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Feds decline to comment on citizenship lawsuit dismissal

Federal prosecutors have declined to comment directly on a federal court ruling which dismissed the citizenship lawsuit filed by five American Samoans and a California based organization. The suit asked the court to declare that all persons born in American Samoa  automatically be U.S. citizens.


U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon on Wednesday issued his ruling following oral arguments held Dec. 17  last year. According to Leon, plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and therefore granted defendants’ motion to dismiss.


Additionally, the Fourteenth Amendment's Citizenship Clause “does not guarantee birthright citizenship to American Samoans,” said Leon. (See yesterday’s edition for more details.)


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia represented the federal government in the case. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office typically does not comment on cases beyond what was submitted or stated to the court,” was the only response Samoa News received from the U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Bill Miller based in Washington D.C.


Miller did provide two main motions that were filed by the defendants in this case and the first was the motion to dismiss while the second was a response to the plaintiffs’ opposition to dismissing the case. Both motions were filed last year and reported by Samoa News.


Assistant U.S. Attorney, Wynne P. Kelly, who represented the defendants had argued among other things, that plaintiffs failed to state a claim as a matter of law.


“At the heart of plaintiffs’ complaint is an attempt to sidestep Congress’ proper exercise of its constitutionally enumerated power to determine the naturalization process for potential citizens in favor of a judicial fiat declaring an entire class of persons citizens of the United States,” Kelly argued in court documents.