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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Federal judge dismisses Obama citizenship lawsuit
Devin Montgomery at 2:55 PM ET

[JURIST] Judge R. Barclay Surrick of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website] on Friday dismissed [case materials] a lawsuit challenging the citizenship status and eligibility of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to become US president. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF], filed by Pennsylvania attorney Philip Berg, had alleged that Obama did not meet the constitutional requirement [LII backgrounder] of being a "natural born" US citizen, arguing that Obama had lost his citizenship as a child when his mother married an Indonesian man, and had failed to reclaim it upon becoming an adult. Berg also alleged that there was insufficient evidence that Obama had been born in the US, and challenged the veracity of his Hawaiian birth certificate [certificate image]. Surrick dismissed the case, finding that Berg lacked standing to bring the suit because he did not face direct harm even if the allegations were true. Berg has said that he plans to appeal [press release] the suit's dismissal. AP has more.

A similar court challenge was previously made to the citizenship of Obama's presidential rival, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), arguing [NYT report] that McCain did not qualify as a "natural born" US citizen because he was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, a military installation outside of US territory. US District Judge William Alsup dismissed that lawsuit [order, PDF] in September for lack of standing.

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