Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Citizenship Case for American Samoans


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a major decision in a citizenship case that will no doubt further anger the left.

The nation’s highest court has turned down a request to hear a request by three American Samoans living in Utah to grant them full birthright citizenship, arguing that the Constitution requires it. They argued that their current status of being U.S. residents but not citizens prevent them from exercising key rights like being able to vote, running for office, and holding certain jobs, Reuters reported.

Last year, however, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with the Samoans, noting that the Constitution does not grant full citizenship to those who are born in U.S. territories like American Samoa, which is a small collection of islands located in the Pacific Oceans containing a population of around 50,000.

According to the 14th Amendment, “all persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Constitutional experts noted that the language of the amendment does not include U.S. territories; had the amendment said “or subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” then it’s much more likely the Samoans would have had a case. However the Biden administration agreed with that understanding, as Reuters added:


Beginning in 1901, the Supreme Court had rejected birthright citizenship for residents of U.S. territories in a series of rulings known as the “insular cases.” The court in some of those cases described people living in the territories as uncivilized and unamenable to Anglo-Saxon culture.

The Biden administration in an August brief told the Supreme Court that the insular cases were “indefensible and discredited,” but asked the court not to take the case because the text of the Constitution compelled the same result.

The government of American Samoa also asked the court not to take the case, saying its residents are divided over the citizenship issue and that it should be addressed through the political process and not in court.

The islands became a U.S. territory in 1900. Previously, Congress has decided, on a territory-by-territory basis, if those who are born in any of the five U.S. territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands — qualified for birthright citizenship. At present, American Samoa is the only other U.S. territory where residents are denied automatic citizenship.

In June, President Joe Biden, speaking in Madrid, Spain, lashed out at the nation’s highest court, one of the pillars of our three-tiered system of checks and balances. Biden’s remarks came in response to several key rulings by the high court that month and after he was asked about the reversal of Roe v. Wade, inflation, and mass shootings.

“How do you explain this to those people who feel the country is going in the wrong direction, including some of the leaders you’ve been meeting with this week who think when you put all of this together, it amounts to an America that is going backward?” The Associated Press reporter Darlene Superville queried


“They do not think that. You haven’t found one person, one world leader, to say, ‘America is going backward,’” he said. “America is better positioned to lead the world than we ever have been. We have the strongest economy in the world. Our inflation rates are lower than other nations in the world.

“The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States in overruling not only Roe v. Wade but essentially challenging the right to privacy,” he said.

“We’ve been a leader in the world in terms of personal rights and privacy rights. And it is a mistake in my view for the Supreme Court to do what it did,” he said.

He went on to talk about the war between Ukraine and Russia and that Americans would have to bear the cost of higher gas prices for “as long as it takes.” because Russia, “cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.”

Back to top button