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. Q

    Isn't Berg the same guy that was on CNN just before the election saying that BO was a US citizen, but his father was someone other than BO, Sr? I think the name was Frank something or another...

    If it wasn't Berg, maybe it was the other lunatic who filed suit...that Andy guy.

    These people have serious issues.

    December 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Soccer Nana

    With all the pertinent issues we have going on in this Country, time has been wasted on a non issue.

    This foolishness should have never even gotten as far as the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Obama is the president-elect and will become the next president. Get used to it!

    Had McCain won the election, questions concerning his citizenship would have never emerged.

    December 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. rena

    What in the world is wrong with you people? Do you all know how many American soldiers have their children abroad? I am the spouse of a military personnel and guess what? I had a baby in Europe; does that mean my child is not American? She does not have the typical birth certificate. It just read US Abroad. Get over yourself, I am so sick of you stupid people questioning this man birth right.

    If you don't like the outcome of this year Presidential election, leave the country and come back in 2016. You people are so immature. Grow the H_ll up!

    December 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Ken in NC

    With a name like Wrotnowski, is this person a "Naturalized Citizen". Give it a rest.

    December 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. sbp

    Far Right Crazies - get a grip. The Supreme Court - the CONSERVATIVE Supreme Court (with only two Democratic nominees), declined to hear the matter. What does that tell you? That they are now part of the conspiracy to abolish the constitution and install a Marxist Islamic Dictatorship? If there was any merit to this claim, they would have stepped in. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy - they all believe this stuff to be ridiculous. Are you smarter than them - or are they in on the fix?

    December 15, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Logic_Man in Atlanta

    To goodoldtxboy- I guess you can't take the racist out of the klan, but you can't take the klan out of the racist either huh texas boy? That is such an ignorant and utterly racist statement you made. It is ignorant simple minded humans like you that keep the human race back.

    December 15, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. Nat

    These right wing crazies should wake up ....... except you are a decendant of one of our great tribes of old .... the Apaches, Cherokees etc., The same arguement could be stretched to disqualify anyone ....simply roll back the years to when your 1st non American ancestor got off the boat!

    By the way, the last time I checked, Anyone born in Panama is not qualified to be president, except he's a replubican!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Phil

    Goodoldtxboy – I bet you would have preferred using the "n" word instead of "African Americans" in that post. Where do you take your hood to get pressed? Or does your barefoot and pregnant wife do it for you? Did you actually go to school beyond the 4th grade?

    December 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Soccer Nana

    "Goodoldtxboy December 15th, 2008 12:36 pm ET

    The reason that the SCOTUS is denying these cases, is because if they took one of these cases and found out the truth, that Obama was born in Kenya and he was then pushed out of the Presidency, do you know how many crazy African Americans would be rioting and looting. Think about how nuts everyone went during the Rodney King fiasco. You can take the African American out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the African American!!!!!!!"

    Oh, so that is why you and Timothy McVeigh's cousins blew up that bank and killed the police chief and bomb technician in Oregon Friday, and left another police officer in critical condition? You just can't take domestic terrorosim out of some people. Hmmmm.

    December 15, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Michelle in KC

    Hilvoter wrote: "This is an excellent argument for abolishing the anchor baby laws."

    Actually, genius, this has nothing to do with "anchor babies." An anchor baby is a child born on US soil to a pair of parents who don't have US citizenship. The baby, being born on American soil, is automatically an American, and LIKE AN ANCHOR, hooked to US American soil, is used by the parents to attain their own citizenship.

    Obama's father never sought US citizenship. Obama's mother was BORN IN KANSAS. This was never an "anchor baby" case. The only question in this case is whether Obama was born on American soil. All standing legal evidence indicates that he was. Additionally, he was still born to an American mother. More importantly, by my reckoning, he's a lot more intelligent than our current President, has a much better grasp of the issues, and will be a welcome change in D.C. Here's your product headline:

    "New and improved PRESIDENT! Now available in black. 30% more IQ than previous model. Available Jan. 20th. No substitutions, extensions, or refunds."

    December 15, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. starboardhelm

    If he is a natural born citizen, then why did he hire teams of lawyers and spend nearly a million dollars to keep his vault birth certificate and college records secret?

    These articles always claim the Obama's 'birth certificate' has been posted online. Not true — that was not a birth certificate, not by any stretch. So, just what is it you all are helping him to cover up instead of working to uncover? Come on, commit some journalism.

    Whether he's a natural born citizen or not does not concern me — that he refuses to simply produce thsese records and put the whole thing to rest does.

    I guess this is what his version of an 'open, honest and transparent' administration will look like.

