patriotic retards spout their non-sense.

    In one hand they hold up the constitution and yell at the top of their lungs: "We must obey the Constitution...Impeach Obama"

    And in the other they perform acts of treason by mentally erasing the verdict of the Supreme Court of the USA, forgetting that the final say IS the SCOTUSA.

    You can't have it both ways you idiots! The SCOTUSA has spoken, they decided it's frivoulous BS brought up by sore losers that like to burn crosses on the YOU all (the sociopaths ranting on and on about their moronic conspiracy theories) need to STFU!

    December 15, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. President Barack Obama

    Ignorance is ALIVE & PREVELANT AS EVER....

    Eight Years.....EIGHT YEARS YOU CLOWNS.

    Thats how long our President mines & YOURS.... President Barack HUSSEIN Obama will be POTUS!!!
    You will learn to love & respect your president Barack Hussein Obama!!! And If you don't who cares.....
    Move to Russia or Siberia or go play in traffic on a busy street.....

    December 15, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. IDU

    Here is a solution for you repubs how can't get over Obama's citizenship: Call the psycho ward, get strapped to a jacket and get locked into a room w/ a large flat screen HD quality T.V. watching the Obama inauguration...... and video tape yourself go into convulsions while watching it and put it on youtube. I need some entertainment.

    December 15, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. groink_hi

    @starboardhelm – According to the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, the certificate you've seen on places like Obama's web site as well as other independent sites like is in fact legal. Each state is given the right to set its own laws on what documents can be used as proof of birth. I was also born in Hawaii. When I applied for security clearance with the DoD, I too received that same green certificate with the stamp. And the DoD, as well as any other federal government entity accepts this certificate. ALL Hawaii citizens has this. If, however, you're looking for the certificate that was originally issued by the hospital, and includes the footprint and doctor's signature, the SOH does not keep that on-record, so you will never ever see that document. Once that original birth certificate is submitted to the State for processing, the data is entered into the database. It is this database that generates the green birth certificate. Again, this differs from state to state, but in the State of Hawaii, the green copy is 100-percent legal and can be used just like the original document. So please do not use your state's laws and attempt to apply them to Hawaii state laws.

    December 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Red, Red WHINE!!

    It's funny to see these hypocritical patriots spout their non-sense.

    In one hand they hold up the constitution and yell at the top of their lungs: "We must obey the Constitution...Impeach Obama"

    And in the other they perform acts of treason by mentally erasing the verdict of the Supreme Court of the USA, forgetting that the final say IS the SCOTUSA.

    You can't have it both ways! The SCOTUSA has spoken, they decided it's frivoulous issues brought up by sore losers that like to burn crosses on the YOU all (the sociopaths ranting on and on about their moronic conspiracy theories) need to STFU!

    December 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Daniel

    Now what are all the bitter Republicans going to cry about?

    December 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Sammy

    This really defines what it means to be republican. It's not just sour grapes, it's racism. And some racists will never bring themselves to stop trying to fight a black man winning. Some are even trying to pacify their minds by saying he isn't actually black, so it's kind of ok. If you're racist, let's face it, the republican brand is for you. They just removed the country club pic from their web site, until someone realized that might be contrued as racist. Bush just moved into a racist neighborhood that prohibited non-whites until 2000, and probably still is. My point is you don't have to look far to see their racism, and this is just another example.
    The same goes for the Hillary supporters that would rather vote McCain or not vote instead of voting for a black man in their own party. At least some of those were conflicted enough to realize they were democratic racists.
    I say great. Now we know who they are. Isn't that what they were afraid of in the first place? And now that they are out of the closet, the stink of racism will stigmatize the republican brand from now on, and we will see those ideologies for what they are too, at least the ones they cater to.

    December 15, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Kenny of Wappingers Falls, NY

    Why is it unAmerican to want to know the truth?
    Why would a sane man pay over $800,000.00 to not produce a $12.00 document?
    Why is anyone who wants to know the truth an automatic bigot?
    Why do people not realize we may have been had?
    Why does the supreme court refuse to even discuss the issue? Is the constitution not importanat enough to bother?
    Do people not realize this man could be blackmailed by foriegn powers who may expose his illegal status?
    We must get this right before he is sworn in. The only way is for this
    man to stop trying to hide behind loopholes in the law and produce the true, legal sealed and signed (if he has it) birth certificate!
    That is the question. Does he have it? It does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure this out people!

    December 15, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!


    December 15, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. AEK

    For the idiots. A lesson in civics. Should have paid attention in seventh grade!

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. – XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

    Citizenship is one of the most coveted gifts that the U.S. government can bestow, and the most important immigration benefit that USCIS can grant. Most people become U.S. citizens in one of two ways:

    • By birth, either within the territory of the United States or to U.S. citizen parents, or
    • By Naturalization.

    Enough said?

    December 15, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. ST

    Maybe I don't get it. How does being born on US soil with dual citizenship cause you to not be able to run for President? My mom was born and lived in the US for 44 years. She moved to Canada 5 years ago and has dual citizenship. Does this not make her a natural born American? Also, just because you have dual citizenship does not mean you have dual allegance.

    December 15, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Ynot

    No, we have'nt heard the last of this. There are numerous suits being filed against state canvasing boards that certify the election results and that award electoral collage votes. The suits are being done on a state by state level to stop the certification of the election and the swearing in of a new president. It only takes a few states to or courts to agree to hold up the swearing in . Obama should just clear it up before there's a constitutional crisis and Bush continues to be president...

    December 15, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Won't these bigoted idiots ever give up?

    December 15, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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