The United States District Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed yesterday (August 5, 2009) the lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit Craig v. United States of America, although it returned the case to the lower to correct the dismissal to “without prejudice” which means the suit could be refiled.
As explained by the district court, Mr. Craig’s first complaint and his proposed amended complaint–”as well as his motion for declaratory judgment and
motion for class certification–”primarily addressed the alleged distinction between the rights of citizenship that attach to naturalized citizens and those that attach to natural-born citizens. Mr. Craig asserted that he, as a “Legacy,” or natural-born citizen, suffered from discrimination due to “exclusion of distinctions” and “omission of acknowledgement” due to Congress’s failure to enact laws recognizing this distinction, whereas it has enacted laws defining the requirements to become a naturalized citizen…. Mr. Craig thus sought redress in the form of a declaratory judgment defining “natural born Citizen,” as it appears in art. II, § 1, cl. 4 of the Constitution, and providing a means for citizens bearing that moniker to obtain certification of that fact from the federal government, as well as punitive damages….
Even liberally construed, Mr. Craig’s claim is not grounded in a constitutional or federal question: there is no such “right” (a) to have courts adopt his proffered legal definition, (b) to be classified as a citizen pursuant to that definition, or (c) to obtain certification of the status he attempts to define.
The court then cited a previous Supreme Court decision (which, as is often the case, uses “native born” and “natural born” interchangeably):
We start from the premise that the rights of citizenship of the native born and of the naturalized person are of the same dignity and are coextensive. The only difference drawn by the Constitution is that only the “natural born” citizen is eligible to be President. Art. II, § 1.
Note that Craig had previously appealed to the Supreme Court while the appeal was pending and is scheduled to be discussed on September 29, 2009.