Justices to decide whether to hear Obama citizenship challenge

Chris Rizo Dec. 4, 2008, 2:00pm

Barack Obama (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Supreme Court will decide Friday whether to hear a lawsuit by challenging President-elect Barack Obama's qualifications to be president.

New Jersey attorney Leo Donofrio contends that Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen, which the constitution requires of presidents.

The lawsuit originally filed against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells sought to stay the Nov. 4 election.

Although Donofrio concedes Obama was born in Hawaii, he contends that Obama is a British citizen because to his father's British citizenship.

For the case to be placed on the high court's docket, four of the nine justices must agree to hear the case.

The Donofrio case is just one of a handful of lawsuit challenging Obama's citizenship.

The most well-know case was filed by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general. He unsuccessfully sought to enjoin the Democratic National Committee from nominating Obama.

Berg, a self-described "moderate to liberal" Democrat who supported Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, alleged Obama is not a U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible for the presidency.

He claimed Obama is either a citizen of his father's native Kenya or that he became a citizen of Indonesia after he moved there as a young child.

For his part, Obama posted on his campaign Web site a Certificate of Live Birth indicating he was born in Honolulu in 1961.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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