Fitisemanu v. United States, No. 20-4017 (10th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, three citizens of American Samoa, asked the district court in Utah to declare that American Samoans were American citizens. The district court agreed and so declared. Appellants, the United States federal government joined by the American Samoan government and an individual representative acting as intervenors, asked the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the district court’s decision. The Tenth Circuit concluded that neither constitutional text nor Supreme Court precedent demands the district court’s interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. “It is evident that the wishes of the territory’s democratically elected representatives, who remind us that their people have not formed a consensus in favor of American citizenship and urge us not to impose citizenship on an unwilling people from a courthouse thousands of miles away, have not been taken into adequate consideration. Such consideration properly falls under the purview of Congress … These circumstances advise against the extension of birthright citizenship to American Samoa.” Accordingly, judgment was reversed.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on December 27, 2021.