“Federal Lawsuit Argues for Equal Citizenship in U.S. Territories”


Does Congress have the power to defy the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that all persons born on U.S. soil and subject to U.S. jurisdiction are citizens of the United States by birth? This is the question raised by a federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on behalf of a group of passport-holding, tax-paying Americans denied recognition as U.S. citizens and the right to vote simply because they were born in American Samoa, a U.S. territory since 1900. Fitisemanu v. United States makes the case that Congress cannot redefine the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to deny citizenship to persons born on U.S. soil, whether born in a state, a territory, or the District of Columbia.


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