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Challenge to Obama is rejected

Justices declined to take citizenship case.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear a long-shot challenge to President-elect Barack Obama's electoral eligibility.

Without comment, the court brushed off a New Jersey man's lawsuit contending that Obama did not meet the Constitution's citizenship requirements for the presidency.

The lawsuit was one of various challenges, promoted on Web sites and in the conservative media, that differ somewhat in detail but build on common questions and insinuations about the circumstances of Obama's birth.

Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, and his father, a native of Kenya, was a British subject.

Retired attorney Leo C. Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., argued in his petition to the Supreme Court that because Obama had dual nationality at birth, he was not a "natural born" citizen.

Anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, regardless of his or her parents' immigration status.

The persistence of the citizenship questions drove Obama's campaign to post a copy of his state-issued birth certificate online in June. Hawaii state officials confirmed Obama's birth there and the authenticity of the document.

Some conservative activists have not been convinced. They have been paying for ads and filing multiple lawsuits.

The justices still must dispose of at least one other legal challenge to Obama's eligibility, filed by lawyer Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa. A federal judge in Philadelphia threw out Berg's lawsuit in October, saying he lacked legal standing to bring the challenge.