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Fed allows briefs in citizenship lawsuit appeal

The federal appeal’s court in Washington D.C. has “granted” a request by U.S. House delegates Madeleine Z. Bordallo and Donna Christensen to participate as ‘amici curiae’, or “friend of the court”, in support of the five American Samoans and one California based Samoan organization who filed a lawsuit against the federal government arguing that they are entitled to being U.S. citizens under a provision of the U.S. Constitution.


Another request for ‘amici curiae’ granted by the court is that from Samuel Erman, an Assistant Professor of Law at University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.


The trio will now file detailed briefs on the issues that they wish to argue in support of the plaintiffs.


Bordallo of Guam and Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands noted that resolution of this case may impact not only American Samoa but also other United States territories and federal governance of those territories.


Erman’s proposed brief will assist the Court in deciding the “ultimate legal issue in this case — whether persons born in American Samoa are United States citizens — by explaining the historical conception of jus soli citizenship in the United States, including how courts have traditionally viewed birthright citizenship, and how citizenship and nationality were conceptualized in the early days of the United States.”


 (According to Princeton University website, ‘jus soli’ — is Latin ‘for right of the soil’ — and is commonly known as birthright citizenship.)