Donofrio vs. Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference

I have posted on the Berg vs. Obama case challenging the U.S. citizenship of Barack Obama. I am not posting on this because I have special knowledge of or belief in the assumptions of the case. I am more interested in how this narrative has become a parallel universe to the daily transition to an Obama administration and the ongoing economic problems of the nation.
There are several of these cases meandering their way through various courts. Here is one which has gotten to the conference stage (Donofrio vs Wells).

No. 08A407
Title: Leo C. Donofrio, Applicant
Nina Mitchell Wells, New Jersey Secretary of State
Lower Ct: Supreme Court of New Jersey
Case Nos.: (AM-0153-08T2 at the New Jersey Appellate Division without a docket number)
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nov 3 2008 Application (08A407) for stay pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, submitted to Justice Souter.
Nov 6 2008 Application (08A407) denied by Justice Souter.
Nov 14 2008 Application (08A407) refiled and submitted to Justice Thomas.
Nov 19 2008 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 5, 2008.
~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Leo C. Donofrio P.O. Box 93
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Party name: Leo C. Donofrio

Donofrio also asked Justice Souter for a stay of the election and simultaneously in the same application (08A407) for a writ of certiorari in his challenge made in New Jersey. Souter dismissed both the stay and the writ petition. Donofrio exercised his right to petition another Justice and in this case petitioned Justice Thomas on November 14. Yesterday, the petition was distributed to the other Justices for a conference on December 5. It is important to remember that the conference will be devoted to whether to grant review of the case. As with Berg, I will be surprised if SCOTUS grants review.

24 thoughts on “Donofrio vs. Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference”

  1. I can’t believe the last few posts. They have no idea what the definition of natural-born is, versus ‘naturalized.’
    Two U.S. citizen parents are essential to natural-born status . . . it’s been that way since the 1790 Naturalization Act.
    Obama was a dual citizen (Britain and U.S.) the first year of his birth. He was of dual nationality (U.S. and Indonesia) until he re-established U.S. residency prior to age 25.
    He is naturalized by statute; the purpose of statute being to remove alien nationalities other than that of the ‘right of election’ . . . therefore, Obama is ‘naturalized’ . . . not natural-born.
    Read Immigration and Naturalization law for a while . . . and the British Nationality Act of 1948 while your at it . . . then make an educated comment.
    As for Obama ‘knew, or should have known’ whether he was eligible, or not. Actually, that is the definition of the tort of negligence. Obama broke the law . . . probably knowingly. Just as he did writing quid pro quo funding for his crooked slumlord cronies in Chicago . . . one of whom is in jail right now.

  2. I am late to the recognition that this tomfoolery is occurring. I thought the matter was settled last summer. That being said, I concur with others that Sharon’s claim of both parents needing to be citizens in oder to produce a natural born offspring is not buttressed by evidence or fact. Similarly, the fact that Obama’s mother was born in Kansas and never relinquished her citizenship automatically bestowed the same on Obama. Prove me wrong. If your parent is a citizen of the United States, you could be born on Mars and still be a natural born citizen. Get real! Think!

  3. Having read most of these blogs leave me to the conclusion that there are a lot of real sick ignorant people in America. Anyone who thinks Obama, a Harvard Law School Graduate, and an expert on the US Constitution would not know if he is a citizen of the US and eligible to become President of the U.S….based on the consitution. The deranged idiots would post all the garbage contained here need to get educated then get a life. And grow up.

  4. Folks might be interested to know we have already had four presidents with foreign born parents: James Buchanan’s father was born in Ireland; Chester Alan Arthur’s father was born in Ireland, Woodrow Wilson’s mother was born in England, Herbert Hoover’s mother was born in Canada. All these gentlemen were born after the Constitution was ratified. Do we know the citizenship status of their parents at the time of the future presidents’ birth? This suggests precedence. The premise of “dual citizenship” is incorrect as put forth by Donofrio. My son was not allowed to claim German citizenship though born in Germany because his parents were US citizens. Many countries require declaration of citizenship for one country or the other within a certain period following birth. So, my son’s loyalty should be questioned because he was born on foreign soil to two parents serving our nation?

