Clarence Thomas pushes Obama citizenship case onto Supreme Court docket


WASHINGTON (RushPRnews)12/05/08-The controversial effort to challenge Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship got unexpected support when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pushed the issue onto the Court’s docket for Friday after it had been rejected last month. The Court will decide on Friday whether to consider a New Jersey case against Obama that charges the president-elect has not demonstrated his U.S. citizenship, as required by the Constitution.

The case, Donofrio v. Wells, was filed by Leo C. Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells and heard by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

On Monday, November 3, an application (08A407) for a “stay pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari” was submitted to Justice David Souter, who denied the request on November 6.

A week after Souter’s rejection of the case, the application was refiled and submitted to Justice Clarence Thomas. Instead of rejecting the application, Thomas distributed it to his colleagues, and the issue was scheduled for conference on Friday, December 5. A brief from Donofrio was filed the day before Thanksgiving and the conference is not set to take place, according to official Court records.

While the justices are convening inside the courthouse, demonstrators will be gathering outside for a vigil in support of the case.


The New Jersey case is one of several challenges to Obama’s election, including a federal suit by Philip Berg from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania, and one by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes in California. The Supreme Court refused to hear the Berg case after the lower court held that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the suit. Several other suits filed have been dismissed in Hawaii and Ohio.

The Obama campaign argues that Barack Obama is a naturally born U.S. citizen, born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and his birth certificate has been validated by officials in that state.

The latest move by Justice Thomas was first reported by the Washington Afro-American newspaper, which described it as a “highly unusual move.”

The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Dec. 15 to certify Obama as the next president of the United States.

“Donofrio is questioning Obama’s citizenship because the former Illinois senator, whose mom was from Kansas, was born in Hawaii and his father was a Kenyan national. Therefore, Donofrio argues, Obama’s dual citizenship does not make Obama ‘a natural born citizen’ as required by Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution,” according to the Afro story.

After Souter rejected his case, Donofrio followed the rules of procedure for the Supreme Court and re-submitted the application as an emergency stay in accordance to Rule 22, which allows an emergency stay request to be given to another justice, at the choice of the petitioner, according to the Afro story.

“Thomas’s actions were rare because, by custom, when a justice rejects a petition from his own circuit, the matter is dead,” the Afro reported.

If the Court accepted the case and ultimately overturned the election results, it would be the second time in 8 years that the Court had intervened in a presidential election. Thomas, the only African-American member of the Supreme Court, famously participated in the controversial Bush v. Gore case in 2000.

In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state of Florida to suspend its recount of votes that could have determined the winner of the election. In the end, George W. Bush defeated Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes in the state of Florida.

AP Photo by Randy Snyder.

Source: The Daily Voice Articles written by a Staff Reporter are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.