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. Dan

    Janey - No one will ever know the truth about anything Obama because MSM refuse to vet him.


    Yup, Janey, you're absolutely right! Did you know that Obama is actually brothers with the Bat Boy that gets so much coverage in Weekly World News? But the stupid MSM won't cover that story, no.

    Give me a break, idiot. Or did you happen to forget all the stories prying into his background over the last year and a half?

    December 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. NY republican

    PA independant – Actually the Constitution is very clear on the definition of "natural born citizen. There is also quite a bit of case law on the subject.

    December 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Ashley

    Seems like the GOP can't get over losing.. sad but true..

    December 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. chris

    im a republican and this crap just needs to stop already...obama is our president......even if they found that he wasnt born here, which lets face it is a stupid rule( why shouldnt a naturalized citizen be just as worthy?) theres not much that can be done about it now.....lets just see where he takes the country during his tenure and hope that his ideas and policies dont make things even worse...

    December 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Lauren the Designer

    @ Laura...

    Grow up.

    December 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Peter (CA)

    Haven't you right-wingers taken your medicine yet?
    He was born in Hawaii and that makes him a citizen.
    The certificate of live birth is all the State of Hawaii issues. The original certificate is in a vault. Officials of the state certified that it is legal and binding. is his birth name. He called himself Barry because it sounded more American.
    Now hurry on down to Target...they are having a sale on tin foil for your new hats.

    December 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Size 10 shoe

    I guess some people have nothing better to than to dig for something that does not exist (like water in the Sahara). Let's plan for the inauguration and pray that this elected man will try to find a way to dig us out of the mess we are in.

    December 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    mona December 15th, 2008 12:13 pm ET

    I have a question for Mr. Berg..You say PE Obama was actually born in Kenya, well how do you know that? Were you there in the actual hospital room at the precise moment of PE Obama's birth? This is just insanity. I don't care where this great man was born, I just care about how he will help us and this nation we live in.
    He knows this BECAUSE Obama's grandparents SAID he was born in Kenya....please tell me why Obama's GRANDPARTENTS would lie about it?

    How about you read up on the case BEFORE you comment!!

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

    First it was a copy of his birth certificate, which he provided, because NO ONE gets the original, not even the President. Now it's the long form, that will just provide addtional information which is not relevant as to the place of his birth. You're just looking for something, anything, and I'm glad he is no longer playing into this sick and tired game. The courts decided correctly, by stating there is no issue here. The Supreme Court looked at the decision(s) (all the information) provided by the lower court and concluded that there was no irregularities. But that is not enough. Next , it should be the round form, or the white form, or maybe it is not in the correct type or format. He would not have made it out of the starter block if there was serious doubt about his citizenship. The Bush Administration would have blown the lid off this, if they knew it would get McCain elected. Let it go.

    December 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Cruzan Obama Mama

    Didn't the rest of us SUCK IT UP & MOVE ON, when Bush stole his elections. Get over it. Since the Repubs are the authority on being American or Un-American, then isn't rejecting the will of the people very, very UN-AMERICAN?

    Time to be adult about your loss and start helping to heal the US right now. YIKES!!!!!!

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

    “Somebody please tell me how the Constitution, Courts, Congress or any other authority has defined ‘Natural Born’?”

    The U.S. Congress has defined “natural born citizen” in Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401, which says the following people are “citizens of the United States at birth”: anyone born inside the U.S.; any Indian or Eskimo born in the U.S., provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person's status as a citizen of the tribe; anyone born outside the U.S., both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.; anyone born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national; anyone born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year; anyone found in the U.S. under the age of 5, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21; anyone born outside the U.S., if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time); a final, historical condition: a person born before 24 May 1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.

    That means Obama is a U.S. citizen, since the State of Hawaii says he was born there. Wrotnowski's constitutional argument is interesting, but it doesn’t actually have anything to do with real life.

    December 15, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    This is so desperate and disgusting.

    December 15, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Chris in NC

    If he wasn't a citizen don't you people think the folks in power would have blocked his election? If legitimate evidence existed it would have come out by now. Stop crying over McCain's loss and deal with the fact America was tired of Bushism and wanted a change!

    December 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Alwin

    Actually, what CNN failed to report, is this guy is questioning both Barack Obama and John McCain's eligibility to be president. He's not just questioning Barack's (even though he is the president-elect). Either way, I think he needs to just suck it up and stop. Wasting taxpayer money during these times is not only unnecessary, it's complete BS. Leave both of the guys alone and let's get on with trying to fix our great nation, how about that?

    December 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Brett

    Pretty simple – if you have a parent who is a U.S. Citizen when you are born, you are a "natural-born" U.S. Citizen regardless of the location in which you were actually born. A friend of mine was born in South Africa to an American mother and he's just as "natural-born" as anyone born inside the country to an American mother.

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Kate

    What a wacko. I think these right wingers have officially lost their minds. I find it amusing!

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Shari, NY

    Aren't there better things to do? I guess not. I did not vote for Bush and I am still standing. Get a life!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. yellow dog democrat

    Please quit reporting on this as "news" – it only fuels the fire for those who are looking for any excuse to accept that a black man has been voted for and won the Presidency of the United States. Everytime this issue comes up – I have to hear – "did your hear that Obama is not an American??" – aaaaarrgggghhhh.

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    People who believe this nonsense about Obama and his birth certificate certainly have concrete opinions: all mixed up and permanently set! No facts will ever convince them.

    The GOP hasn't even accepted that the election is over and Obama has won! There national committee has so much money left over, they are now running negative (the party of fear and smear) campaign ads against Obama – trying to tie him to that slimy Governor!

    Do they know the election is over or is the GOP going to waste another 8 years as sulking obstructionists!

    I wonder how many good things could be accomplished if those who are spending all their time and treasure trying to drag Obama down would invest the same in making a positive contribution to working with him to solve our challenges???

    You are either part of the problem or part of the solution!!

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Lauren

    B.O. just wondering, where does it "basically" say in the Constitution that you can't have dual citizenship at the time of birth and be president? I thought it only says "no person except a natural born citizen, or a u.s. citizen..." Does that mean a U.S. citizen who had dual citizenship at the time of birth can't be president? Just wondering. I'm no expert on this topic, but I'd potentially be swayed if, say, the Supreme Court has interpreted it that way.

    December 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. NY republican

    Why is it with you Democrats that when one person files a law suit, the ENTIRE opposition party becomes "ignorant, dimwitted, wingnuts". Democrats "the party of TOLERENCE"?

    December 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Jean2

    GIVE IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Cybersport

    mike, get a life.......

    December 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. NY republican

    Why is it with you Democrats that when one person files a law suit, the ENTIRE opposition party becomes "ignorant, dimwitted, wingnuts". Democrats "the party of TOLERENCE"? Oh, sorry, I forgot to add "racist" to the list

    December 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Donna

    Though I did not vote for President Elect Barack Obama, I must say this: Don't you think this was all checked out before he had even begun to run? I mean realy, people come on this is a totaly pointless lawsuit.

    December 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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