  5. Umm, Karl … Donofrio concedes Obama was born in Hawaii in his lawsuit. This case turns solely on Donofrio’s dreamed-up theory about what “natural born” means. For the record, Donofrio also claims McCain was ineligible (due to being born in Panama) along with some fringe candidate as well.
    And, Sharon — the only reason this case has made it “this far” is because Donofrio keeps losing, and he keeps appealing. Even the most worthless cases follow the same trajectory if the litigants are stubborn enough — it doesn’t mean their cases have any merit to them.
    I’m also interested to hear your basis for the “natural born” status requiring both parents to be U.S. citizens, Sharon (same question HR Guy 17 asked). So far, I haven’t seen any response to that. I’ve gone through every Supreme Court case that even mentions the phrase “natural born,” and I can’t find anything that would support your contention. If you can point me to where you derive support for this claim, it would be very helpful.

  6. This is a matter that voting Americans should have had a right to know before the presidential election of November 4, 2008. This matter concerns Barack Obama’s status concerning the natural born citizen clause in the qualifications for the President of the United States. At this juncture the electoral college needs to have the right to know whether Barack Obame is or is not an actual legally “natural born citizen,” or in casting their votes for Barack Obama they are also not acting with due diligence to the Constitution of the United States of America.
    I do not believe that simply possessing a Certificate of Live Birth should be all that is required to prove natural born citizenship. Such a document could mean any number of things. Legal proof of natural born citizenship is not necessarily verified by the possession of a Certificate of Live Birth. The issue of Dual Citizenship as a child should be addressed and clarified
    Barack Obama (whose legal name is even uncertain at this time) is about to be confirmed by the electoral college of the United States of America as President of the United States of America.
    This is happening despite the lack of certainty over the necessary qualification of being a natural born citizen of the United States of America.
    It would appear that the actual legal facts surrounding the birth of Barack Obama are not in any way verified. Members of his Hawaiian family who were not present at the time of the birth have added to this confusion. There are newspaper reports of his birth having been in two different hospitals in Honolulu, Hawaii.
    A purported copy of an “original” Certificate of Live Birth had been put forward to the general public as proof of his native birth in Hawaii. Certificates of live birth do not have to indicate anything other than what is perceived by a municipality that issues such a document to be a simple factual statement concerning a birth whether outside of a hospital, or designated as a minimal amount of necessary assumed true facts. If there are not attending doctors in an actual hospital, the actual place of birth has possibly not been verified by the municipality that issued the COLB. A COLB from Hawaii could actually also record a birth location not in Hawaii.
    Add to the circumstances that Barack Obama’s father was not an American citizen, but he may also have illegally married Ann Durham according to the laws of the State of Hawaii. Barack Obama’s father has married (in either religious or civil settings) without due diligence being performed by the attending officials. He had at least one wife in Africa prior to his marriage to Ann Durham.
    Members of Barack Obama;s father’s extended family have made assertions that he was born in a Hospital in Africa. There have also been affidavits attesting to the existence of birth records in a hospital in Africa. It appears common knowledge to many Africans that Barack Obama really was born in Africa. There have been statements from Islamic religious authorities that Barack’s given religious name in Africa contained “Mohammed.”
    All this to say Barack Obama may not even know the whole story himself, but because some information was told to some individual with civil authority he was registered as born in Hawaii. Factually correct or not he does possess a COLB from Hawaii.
    There apparently are two birth records. The first is from a hospital in Africa with an attending doctor’s acknowledgement as well as supporting religious collaboration of an assigned legal name. The second is from a local municipality in Hawaii that is not an actual birth certificate witnessed by a doctor. The original information used as the basis for the formulation of this COLB has not been verified and may be in error since the African records show both a municipal and a religious collaboration.
    Someone may have lied, not known the law or actually succeeded in circumventing the law in how the COLB came into existence in the first place. If any of these is true it is important for the Electoral College to enter into their voting with clear knowledge regarding these circumstances. Legal questions that were kept from being considered by the general public need to be considered by the Electoral College.
    Other parties may have acted outside the legal requirements concerning this matter of the natural born citizenship of Barack Obama, but the Supreme Court can not let this matter fail to be investigated beyond the voting of the Electoral College. Settle this issue expediently, it is their constitutional responsibility and check upon the Office of the Presidency.
    The matter needs to be investigated thoroughly before the Electoral College votes and it is later discovered that the documents proving his uncertain Hawaiian birth and his more definite African Native birth come to light.
    This case may need to resolve itself in the requirement that the legal marriage (civil or religious) of Ann Durham may have to be declared illegitimate. Other wise the foreign birth by a married 18 year old that could not pass her citizenship on to her son who was born in a foreign land could be now be passed on to her son as she could be considered the sole legal parent and her citizenship was in Hawaii for a least a year prior to the birth of her son. This would still require legal action to verify all of this historically.
    Karl Kunker

