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. Charm

    Wasn't McCain born in Panama? Sheesh some people need to get a life.

    December 15, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Vigla


    Your comments are as dumb as they are ignorant. Your racist post has no business here. Begone!

    December 15, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. bobmc


    December 15, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. starboardhelm

    Answer to JL: " Can some one please tell me WHY is it that white America so unwilling to show love? Why always showing so much HATE?"

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    - Anonymous

    You've got to love what's lovable, and hate what's hateable. It takes brains to see the difference.
    – Robert Frost

    December 15, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Jacob

    I think the next legal challenge will be to say that we should only count three-fifths of the votes for Obama because he is black.

    These bogus legal challenges and conspiracy theories are just racism and a last ditch effort at lynching. Call a duck and duck - albeit one wearing white robes and a pointy hat.

    December 15, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. STL-Veteran


    Check the real facts you are total off on that. If he were adopted by his Indonesian step-father he would have gained Indonesian citzenship but they do not recognize dual citzenship, the US on the other hand would have recongized his dual-citzenship and he would still be a "natual born citizen" no matter how hard you try you can't take that away from him or anybody else that was born in the US.

    Move on please.

    December 15, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. obama-mama

    All the clowns on this blog that want to see POTUS' birth certificate, go out and spend money to see it....Take all the time you need...Stay out of his personal life. How would you like people digging in your personal life. If the government with the proof they have what are you all worried about. I'm sure some of your have important family issues to attend to besides sticking your noses up the POTUS' backside.

    December 15, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |







    December 15, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Ryan

    You dont need to be an indonesian citizen or a muslim to go to school in Indonesia. One of the largest religions in Indonesia is Christianity, by the way.

    Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He is a natural-born american citizen. Always has been.

    Does anyone remember that John McCain was born in PANAMA? As in, outside of the US? And that a court had to rule he was eligible to run for president?

    Dual citizenship wouldnt even disqualify you anyways. So says the republican-controlled SCOTUS who made this ruling.

    Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He was elected legally and legitimately.

    Deal with it.

    December 15, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Kenny of Wappingers Falls, NY

    We are on the verge of having our first illegal alien president and nobody cares! What is worse is the Supreme court, whom we were led to believe decides constitutional issues and rules on behalf of the best interest of the nation, refuses to even discuss the matter. The question of "standing" is the quandry. The media loves it and I have to believe his illegal status is common knowlege among the people in power. Keep in mind we elected them in the belief they would represent us to the best of their ability. They are doing nothing! This is not government by the people and for the people! It is not what our forefathers had in mind! If we do not confirm his legal status to lead this once great nation it will come back to bite us. You cannot hide a cancer! Or for that matter put lipstick on a pig!

    December 15, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Tim

    Patrick: "Since when is measuring a future president against the requirements of the constitution considered stupidity? Where was this man born? It is a simple question. "

    And there's a simple answer: Hawaii. There is no basis in any of the conspiracy theories out there. And even if there were, the courts would not entertain them. In almost all instances, the federal courts do not recognize "taxpayer standing." You can't file a lawsuit just because you're a taxpayer. You have to show a personal interest in the outcome. A collective interest (such as the result of a presidential election) is insufficient, because your interest is no greater than anyone else's.

    If you don't like that, you can always ask your representative to introduce a law to amend the judiciary act. Perhaps start a specialized court to hear all of the lamebrained schemes that would result. If so, I hope you like paying the additional taxes needed to pay for the court.

    December 15, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. geecee827

    What is wrong with you people? This ploy hasn't worked before and it isn't going to work in the future. A Certificate of Live Birth is the same as a Birth Certificate. Are you so desperate that this is all you've got and you think it will invalidate the Election? Get some mental health treatment, please!!! No one is trying to "cover up" anything. Obama got elected fair and square. You honestly think that the media in this country would have let him get away with anything fraudulent? They weren't in the "tank" for Obama. The media just exists for a story, any story, good, bad or indifferent. They would have gone after him mercilessly if he were guilty of committing any type of fraud, in any way, shape or manner. You don't want to believe that, do you, but you want to believe every ridiculous conspiratorial bit of nonsense that Limbaugh or Hannity or Jerome Corsi make up and that casts a negative light on Obama. And why is that, I have to ask? Is it because you just hate him so much and can't stand the thought of his being President that you will try anything to prevent it? It must go up your butts a mile, doesn't it, that he is going to be our next President – Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Get used to it.

