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No Rehearing in Samoa Citizenship Case
Andrew Hyman

On December 27, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 5-2 against en banc rehearing of Fitisemanu v. United States regarding a lawsuit by persons born in American Samoa claiming U.S. citizenship.  Judge Bacharach wrote a dissent to the denial of rehearing.

Mike Ramsey and I previously discussed this case at some length here at this blog, and a list of our blog posts is here.  As I mentioned, Christopher C. Langdell argued in 1899 that "United States" in the Citizenship Clause refers only to the states, because, "if they had contemplated Territories as well, they certainly would have said ‘citizens of the State or Territory in which they reside.'"  This is an interesting subject, and is closely linked to the issue of whether children of persons unlawfully in the United States are entitled to birthright citizenship, instead of having to rely upon Congress to decide the matter via naturalization.