  7. Dear HR Guy 17,
    Well, thats a good question and one that is not pertinent to this matter since Obama’s father was kenyan and not a united states citizen..
    his mother was a US citizen but was 18 at the time of his birth..
    (so much for honor, the father impregnated a folish white girl and the skipped town, sounds familiar!)..
    SO, unless he WAS born in hawaii, he is NOT a natural born citizen and thus not constitutionally qualified to fill the office of president.
    for a discussion on the meanings and the writings of the founders and the why of this constitutional provision.
    Now, i personally do not think a constitutional crisis would be good for the USA at this particular time but Obama must either prove “it or step down.
    Bill Morrow
    “one who is NOT brainwashed by the media and hollywood propaganda machine”

  8. For those hoping that they would hear news today regarding SCOTUS’s decision on Donofrio v. Wells, the Court’s orders issued today contain no hint:
    “(ORDER LIST: 555 U.S.)
    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2008
    The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.
    The motion of National Employment Lawyers Association for
    leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted.
    The petition
    for a writ of certiorari is granted.”

  9. Sharon, please point out to us where it says in the Constitution that the child who becomes President must be born to people who are citizens AND be born in the US? I would love to know where that is in the language cause I can’t find it.
    Please look at the actual document. I have scoured it end to end without success.
    Here is a link…

  10. truly the most ridiculous lawsuit I have ever seen. The Alan Keyes article in Essence shows him to be the disingenuous arse that lead to his not getting elected in the first place. Second, for all those right wingers out there, do you think Fox News wouldn’t have loved to report this story? Come on folks.
    For those in favor of this lawsuit, my guess is you fall on the side of favoring “strict constructionism” in interpreting the constitution. Ok, you want it that way, no problem. Point out to me where it mentions anything about dual citizenship? How about a clear, unambiguous definition of “natural born”?
    Everyone wants to point at Article 2, Section 1 as specifying who can be President. What about the 14th Amendment that defines citizenship? The first line says “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
    Sorta takes care of the debate doesn’t it? Constructionists do not get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they want to apply nor do they get to loosely interpret what was meant. Only us liberals get to do that…

  11. I think these so-called cases are nothing more than racism being practiced by racists who are trying to use the courts to impose their racists creeds upon the rest of us.
    Article Two of the Constitution sets the principal qualifications to be eligible for election as President. A Presidential candidate must:
    be a natural-born citizen of the United States;
    be at least thirty-five years old;
    have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
    I’m not sure where “Sharon” got her information that both parents also had to be U.S. citizens. That’s the first time I have heard that argument, which seems to indicate that some people, including Mr. Berg & others are making up things as they go along.
    Is this an indication that President Elect Obama will be harassed every day of his term(s) as Clinton was harassed?

