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. Birth of a Nation

    "The fact that the Supreme Court refuses to confirm Obama's status as a citizen born in the US just adds fuel to the fire. "

    It adds fuel to mental illness. The Supreme Court never confirms any President. Congress unanimously approved his election and no person ever submitted proof for 1 lawsuit he isn't eligible.

    March 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. zazu

    People don't get it. Conservatives don't think. They rationalize. There is no way to reason with them. Just ignore them. You can't fix stupid. People still believe that the moon landing is a holywood stage production. How can you prove a negative. They just don't get it. Just ignore them or send them back to school from grade school just if there is a slight chance at recouping their brain function.

    March 7, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Steve

    The birthers are idiots. The only way they will be happy if Obama leaves office. Not gonna happen. Obama's birth certificate has been shown many times over. Thankfully the Supreme Court did the right thing to not allow this circus to continue, at least in the court.

    March 7, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Gregg

    Last time I checked, babies came out of the mother. She was living in Hawaii at the time of his birth. Problem solved.

    March 7, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. NorCal ToonFan

    Aren't these the same types of people that are supposed to be against frivolous lawsuits? Please just go away birthers...waste of space.

    March 7, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    At least this court has done something I agree with. There is no reason to believe that Obama wasn't born in the 50th state. I don't know where these people come from but suspect that there is a little bit of racism here. If they aren't racist, then they are people who are most likely those that are reactionaries that supported the group spouting lies against Kerry (the swift boat groups).

    March 7, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Wzrd1

    Let's review the birther argument, shall we?
    A REPUBLICAN Governor swore to his birth status, based upon her state birth records.
    I guess they consider it a grand conspiracy to place a Republican candidate into the Oval Office?
    Oops, Obama is a DEMOCRAT!

    Honestly, sedition charges should be brought against the most vocal media types that are echoing this absurdity.

    March 7, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. TellUStheTRUTH

    You know what's ridiculous? That to this day, we haven't seen Obama's birth certificate (the REAL one, the certificate of birth does NOT count – it's NOT the same – i'm talking about the original LONG FORM that you and I all have and can access in about 5 minutes).
    Why did the Governor of Hawaii say that he was going to release it, and then when he couldn't find it, he backtracked?
    Why is the supreme court refusing appeal? You people don't think these are good questions?
    Out with it already! The best disinfectant is the sun.

    March 7, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Questioner

    McCain was truthful about the circumstances of his birth. Obama hasn't even been truthful about what names he has used, let alone his place of birth. Anyone can place a birth announcement in a newspaper at any time and for any reason. Such as pretending that your son is a US Citizen when you know he isn't. A newspaper announcement proves absolutely nothing. The fact that Obama is willing to pay literally any amount of money that it takes to prevent the disclosure of his real, doctor-signed birth certificate tells the real story. No one who claims he was born in Hawaii has ever been able to explain that.

    March 7, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. ireuel

    You must admit Barry and his handler sure do enjoy the distraction. The whole discussion is just not about just the Birth Certificate it is the mans whole life is now considered an "Protected Documents". They love this whole discussion to be on the Birth Certificate because the Barry story is not being ask about. I also see the left saying this was a bunch of low IQ right wingers. Well with a little research you will see it started with a bunch of Hillary supporters called PUMA. I can not repeat what PUMA stands for due to bad three letter word on the end. I don't believe the birther story but the one wasting money is Barry and not providing the integrate details such as Doctors name and Hospital. These two thing are what in question and will not be released because Barry and his handlers love for this to be the discussions. It politics and we were promised "Change" all we got was almost 4 Trillion dollars more of Debt. It seems "Change" cost more than no change. I wish my President a successful one term and we need to get some real unite-rs not a divider in the White House and Washington. The changing directions every election cycle is killing this country and costing us to much money.

    March 7, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. wert

    Absolutely. Better for it to be an issue in 2012.

    March 7, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Walla Walla

    Dear birthers: There is this thing called Google, and it lets you view the President's birth certificate. Love, everyone who can use a computer.

