You are here
Tuaua v. United States
American Samoa has been a part of the United States for more than a century. Nonetheless, current federal law classifies persons born in American Samoa as so-called “non-citizen nationals” – the only Americans so classified – thus denying the plaintiffs their constitutional citizenship guaranteed by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It is also the U.S. State Department’s policy to imprint a disclaimer in the plaintiffs’ passports that reads: “THE BEARER IS A UNITED STATES NATIONAL AND NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN.” As a result, the plaintiffs and others born in American Samoa are denied the same rights and benefits as other Americans who are recognized as citizens, including the right to vote, the right to apply for and hold many jobs and the right to bear arms.
On July 10, 2012, Constitutional Accountability Center filed Tuaua v. United States in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to vindicate the Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship at birth and contesting the constitutionality of federal laws and policies that deny U.S. citizenship to persons born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. The lawsuit was filed by CAC, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, and prominent American Samoa attorney Charles V. Ala’ilima, on behalf of Leneuoti Tuaua and other individuals born in American Samoa, as well as the Samoan Federation of America.
On December 17, 2012, Judge Richard Leon held a hearing on Defendants’ motion to dismiss, calling the Tuaua case “truly novel and interesting.” A decision is pending.
- July 10, 2012 – Complaint filed by CAC and co-counsel
- November 7, 2012 – Motion to Dismiss Filed by United States
- November 8, 2012 - Congressman Faleomavaega files motion for leave to file amicus curiae brief
- December 7, 2012 - Opposition to Motion to Dismiss Filed by CAC and co-counsel
- December 12, 2012 - Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss filed by United States
- December 12, 2012 - Reply as amicus curiae in Support of Defendants filed by Congressman Faleomavaega
- December 17, 2012 – Hearing on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss before Judge Richard Leon (D.D.C.), decision pending.
- Tuaua, Complaint
- United States, Motion to Dismiss
- Congressman Faleomavaega, motion for leave to file brief amicus curiae, and brief
- Tuaua, Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
- United States, Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
- Congressman Faleomavaega, Reply as amicus curiae in Support of Defendants