  12. I just came across this and I have to say to the author, well color yourself unsurprised now because this case was just set to be heard today. It’s on the Supreme Court docket.
    I also beg to differ with the person who felt the Constitution allows for children with parents of loyalties to different countries. The Constitution does not allow for that. It requires BOTH parents to be American citizens. Then and only then, can that child’s children be eligible for POTUS.
    I seriously doubt this case would have made it this far if it didn’t even meet the merits of ineligibility.
    You can confirm the details regarding the SCOTUS decision at the lawyer, Donofrio’s blog which I found at:

  13. I think justis Soulter out of line and shedding his responsibility to follow the constitution of the United States of America. If Mr. Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States of America he cannot be president. The courts must follow the law as set in the constitution by our fore fathers.
    The Supreme Court of the United States has to follow the constitution to the letter and not be influenced by parties backing Mr. Obama and the DNC.
    Please do what the constitution states, and not bend the constitution to satisfy the DNC.
    We the peple only want what is right.
    Thank you

  14. Thanks for your responses GeorgetownJD, I just read them this morning before I start my day at work. I will chime in with more later when I have time. Have a great day.

  15. Roger wrote:

    Supreme Court Justice Thomas thinks
    this deserves a conference.

    I would take issue. When one Justice has denied an application for stay, the applicant may renew his application and directed to another Justice. However, this is disfavored because it puts the second Justice in the awkward position of second-guessing his colleague. Understandably, a Justice is reluctant to go on record granting relief when his/her colleague has denied that same relief. Therefore, it is customary for the second Justice to buck the renewed application to the full Court. Virtually every renewed application for stay is referred, at which point the Clerk distributes it and schedules it for an upcoming conference.
    I wouldn’t read anything into Justice Thomas’s referral. He routinely refers renewed applications to the full Court.

  16. Regarding the Donofrio case, GeorgetownJD, atty, posted a comment on another thread that is related to this case. I am reproducing it here:

    FredVN — As between Leo Donofrio and “Judah Benjamin” I would choose Leo’s argument. JB’s argument makes the mistake, as Leo points out, of relying on the 1790 immigration law that was subsequently repealed, and JB also ignores the following language in Justice Swayne’s opinion in United States v. Rhodes: “An alien naturalized is ‘to all intents and purposes a natural born subject.’ Co. Litt. 129. “Naturalization takes effect from birth; denization from the date of the patent.”
    When Justice Swayne wrote of “naturalization” he was using the term in the classical sense of the word: the process by which one becomes a citizen. One process is to be “naturalized” at birth (natural born); the second way to be “naturalized” is to go through a prescribed process sometime after birth. In the second instance, then, when Justice Swayne wrote that an alien who is naturalized is effectively a natural born citizen, what he meant is that the statutory process of naturalization puts the new citizen in the exact same status of a citizen who was naturalized at birth; there is no discrimination between them vis-a-vis legal rights, no first class citizenship for natural borns and second class of citizenship for those naturalized under the statutory process.
    In Rhodes, Justice Swayne was sitting as a circuit court judge (in the 18th and 19th centuries Justices “rode circuit” acting as court of appeals judges in addition to their Supreme Court duties), so the opinion has persuasive value but is not binding on SCOTUS. Keep in mind that Rhodes was decided a few months after the Fourteenth Amendment was proposed but before it was ratified. Nevertheless, Rhodes sets out the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    Where Leo Donofrio veers off course is his suggestion that for purposes of the “natural born” language in Art. II there are three statuses: natural born, naturalized, and dual citizenship. In Donofrio’s view, a newborn who has dual citizenship has divided allegiances. First, there is absolutely no legal support for the proposition that dual citizenship precludes one from being a natural born citizen. The Supreme Court, which has numerous times recognized that there are only two forms of citizenship (natural born and naturalized), is not going to buck more than 200 years of precedent and announce a new, hybrid form of citizenship. Second, from a practical standpoint, it is preposterous to suggest that a newborn infant has conflicting loyalties between two nations. The Justices, even the conservative members, are not such ideologues that they would allow this theoretical conflict to get in the way of real world sensibilities, particularly in this case where Obama’s Kenyan citizenship expired on his 21st birthday. SCOTUS does not rule on hypotheticals.

