28 July 2015

Full U.S. Court of Appeals asked to review decision in citizenship case


Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the U.S. citizenship lawsuit have petitioned the full U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to review a decision made last month by the three-judge panel — of the same appeals court — which ruled that the constitutional citizenship birth on U.S. soil does not apply to those born in American Samoa.

Plaintiffs in the case, led by local resident Leneuoti Tuaua, are five American Samoans and the Los Angeles based non profit group the Samoan Federation of America. Their petition for a hearing en banc (or full court) was filed Monday, which was the deadline to file such a request after the three-judge panel upheld the lower court’s decision.
In their petition, attorneys for the plaintiffs maintain that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause entitles individuals born in American Samoa to citizenship by virtue of their birth “in the United States.”
However, they argue that the three-member panel stopped short of decisively interpreting the Clause’s meaning, instead declining to apply the Clause to American Samoa in deference to the views of elected officials from American Samoa.


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