    March 7, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Dave

    I really don't see the harm in requiring presidential candidates to present proof of their being born in the U.S. I mean just generally, not specific to Obama. Hard to believe that we don't do this very simple thing given that it's a requirement of the Constitution that our President be born here.

    March 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Russ

    To those that have posted here claiming the Supreme Court's rejection only confirms the conspiracy theory that Obama wasn't born in the US – what you fail to realize is the Supreme Court isn't rejecting this appeal because they're trying to participate in a cover-up, they're rejecting it because it's absurd, it's been proven to be completely false several times (including by a republican governor of Hawaii) & they're not going to dignify the absurd claim with a response or a formal trial, otherwise they'd be setting a precendent for initiating legal hearings for any absurd conspiracy theory claim out there. What's next – a supreme court hearing on whether Bush ordered the Twin Towers imploded from within so he could have an excuse to start a war? Please – get a grip. I'm not an Obama fan and don't agree with many of his policies, however the birthers need to grow up and move on.

    March 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. DB

    What does everyone expect out of the Liberal Based Supreme Court, of which most members were appointed by Democratic Presidents? This is to be expected out of them. One would think that if there was nothing to hide that the Obama administration and Berry himself would be all over this like stink on poop, to get it resolved once and for all. I believe that papers do exist which prove where he was born beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there are people that know where he was born beyond a shadow of a doubt and they should be used to settle this lingering shadow so it does not thrn the cloud into a thunderstorm. If the administration continues to ignore the issue or refuses to prove, more than providing the recently issued Hawaiian copy of a live birth certificate that we have all seen, there will always be that lingering question. I CHALLENGE THE BO ADMINISTRATION TO DO THIS. Let's get this done and quit all the speculation, questions, and waste of time.

    March 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. svann

    A good journalist would have either briefly stated on what basis the appeal was rejected or stated that it was rejected without comment.

    March 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Matt

    Another wrong choice made by the court. Doesnt matter if you agree with it or not, its every american right to challage, period. But i do wonder why or what they are hiding...Nobody is willing to show anything on paper..so it does make you wonder I guess we need to make it a law saying that every elected member must provide proof of citizenship. I dont understand why that should be a problem

    March 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Ed - Spring, Tx

    At least the supreme court has some sense. The birther stuff is just a lot of nonsense.

    March 7, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. SethroTull

    Apparently, a birth certificate from Hawaii isn't proof of a US born citizen?

    March 7, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Mario Chavez

    I am not sure if it is the conservative mindset (ie, puritanical way of thinking) that focuses on ideological and unimportant aspects of life and latches on to them, or if it is something else at work. Let's just say for a moment that Pres. Obama was born outside of the U.S.A., what then? Does the land where you are born grant you some genetic predisposition to be loyal to that particular patch of land? Really?

    March 7, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Robert

    John McCain wasn't born in the United States. Go after John McCain. Or the aliens trying to steal your thoughts.

    March 7, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Leilani from HI

    seriously, this is dumb. prior to announcing their intent, all candidates are vetted. period.

    March 7, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Ender

    The fact that the Supreme Court refuses to confirm Obama's status as a citizen born in the US just adds fuel to the fire. If he was born here then it shouldn't be a problem, should it? What're you hiding, Mr. President (what a joke)?

    Thats just the point. It's already proven he was born in Hawaii. In fact, it's been proven over and over again by many different sources from himself, to the media, to republican challengers who dug deeo to try and prove it wrong and confirmed his birth in Hawaii themselves.

    The "birthers" need to let it go already and stop ignoring all the proof that's been shown them.

    March 7, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. floridian4USA

    I don't know wether he is or isn't. I do know that we know less about this president than we have any other in recent history because of his extraordinary efforts to conceal his past from the American people. Why not put an end to it and produce a real birth certificate and not some bogus pos along with his papers while at Columbia, Harvard etc. Why is it necessary to hide from your past Mr president?

    March 7, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. AZLib

    Propaganda from Fox un-news continues to push this silly issue. Just last week Huckabee was telling a TV Crowd that our President was raised in Africa. This just proves that Fox is not news... it is 100% propaganda. People have a right to know the truth and falsehoods and propaganda should not have the title of "News".

    March 7, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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