    Be part of the solution.
    There are a ton of us are going to DC on Friday.
    Even if Obama has a Hawaii Birth Certificate
    The fact is Obama was born with Dual
    Citizenship Britain and USA.
    He is not a “natural born citizen” as the founding fathers
    would have interpreted the definition.
    Supreme Court Justice Thomas thinks
    this deserves a conference.
    See docket below.
    8:00 AM ALL DAY
    SUPREME COURT STEPS – DC Metro Map Link.
    Blue or Orange METRO Capitol South Station
    North about 5 blocks – Capitol Building is on the left
    Supreme Court is on the right
    Just past the Library of Congress.
    [email protected]
    Be part of the solution.
    No. 08A407
    Leo C. Donofrio, Applicant
    Nina Mitchell Wells, New Jersey Secretary of State
    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of New Jersey
    Case Nos.: (AM-0153-08T2 at the New Jersey Appellate Division without a docket number)
    ~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nov 3 2008 Application (08A407) for stay pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, submitted to Justice Souter.
    Nov 6 2008 Application (08A407) denied by Justice Souter.
    Nov 14 2008 Application (08A407) refiled and submitted to Justice Thomas.
    Nov 19 2008 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 5, 2008.
    Nov 19 2008 Application (08A407) referred to the Court by Justice Thomas.
    Nov 26 2008 Supplemental brief of applicant Leo C. Donofrio filed. (Distributed)

  18. For a brief introduction to Donofrio’s Supreme Court case regarding Obama’s natural-born citizenship status, listen to this 9-minute youtube audio:
    The Berg lawsuit, and to some extent the Keyes lawsuit as well, focus on Obama’s birth certificate.
    Donofrio argues that Obama’s birth certificate is irrelevant. Since Obama had dual citizenship at birth, he cannot be a natural born citizen and thus is ineligible to serve as president.
    At least one lawyer thinks Donofrio has a compelling case:

  19. I was REALLY thankful to see that Essence (a black magazine) interviewed Alan Keyes about his lawsuit in the CA supreme court. Dr Keyes did a good job on stating the problems, as we as the concern of undermanding the constitution, that a president elect would then swear to uphold & defend (how can one do this if one has lied to become Prez elect?) I am impressed that Essence did not seem to do much editing, and even asked Dr Keyes what if Mr Obama became
    Prez without fulfilling the requirments of the consitution such as citizenship. My DC House Rep said that every court would find a legal loophole to dismiss…which ticks me off. our men are overseas fighting to protect our freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution~what then are they fighting and dying for? Futhermore, if the courts had been afraid of rioting in the 1950s & 1960s and always dismissed…there could very easily still be segregation…just as Dr Keyes notes that it was the constitution adherence to the constitution that brought the same rights to blacks as whites. To read the Keyes interview…

  20. “As with Berg, I will be surprised if SCOTUS grants (Donofrio) review.”
    To mention these two lawsuits in the same breath is misleading. The are 180 degress different. One has no reason to succeed, the other has no reason to fail.
    A SCOTUS review of the Donofrio Pleadings is already in progress. The review will be formalized on Dec 5. An Emergency Stay of Electoral College voting may be called immediately. Oral arguments may or may not be required, or the Court could simply find in favor of and fashion a remedy for the violations.
    Since Donofrio v Wells is based on a foundation which has been used for centuries, is the ‘surprise’ a result of shock that anyone would take the Constitution seriously?

  21. It requires one Justice to put a case on the disrtibution list for conference; four Justices to agree to grant certiorari; and five to overturn a lower court’s ruling. I agree that Donofrio’s is facing long odds. Perhaps the Supreme Court is intrigued by Donofrio’s argument that a person born with dual citizenship is disqualified, and wants to put the issue to rest. If so, the Court would rule only on the legal question of dual citizenship, and would not address the speculation of a “Kenya birth” or “Indonesian adoption.”

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