High court turns aside another lawsuit questioning Obama citizenship
March 7th, 2011
10:47 AM ET
12 years ago

High court turns aside another lawsuit questioning Obama citizenship

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has again rejected an appeal from a "birther" proponent questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama.

The justices Monday turned aside without comment a request for a rehearing of various claims, after dismissing the original appeal in late January.

The long-shot petition by Gregory Hollister had called on Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to withdraw from considering the constitutional claims, contending a conflict of interest by the president's two high court appointees.

Lower federal claims had dismissed Hollister's claims.

The justices had also dismissed earlier, unrelated lawsuits from individuals questioning Obama's citizenship. State birth certificate records show he was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother is a native of Kansas; his father was born in Kenya.

Among the claims of various "birther" movement organizers are that the president was born in Kenya or Indonesia; that his birth certificate is a forgery; and that he had dual American-British citizenship at birth because of his father's Kenyan heritage and therefore is not a "natural born" citizen, as is required to be eligible for president under the U.S. Constitution.

That clause states, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."

The grass-roots legal issue has gained little legal or political footing, but continues to persist in the courts.

The Obama administration did not file, and the high court did not demand, a formal government response to this latest legal claim from Hollister, who said in his appeal he is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.

The high court will often insist the Justice Department weigh in with its views on a particular constitutional issue, or when a top government official or agency is being sued, a strong sign the justices would be seriously considering accepting the appeal.

Obama and his staff produced copies of his birth certificate when he was running for president in 2008, and have previously dismissed questions over his citizenship.

The respondent in the case was labeled as "Barry Soetoro," the name Hollister said Obama used when he was a child living in Indonesia with his family. The case is Hollister v. Soetoro (10-678).

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in July found that 71% of Americans believed Obama definitely or probably was born in the United States, while 27% said he definitely or probably was not. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The largest support for the idea he was definitely or probably not born in the United States was among Republicans, at 41%, compared with Independents, at 29%, and Democrats, at 15%. The sampling error for that breakdown was plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Birthers • Supreme Court
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Breal123

    Whether you agree with his politics or not, respect is a major issue that has been lost on this country.. Remember when you treated the office of President with awe and dignity regardless of who was holding it. The tea party and "birthers" have made various attempts to undermine this sacred public office w/out proof and have left America in a state of humiliation...This is a disgrace to the history of our country...and they call it a revolution? I assure you white, rich, Christian people have had no rights stripped from them and never will...No matter how bad you think you have it...Someone else has it way worse thanks to you.

    March 7, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Mrs DemocratGirl

    Gosh! I love Obama, but why in the world did he order his records sealed as one of his first official actions after taking office. It just created a big question and mess.

    March 7, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. agfraggle

    Where's the beef? What a superficial article.

    March 7, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, I am sure McCain would have been more legitimate of a president... despite being born in Panama, and having been granted US citizenship only through a retroactive act of Congress.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. greg the progressive in jacksonville

    quit wasting our money! havn't you heard, we are broke! idiots.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Howard

    The Court has (perhaps) wisely concluded it made a serious mistake in 2000 when it involved itself in electoral politics and concluded that the birther appeal was just another invitation to do the same thing once again.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. sammieb51

    Gee, wonder why the courts keeps tossing this "case" out - could it be that it has NO legal merit because he was really born in this country? Could it be true that when his Mom ran the BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER IN HAWAII that it was TRUE, he was born in Hawaii? Maybe its just that the "birthers" don't know Hawaii is part of the United States, after all, can Sarah see it from her front porch? If she can't, well then it just can be so.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Freedom1

    These people are so silly!

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. fralene

    Just goes to show that you can't fix stupid. The best you can do is reject it.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    When one really thinks about what the "birthers" are implying, one realizes that they are actually insulting the competancy of the Justice Department under George Bush's Attorney General, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and every one of John McCain's Electoral voters. None of these organizations or individuals would let a non-citizen assume the mantle of the presidency and have access to our country's innermost secret unless he (or she) was qualified.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. yknotu2

    This is newsworthy only in that it demonstrates that there is not limit to human stupidity and determined ignorance. While one could make a (sort of) plausible argument about Obama's birth location being outside the US, it falls ridiculously apart when any open minded person hears the argument from both sides. I have heard better arguments from the aluminum foil hat wearing people who deny the lunar landings.

    March 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Say whaaaaa?

    Not that this will stop the birther idiots...next thing they'll be saying is that Jesus was a white guy with blond hair and blue eyes who was originally born in the good ole Mississippi and is realted to Haley Barbour, though Glen Beck might argue that Jesus was actually a Mormon guy from one of the lost tribes of Israel who somehow found its way into Utah....

    ...the point is Religious crazies will believe anything (except FACTS) that makes them feel better

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Gaunt

    Are there honestly people people so myopic and filled with hatred that they cannot get past this? Obama was born in the US. he has a US citizenship and birth certificate. he had his birth announcement in two US papers. Several of the medical staff who delivered him have testified to his birth. Dozens of non-partisan agencies have examined the documentation and confirmed this. There is absolutely NO doubt whatsoever that he was born in the US.

    So please, if you still actually give this absurdist conspiracy theory any credence, do the country a favor and take a bath with a toaster.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Drew

    Surely they won't give up THAT easily! I hope those birthers find a new cause, perhaps the whole 2012 thing or how fluoridated water is actually a government-sponsored thought control experiment.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. DC Johnny

    I wish I could be optimistic and guess that tons of overzealous Liberal comments aren't going to pour in stereotyping that the Conservatives are "all crazy" or "all morons" because of a fringe few who follow this Birther mentality.

    But alas, I am a realist (and an anti-Birther Conservative), and know what is about to unfold here. In the name of attacking the blind unilateral hatred of the Conservative movement, the hateful Liberals will almost certainly blindly and unilaterally hate on the entire Conservative movement for the actions of a fringe minority.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. jipjip

    Really? Still wasting our tax dollars eh? bet you wouldn't raise the same question if it was Arnold.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. J

    Nice to see that the Supreme Court is having it's time wasted, yet again.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Tiger

    It's about time: finally we can put all this nonsense to rest and move forward.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    If his words and actions didn't seem so negative towards this country a lot of times, I don't think this stuff would have such legs. The fact that he and his administration simply refuse to call Muslim terrorists, Muslim terrorists, fuels the fire as well.

    March 7, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Lorne

    The US Supreme Court has nothing better to do that entertain the rantings of outpatients?

    March 7, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. go learn

    These "birthers" bring down the whole of hickdom. Not all hicks are right wing conservatives. I bet you didn't know that. Many hicks are liberal, easy-going, pipe-sharing folk you'd not kick off the summer stoop. I think narrow-minded conservatism goes beyond social, political, economic, racial, basically group boundaries.. It's a problem internal to a person, most likely an abundance of evil over goodness in a person.

    March 7, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Mikke

    Most birthers are tea party members, the same tea party that whines and cries about high taxes is bogging down the courts, which are paid by taxes, with these stupid petitions. Good job there you racist cry-babies.

    March 7, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. Eric

    These people are nuts

    March 7, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Eric

    Even if they had a time machine and could go back in time and see him come out of his mother they'd still says, "Bah, he's still black, can't be president."

    March 7, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Peter E

    Republicans are really terrible losers.
    The birth certificate HAS been made available, HAS been inspected by officials, and the Supreme Court has REPEATEDLY rejected birther arguments (this hasn't been the first case) despite the SC being filled by 5 hard-core right-wingers, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas. Surely at least some of them would have demanded at least a hearing of the case if they thought there was any legitimacy to the arguments. Guess what: even they know it is ridiculous.

    BTW, can YOU prove you were born in the US? Can you prove beyond the level of your unreasonable doubt that your own 'birth certificate' isn't just a forgery?
    You can't! So we will deport you!

    March 7, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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