    December 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. mcai

    shee none of my comments on this topic ever get put up. In Hawaii, the original birth certificate is kept on file and only a certified copy is available. The head of the Department of Health has looked at the original and verified the information on the original long form. The story was in the papers in Hawaii.

    when a dual citizen child becomes an adult, they choose which citizenship they are going to have. So even if he was an Indonesian citizen through his step-father, as a child he would still have dual citizenship. He would not loose his American citizenship as has been suggested.

    December 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Lets talk about more important things people


    Your ignorance is so unbecoming. Its not nice to stereotype what you THINK black people would do. President Obama will be your president in another month, and he has gotten the approval of more than 60% of the people compared to the current president whose approval rating is about your IQ. Lets learn to get along and give people a chance. Its time this nation came together and quit crying over things that no one but a very small percentage is worried about.

    December 15, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Sue

    Is this finally over? My sister and brother have been whining about this since before the maybe everyone will, at last, accept that Barack Obama is legally our President. What a waste of time and dollars when there are so many more pressing issues (the impeachment of GWB for one!) I just got yet another letter from my "follow Bush anywhere" Michigan congressman, who is so entrenched he barely bothers to campaign here, saying "I do not believe that the President has done anything to warrant impeachment proceedings." Oh, yeah? Let me count the ways, Congressman Camp! Or are you in favor of torture, lying us into war,
    and the taking away of 1st amendment rights by snooping, too?

    December 15, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. sandee in Portland

    @ BO is just BO...."He had TWO citizenships at Birth and the constitution basically says that when it comes to running for president you can't have dual allegiance"

    You're right in that he was born with DUAL CITIZENSHIP, but that expired when he turned 21 so that means that he didn't have dual citizenship when he decided to run for president.

    December 15, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Steven

    I can't lie, the tempatation to react to 'Goodoldtxboy' is strong. But the greater character of forgiveness prevails.

    December 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. hsceer

    Kenya isn't a country anyway. According to Sara Palin the country is Africa.

    December 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Jackie in Dallas

    Actually, a search of Wikipedia will define natural born citizen three ways: by blood, by location of birth, or by ethnicity/religion (used primarily in Isreal. The US only uses the first two. You can be a natural born citizen by being born to a parent – jus sanguinis – (only requires ONE) that is a U.S. citizen, or by being born on U.S. territory – jus soli – (which includes the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam - or any U.S. military base located in a foreign country). So even if President Elect Obama were born anywhere else other than Hawaii, he still is considered a natural born citizen due to his mother's citizenship. We can pick nits on this topic for years, and there are a number of bills that have been introduced in the Legislature to define this more carefully, but I think you nut-cases are stuck with the fact that President Elect Obama is being inaugurated as our next President. If I can stand 8 years of a nausea-producing Twig like Georgie Junior, you can deal with it.

    December 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. arc, Lugano CH

    Goodoldtxboy December 15th, 2008 12:36 pm ET
    You can take the African American out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the African American!!!!!!!

    This is the definition of 'Country First'.

    December 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. 3strikes

    if its an issue, then maybe its true. people need to visually see the paperwork and if it is true, IMPEACH THAT NOBAMA FRAUD and switch to mccain/palin

    December 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Ex-Republican

    SCOTUSA has final say...that is a fact of our great nation.
    SCOTUSA has decided these lawsuits are frivolous garbage and have decided not to hear these KKK sponsored accusations.
    Deal with it, and embrace the law of the land, the SCOTUSA has made their decision and it's final!

    Or Is the law of the land only fair when you get your way?

    December 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. obama-mama

    This nut job apparently has too much time on his hands. Why don't he find something contructive to do

    December 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. greg greenman

    Hmmm, more whites voted for him than African Americans so it's probably safe to say that they would be upset also. Probably rioting as well. Now if he was Republican the right would say that the Dems are caught up in conspiracy theories but now that the shoe is on the other foot we have to be insane and blind not to see it your way. What kills me is that common sense fails to enter your minds. If his citizenship was an issue McCain would have been all over it, the US gov't itself would have been all over it. These guys are vetted before they get this far you idiots. You think they are going to run the risk of this being true and thus nullifying his Presidency when he gets in office? Come on. It's pure common sense. Nothing more, nothing less.

    December 15, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Sounds like Republicans are trying to turn sour grapes into good wine for themselves, but we're smarter than that. It's just sad that we're going to have to spend at the very least the next four years hearing about this kind of junk to no end. But, I guess that's what we get for complaining the last 8 years of George Bush's incompetence... I guess it's a fair trade off....I suppose.

    December 15, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Once you vote Black

    EW, that is nutz. Do you think all of the Americans who are over there in Indo schools are not longer citz? And did you know that once a US Cit Always a Cit. I think that W in EW is starting to effect the way you see things. By the way, what proof do you have of any of what you said. Why has Newit, Rush, Palin, et tal stated this. The only people making these statments are people with more toes then teeth.

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