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Feds repeat call to reaffirm dismissal of citizenship suit

Attorney for the U.S. State Department, the federal government, and two officials of the U.S. State Department has reiterated a request for the federal appeal’s court in Washington D.C. of a summary affirmation of the lower court’s decision in June that dismissed the citizenship lawsuit filed by five America Samoans and a California based organization.


Late last month, the plaintiffs opposed the affirmation decision, arguing that among other things, this case presents the first opportunity for any appellate court to consider whether people born in American Samoa are U.S. citizens by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that “[a]ll persons born . . . in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” based on a provision of the U.S. Constitution.


Yesterday the defendants, through Assistant U.S. Attorney, Wynne P. Kelly, argued that the plaintiffs fail to demonstrate why the lower court’s decision dismissing the complaint “was not plainly correct”.


Kelly further argued that the lower court properly concluded that plaintiffs failed to state a claim and “summary disposition is appropriate” in this case because the “merits of this appeal are so clear as to make summary affirmance proper.”


According to Kelly, plaintiff-appellants’ arguments raised in their opposition to the affirmance motion “fails to disturb the central fact underpinning” the lower court’s “opinion: no relevant authority supports the proposition that the Fourteenth Amendment...confers automatic citizenship on those born in American Samoa to non-U.S. citizen parents.”


“In fact, the only thing novel about plaintiff-appellants’ complaint is that their pleading” asked the lower court “to determine by judicial fiat a status for American Samoans that Congress had expressly declined to provide, that the people of American Samoa’s representative opposed as endangering the fa’a Samoa or Samoan way of life, and which every other federal court had deemed unavailable to identically situated persons,” said Kelly, who again asked the appeal’s court for affirmation of the lower court’s decision.