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. NW

    Get over it.

    December 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. karen

    What a waste of time and money that would have been. Great decision.

    December 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Marian H

    My understanding is certain personal records are HIPAA protected. I thereby applaud the hospital for not divulging this information. If more entities followed these guidelines U.S. citizens wouldn't be the victims of fraud to the extent we are currently.

    December 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Chris

    @ Lauren the designer,

    I'm fairly sure Laura was being sarcastic... at least, I hope she was. I mean, I'm an Obama supporter, but that's just ridiculous.

    @ Give me a break,

    'Barry' is a nickname for 'Barack.' He used the nickname for a while, then switched back to 'Barack.' There's nothing wrong with that.
    And, by the way, he has produced his birth certificate.

    December 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    Okay, here I go again!

    RIGHT TO BE PRESIDENT...i.e. because of his
    supposed place of birth.............

    (note I am not including Palin.....we all know just how
    smart she is).

    FOR CRYING OUT LOUD FOLKS, if there was even the

    December 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Jim, Burlington NC

    Let me get this right. Being born here in the US to foriegn national Parents, who by being such would mean the child would be a citizen of a foriegn country – would render the child inelligible to be President of the United States?

    Somebody better re-write all the history books, George Washington, and both his parents were born here as British subjects.

    I guess he shouldn't have been our first president acording to all these wacko's...

    December 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Steph

    Good. Are we done with this now? Can we get on to repairing this country?

    December 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. arc, Lugano CH

    The funny thing is that Indonesia has the highest Muslim concentration in the world, and is the 4th most populated country in the world. It consists of almost 13,000 islands...Yet, very few Country First Bigots could even find it on a map!

    December 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. quasar

    Why does Obama refuse to release the birth documents. He's spending gazillions to avoid doing so. McCain produced his. For those calling anyone questioning his qualifications racist is sick

    December 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. HELEN

    To: Cort Wrotnowski


    December 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. jeh15

    Actually, Ricki, Obama's grandma never did say anything like that at all. Both and YouTube have the facts on the matter.

    If people looked up the law as had at one point "The Chicago Tribune" on the American status of children born out of country, even if Prez elect Obama was born in Kenya, his mother being an American under the specific statute, Obama would still be qualified and certified as an American. So, why are we quibbling on this issue when even the law favors Obama. And the U.S. Supreme Court won't allow even an appeal on this utterly ignorant lawsuit to go forward because well, they may as well question the relevance and reality of a decades old law. As long as mom was born and raised an American, then the law itself says that Obama is an American.

    December 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Sick Of The Repug Machine

    The issue is with the term "Natural Born Citizen". 200+ years ago when our constitution was written world travel was particularly difficult as it was for the following 150 years. Not to many Americans were born in foreign countries. The founding fathers could never have foreseen how easily travel would be in the 20th and 21 centuries. Natural born citizen should be redefined to any child born of an American citizen MOTHER no matter where the child is born Even if the father is not an american citizen.

    Here are 2 examples, My nephew with both parents American citizens was born on an US air force base in Germany. He can't be president? But parents from a foreign country here on vacation give birth to a child here and that child CAN be president? As usual these people trying to make a stink about this are likely the same hypocrites who like to use words in another old out of date book to fit their own distorted views of modern society, the bible. As far as I'm concerned Natural born means not born in a hospital. Get over it people, he's just as American as any of you. And he's going to be one of the best presidents this country has ever seen, leave him alone and let him do his job.

    December 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. MikeH

    Clarence Thomas is the Justice allowing these tin-foil-hat petitions to be brought before the Supreme Court to waste the court's time. Thomas must not have enough to do between reading bestial pornography and defending GITMO torture.

    December 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    Dear Troublemakers .....

    I'm sorry but because we don't believe you mean any good intentions for the ...

    United States
    American Society
    Fairness, or,
    Intelligent Leadership

    Therefore, we will not even entertain your attempts to smear this man through rumor, innuendo or false questions.

    Just because you troublemakers say things like ... "well his grandmother said he was born in Kenya" ... or .... "why won't he release his "long form" birth certificate" .... doesnt mean WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, will give your words any credibility or credence.

    The days of dishonorable attempts to inject doubt where NONE exists, through such seemingly "innocent" comments are over ... we are SO PAST the National Enquirer techniques of say anything, throw anything, without any foundation, and hope it sticks.


    December 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. maurice

    mwa you brought up a great point on the illegals. i actually question their legality due to the fact if the parents are illegals then would the child be legal under illegal circumstance? now there is a subject for debate.

    December 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. HELEN

    @ Laura December 15th, 2008 12:31 pm ET


    December 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Let's ask GOP Arnold.......

    The GOP ought be be leading authorities on the subject. After all, wasn't it the GOP who proposed a senate bill, so Arnold Schwarzenneger could run for President, as an Un-Naturalized American citizen ???

    December 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. jaye

    This is the stupidest lawsuit in history.

    December 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. B.Thompson

    For all the ignorant people on here that keep saying P.E Obama has not accomplished anything in his life. Name one person you know that has the educational background that this man has. If you can't I as well as many other TRUE AMERICANS want to know how you can say something like that. Or is it the closet bigotry coming out? I didn't start out a Obama supporter but the one thing I always new was that he is by far one of the most intellectual presidents we've ever had.

    December 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. MikeH

    I find it interesting the CNN moderators will post a race-baiting comment like that of goodoltxboy, but not post any of mine accusing CNN of tabloid journalism.

    December 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. mcai

    In Hawaii, every one gets a certified copy of live birth. No one gets the original. The original is kept on file with the department of health. The head of the department of health in Hawaii, looked at the original or long form and certified that the certified copy matched the original long form.

    When someone becomes an adult, they loose the ability to have dual citizenship and must choose. Children can have dual citizenship. So even if he went to Indonesia and became a citizen, it did not eliminate his US citizenship.

    Obama's mother did not follow his dad back to Kenya according to biographies, which is why he only saw his dad a few times in his life.

    What I don't understand is how has this gone on for so long and why is cnn giving it so much attention. Any one who has lived in Hawaii understands that the original has to remain on file so only copies are given out. The copies are certifide as correct copies.

    December 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. bill


    December 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Louise

    Everyday it's Obama this and Obama that. Anything that is wrong or goes wrong is directed at him. I can't help but wonder do you think if Bush had been held to such high standards and expectations we would be in this mess we are in now. But not to worry I know that God will protect our PE and no matter how much the status quo tries to bring him dowm God will continue to lift him up.

    5 names linked to that sorry Gov of Illinois only 2 splattered all over the news Jarret and Jackson hum why is that you suppose.

    I know this wont get printed but that okay. God who knows all also sees all

    December 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Talking Ocean

    Why are you people bringing race into this. Of course, if anyone doesn't agree with Obama they're racist; that must be the ONLY reason, right? Race card wasn't enough during the election. Now for the next 4 years anyone who doesn't agree with Obama it's because they're a racist. Why don't ya'll sign up for the Civilian Security forces Obama wants to have and then you can go shoot all the Americans you don't agree with. We can have government sanctioned murder just like Waco.

    Obama is our Pres. I'm moving on. Sorry Ron Paul wasn't on the ticket!

    December 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Sandy

    A name like Wrotnowski doesn't sound like a natural born citizen of the US.

    December 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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