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Parties in citizenship lawsuit agree: case is “amenable to resolution”

fili@samoanews.com

Plaintiffs and defendants in the citizenship lawsuit before the federal court in Washington D.C. say the parties have agreed that this case “is amenable to resolution by dispositive motion” according to a joint motion filed last week.

Lead plaintiff in the suit is local resident Leneuoti F. Tuaua and others, who allege that they are entitled to automatic U.S. citizenship under the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states that “All persons born… in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States...”

The plaintiffs were born in American Samoa, “Therefore, they are U.S. citizens by virtue of the Citizenship Clause,” the suit states.

The joint motion filed Nov. 19 with the federal court seeks to revise existing filing deadlines and set a briefing schedule.

The motion states that plaintiffs’ opposition to defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit is currently due no later than Nov. 26 and plaintiffs intend to file a Motion for Summary Judgment in combination with their Opposition.

Accordingly, Plaintiffs request that their deadline for filing their Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss - to be combined with their Motion for Summary Judgment - be extended to Jan. 16, 2013.

In addition, the parties jointly request that defendants’ deadline for filing a Reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss — to be combined with their Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment - be set for Feb. 13, 2013, and that plaintiffs’ deadline for filing a Reply in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment be set for Mar. 6, 2013.

The plaintiffs also say that they need additional time to address the amicus curiae brief by Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, who supported the defendants’ dismissal motion — plaintiffs do not oppose the filing of the Congressman’s brief.

The joint motion went on to say that the “parties agree that this case is amenable to resolution by dispositive motion, and that an extension of time is merited so that the issues can be properly briefed.”

The joint motion also reiterated that the “parties agree that the case can be resolved by the pending and forthcoming dispositive motions, without the need for discovery at this time.”

As of last Friday morning, electronic federal court records do not have any information on whether or not the joint motion has been granted. However, it does say that a “status conference” hearing is set for Nov. 30th before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon, who is presiding over this case.

Meanwhile, Leon on Nov. 15 allowed Faleomavaega’s amicus curiae brief to be included in this case.

In order to file an amicus curiae brief, the petitioner must first request permission from the court to file a motion to participate. Neither the defendants nor the plaintiffs  in this lawsuit opposed the motion to file the amicus curiae brief, said Faleomavaega.

“This means the amicus curiae brief is now made an official part of the court record in the Citizenship lawsuit,” he said in a brief statement. He also reiterated that his intent in filing the amicus brief is to bring to the court’s attention information that may prove useful in deciding the case.

“As a representative for American Samoa to the Congress for over 20 years, it is my responsibility to help protect and preserve our Samoan culture and way of life,” Faleomavaega said. “For this purpose, the amicus brief is important to describe for the court in detail the history and culture of American Samoa and, importantly, the dangers of applying the Citizenship Clause to our territory and the significant impact it will have on our culture.”



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