    December 15, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Soccer Nana

    "Piere December 15th, 2008 12:28 pm ET

    Why won't Obama just produce an original birth certificate that's authentic and be done with it.? Obama's grandmother says she he was born in Kenya as his mother was detained and not allowed to fly back for the birth due to advanced pregnancy. Why not just be open and show the proof of US birth and be done with it?"

    First of all, when you purchase a "copy" of your child's birth certificate you do not receive the "original", you simply get a certified copy of the live birth and depending upon the state, various information about each parent is printed on thet "certified" copy you receive. Also, the date you receive the certified copy is actually stamped on the certified copy.

    Secondly, Obama's mother was not in Kenya when he was born because his father was attending school in Hawaii; Obama Sr left Hawaii to attend school at Harvard when Obama II was 2 years old.

    December 15, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Meh

    Janey> He's already been vetted THROUGHLY by the powers that be. You really trust the MSM to vet someone? Get real.

    Amazing that people are screaming about the Constitution in regards to this when Bush and his cronies have been using it for toilet paper for 8 years now.

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

    The brightest legal minds in the nation have declared that there is no merit to this accusation.
    President-Elect Obama was born in HI...pure and simple. Have you ever stopped to think why would his mom want or need to fly to Kenya to give birth to her child? Would she receive good medical care?
    His maternal grandparents who raised him, provided his HI birth ceritificate. What is your problem?

    December 15, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. pam Eugene OR

    Move on people. You nut jobs are wasting the courts time. Barack Hussien Obama is our legally elected PE and on Jan. 20, 2009 he will be our legally elected President.
    What a bunch of sore losers you Republicans are. There should be fines for these wasteful lawsuits.
    Get over it because you can't change it. The majority of the people elected him fairly.

    December 15, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. demo

    Dear bbbb3JUQ5e8L,

    Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. He's lying to you.

    December 15, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |

    You just gotta laugh at the repugs. NOW, they want to follow the Constitution. It did not seem to bother them when the shrub and the dick shredded it.

    Too funny, just remember that repugs set the precedence, when and if Dems stretch it just a bit...

    December 15, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Marc

    To Steve and all the others that came up with this 'dual citizenship' stuff, the Supreme Court has already ruled a decision that recognized the dual citizenship a 'status long recognized in the law'. Since they never went back on that matter, and the INA has no saying (neither recognizing, denying, pro or against) about the question... it is not against the law to have dual citizenship!!!!
    Plus, Berg is grasping at straws with this one.
    Let's see, suppose that you and your family (all natural born citizens) are in a foreign country which rules that ONLY the citizens of said country will have the access to some basic human rights, and suppose that as Steve believes the dual citizenship is not accepted by US laws, so you or your children have to become a citizen of that country or...
    Does this legal extortion should be accepted by the SCOTUS?

    December 15, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Dufferdo

    Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. Hawaii became a state in 1959. He's a natural born citizen. Case closed.

    December 15, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. conniesz

    FYI – from Wikipedia, not the most reliable source but in this instance the case they cite is correct:

    Perkins v. ELG, 307 U.S. 325 (1939): The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that Marie Elizabeth Elg who was born in the United States of Swedish parents then naturalized in the United States, had not lost her birthright U.S. citizenship because of her removal during minority to Sweden and was entitled to all the rights and privileges of that U.S. citizenship. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decree that declared Miss Elg "to be a natural born citizen of the United States."

    December 15, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. John Janski

    Looks like the Fraud, Barry Obama gets away with another one. God help us!!!!

    December 15, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Ernie in LA

    Laura, You are the reason why so many unqualified people get elected. You should not be allowed to vote.

    December 15, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. RichMo

    You guys! Here's my post...3rd time's a charm...right?
    CNN SHOW US YOUR STUFF! You can do it! Use Time Warner's resources to file the report of the millenium.
    Here's a start:
    1) hire an intern. Give them a small per-diem, airfare/car budget, camera & producer.
    2) give them til Jan 5 to answer natural-born questions.
    3) Grow journalistic courage.

    I can't believe you haven't posted my simple suggestion...but you allow the perpetuation of racist & race-baiting remarks.

    What happened to journalists whose job it was to find this stuff out?
    Give a kid with some ambition some room to investigate this. You can then tell your children that you did your best to avoid a constitutional crisis.

    The TRUTH is important. Please find out before the votes get counted.

    December 15, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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