U.S. Files For Second Extension In Am. Samoa Citizenship Case

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Defense attorney requests reply deadline pushed to Oct. 31

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Oct. 17, 2012) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has again sought another time extension to reply to the citizenship lawsuit led by Leneuoti F. Tuaua, along with five individuals and a Samoan organization based in California.

Defendants in the case are the U.S. State Department, Hillary Rodham Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, and Janice L. Jacobs, in her official capacity as Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.

Representing the defendants is Assistant U.S. Attorney Wynne P. Kelly, who first filed with the federal court in Washington DC for a time extension to file the defense reply, which was granted by the federal court with today (Oct. 17) the deadline.

However, Kelly filed yesterday the second motion for extension of time to reply, saying that plaintiffs and counsel for plaintiffs consent to the relief requested, in which good cause exists.

Since being served with the suit, counsel for defendants have worked diligently with the State Department counsel to analyze Plaintiffs’ claims, according to the defense motion

Also due to the "complexity of the issues raised and due to the press of other business," defendants require a brief extension of time to fully respond to plaintiffs’ complaint.

Specifically, defendants’ counsel has had several other filings and events in other federal court cases due recently, including but not limited to three federal cases and interviewing witnesses for these three cases.

Therefore, in the interests of the parties’ and the court’s resources, defendants request that their deadline to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint be extended to October 31, 2012, according to the defense motion, which also states that plaintiffs will not be prejudiced by this extension and have consented to the relief requested.

The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies throughout the United States, including American Samoa. According to the suit, the Citizenship Clause provides: "All persons born… in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."

The plaintiffs were born in American Samoa, "Therefore, they are U.S. citizens by virtue of the Citizenship Clause."

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