17 Sep 2018

Judge partially grants Amata's 'permissive intervention' motion

4:03 pm on 17 September 2018

A federal judge has granted, in part, the American Samoa Government and Congresswoman Aumua Amata's motion for "permissive intervention" in the US citizenship lawsuit.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term. Photo: Supplied/United States Congress

However, US District Court Judge, Clark Waddoups, has denied the request for "intervention of right", ruling the issue is adequately addressed by federal defendants, the US government, State Department and its top officials.

Despite the mixed result attorney, Michael Williams, who is part of the team representing the territorial government and the Congresswoman, said the decision "is a victory for the people of American Samoa" because the case continues.

The plaintiffs are three American Samoans living in Utah who have argued that because they were born in the US territory they are entitled to automatic citizenship under the US Constitution.

However, the US argues that Congress, not the judiciary, makes the final determination on citizenship when it comes to territories.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs