We are petitioning the High Commissioner of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to cease its failure to recognize and address complaints by Black people within the borders or under the imperial rule of the United States regarding systemic racist violations of their Human Rights. It has now been almost a year since we first filed our complaint regarding the wholesale illegal indefinite imprisonment "Native" Virgin Islanders. 

   We have called on the UN to clean house of U.S. agents on its staff, as we found when we encountered as the sole representative and ultimate authority a single person with the title "Secretariat of the Complaint Procedure." After six months of just sitting on our complaint to the commission, that one person who is not on the commission and at best is only a clerk, informed us that he/she had taken it upon themselves not to forward our complaint to the Commission on the basis that 1) illegal imprisonment or detention of Black people in the U.S. is not considered (by the "Secretariat") as "a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violation of human rights; and 2) Black demands for justice from the UN to address and arrest domestic human rights violation is "politically motivated."  

   This  is simply unacceptable, this is the same type of treatment we complain of with regard to trying to seek redress in the U.S. courts, what we call "the Jim Crow Dispensation." The secretariat is a secretary, this is the equivalent of a court clerk deciding who can have access to the court and who cannot, that is not within the purview of the job. We have called on the High Commissioner to act, end U.S. and European control and misuse of the UN, please sign our petition for accountability and justice. Click on link below   https://www.thepetitionsite.com/650/774/942/demand-that-unchr-address-u.s.-human-rights-violations/?temp-new-window-replacement=true


   The VI prisoners have been once again moved, this time they are in transit, they are no longer held in the CCA facilities in Arizona, they are being temporarily held in a CCA regional jail in Mississippi.  Shortly after the hurricanes hit the Virgin Islands, all 149 or so Virgin Islands prisoners without sentences, including the VI3, were quietly moved to another Correctional Corporation of America facility, this one in Florence, Arizona. Now, after their complaint to the United Nations was obstructed, they have all been subjected to yet another move, this time to a CCA regional jail in the Mississippi delta, a transit point. They are being moved from one "Black Hole" to another maintained by the Corrections Corporation of America.  

    The prisoners are in need of personal financial, legal, and political support. They are all being held in violation of international law, none of them have had purported "sentences" since 2000-01, yet the U.S. government persists in holding them in prison, while refusing to allow them to challenge their illegal detentions in U.S. courts and under U.S. law.    

  They are now being held at the CCA Tallahatchie Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Ms.  415 U.S. Highway 49 North, 38963.


  Third Circuit Court Chief Judge, David Smith, upholds the criminality of judges and U.S. Government in refusing to address the substance of the judicial complaint filed by ITJ, as well as the habeas corpus filed on behalf of the VI3 and "all those similarly situated." 

    The current chief judge, not the one in place at the time this action was initiated, now acts to illegally cover for the former. David Smith, along time judicial hack since Ronald Reagan, stepped in and tried a gangsta move. 

    As the current Chief Judge, to whom the complaint was not addressed, Smith is going strong-arm us on our claims and expect that we take it. And indeed we do, as further proof that the U.S. judicial system is just thoroughly racist, corrupt, and unworkable as the other branches of the same machine. Smith confirms our position...  resources/Response%20to%20Wiegand.odt

     The U.S. claims a hold over people and islands  of Puerto Rico and the "Virgin Islands," based entirely on old piracies, crimes against humanity that have gone unaccounted for, and continue. The U.S. "purchased" the people of the Virgin Islands from another pirate nation, Denmark, in 1917 for 25 million in gold. While it hijacked Puerto Rico from Spain through a fabricated war. The U.S. classifies the "natural" inhabitants of both as "non-citizen nationals," imperialist double-speak for slaves.

    Bob Marley and the Whalers spoke to this with this song, "Redemption Song," which is old piracies.


       Tar Baby: 

   The Racism of          White Liberalism


  the Innocence Project,  National Lawyers guild, and numerous others whO decide tHAT IS OKAY TO Refuse help and SUPPORT THE HUMAN RIGHTS FIGHT of THE VI3 AND THEIR PEOPLE AGAINST u.s. Colonialism and White Privilege... www.itj-pdn.org

  The Perseverance of the People Shall Always Win Out Over the Oppressor. for the People United Can Never be Defeated! 


                 Wrongfully Imprisoned Since 1972, the Last 18                  Without Even the Pretense of a Sentence

    Haneef Bey (Beaumont Gereau),     Abdul Azziz (Warren Ballentine),          Malik Bey (Meral Smith)

                THE VIRGIN ISLAND 3 HAVE BEEN IMPRISONED FOR 45-YEARS,                            The Last 17 Without even the pretense of any sentencE             WHILE THE U.S. COURTS HAVE REFUSED TO PROCESS THEIR PAPERS

     Originally there were five young Black men charged with and "convicted" of the "Fountain Valley Massacre" in 1972, where seven White "tourist" and a "mulatto" where killed during a robbery of the posh Rockefeller resort. There was Ishmael Labeet, the alleged leader only because he was the oldest at 23, and had been sent to Vietnam. Then there was Rafael Joseph, Beaumont Geraeu, Warren Ballentine, and the youngest Meral Smith. None of them were "hardened criminals" as portrayed by the government , the oldest was just 23, just island boys trying to survive under racist foreign rule. In order to quickly repress what the FBI and CIA considered the beginning of another slave uprising, where there had been a couple against the Danish, over 100 young Black men were rounded up within a week of the incident. They were beaten, their families safety was threatened, while five were subjected to extreme torture that supposedly lead to "confessions."  They were quickly tried and convicted, then sentenced to over 700-years in prison  each, then whisked off to federal prison all within a few hours by the U.S. government. 

    After more than a decade of political imprisonment, in 1984 Ishmael LaBeet was able to execute the hijacking a plane and escaped to Cuba, where he was given political asylum and resides today as a Cuban citizen. In 1992, Rafael Joseph was given a pardon by the colonial governor, even though he was supposedly a "federal prisoner," and there was no rational basis as to why the pardon did not extend to Haneef, Abdul, and Malik as well.  In 2000-01, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons "transferred" all 200 or so of the Islanders it held in its custody, to the "custody" of the colonial government.  The problem with this was that none of them had been convicted of any offense by the colonial court, so had no sentence to be "transferred" to, this was a mass transformation of indefinite detention being based on the pretense of a "lawfully" imposed sentence, to indefinite detention without the pretense of a "lawfully" imposed sentence. This action occurred prior to the opening of "Black Sites" around the world by the U.S., where any person not considered as a "U.S. citizen"  could be kidnapped, disappeared, detained in some undisclosed location, tortured, then indefinitely detained. Thus, the first "Gitmo" was not established in Cuba by the U.S., but was established at the Golden Grove prison in St. Croix. However, prior to being sent to the Golden Grove prison, the island prisoners were leased out to various state prison systems.  Finally, in 2009, all of the remaining islanders being illegally held as prisoners of the states, where returned to St. Croix, to the Golden Grove prison.

      In 2015, Haneef, Abdul, and Malik requested the assistance of the Institute for Tsunamic Justice to investigate the reason why they were not even being allowed to apply for parole, even though they were eligible to do so for over two-decades.  ITJ was able to determine that the reason they were not being allowed to apply for parole was because, their sentences were terminated in 2000-01, when the FBOP "transferred" them. Under U.S. law, once the U.S. government terminated its claimed "custody," it terminated the sentences it imposed, so if the person had no other sentence with any other "jurisdiction," they were to have been released. The fact is that they were not, not the three, nor any of their fellow islanders similarly situated. When Haneef, Abdul, and Malik all filed habeas corpus petitions in December 2015, in the same court in which they were tried, the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands. The "chief judge," a black woman named Wilma Lewis, decided to shut the courthouse doors, refusing to process the petitions as mandated by law. Lewis never issued an order to the colonial governor, a black man named Kenneth Mapp, to produce the bodies and show lawful right for his detention of them. Instead, Mapp was allowed to physically retaliate against the three, having them summarily placed in maximum-security isolation and then removing them along with approximately 150 other islanders to private imprisonment. The colonial government never responded to the petitions other than by why of repression, and the U.S. courts have refused to hold it accountable for the unaccountable mass incarceration of native islanders by the U.S. government. Which comes just as the U.S. is celebrating the purchase

     Prior to deciding to go with the ITJ recommended strategy, Haneef, Abdul, and Malik for years had been allowed to attend community events around St. Croix as featured speakers essentially unattended by the prison. Suddenly, after they filed the petitions they we made maximum-security isolation prisoners and then once again shipped away from their homeland, family, and friends. ITJ took their case through the American judiciary, not expecting justice, but to show that it was given the chance to do justice and it refuses to do so, in violation of its own and international law.  We thus establish this as Human Rights issue, a clear case of systemic violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but which the U.S. knows that its control of the U.N. will never result in any action against for the continuing  violation of the Human Rights of "niggers" that it  owns. Thus, in spite of the fact that we show that the U.S. government is guilty of perpetrating indefinite illegal detention, in violation of the UNDHR, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights does not respond. That is the same case that we make against the U.S. judiciary. So, what do we do now that we have exhausted all required avenues for relief and have been illegally denied even basic process, which is then sanctioned by the dereliction of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.    

    In the spring of 2016 a formal and complete complaint was made to the U.N Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the three and "All Others Situated," showing documented proof that the U.S. judiciary has acted in violation of  U.S. and international law in order to perpetuate the U.S. systemic racist violation of Human Rights. To date, some eight-months later, the prisoners remain held in a private maximum security prison, having gone for the past 46-years from indefinite federal prisoners, to prisoners for lease indefinitely, to indefinite colonial prisoners, and now indefinite private prisoners. The colonial regime failed and has refused to account for its claim of having any lawful right to detain them (for a more detailed account click "").

To contact them at the Saguaro Correctional Facilitity, 1252 E. Arica Rd. ;  Eloy, Arizona 85131:

             Haneef Bey (Beaumont Geraeu)  #5161331 , Abdul Azziz (Warren Ballentine) #5161422, Malik Bey (Meral Smith) #5161387 


    Award winning documentary filmmaker Jamie Kastner just released his latest work,   "The Skyjackers Tale," at the s Toronto Film Festival to much acclaim. The film re-visits the hijacking of  a plane to Cuba by Ismael Labeet in 1984, one of the original Virgin Island 5 and purportedly the "leader" of the assault that resulted in the death of seven White tourist and a "mulatto" at the Fountain Valley golf course in 1972. 

    Kastner's work  examines the circumstances the led up to the incident and has now raised much needed interest in the VI3. For more information visit:   www.facebook.com/jamie.kastner.9

   Update #1: In December 2015, the VI3 all filed petitions for the  writ of habeas corpus showing that they have been illegally and indefinitely held by the U.S. government and its colonial administration since 2000-01. Their petitions where sent to Wilma Lewis,the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands, the same court through which they were prosecuted and imprisoned. point they were locked-down, while there was no process issued on their petitions, in violation of U.S. and International law on Human Rights.

  Update #2: On March 7, the Virgin Islands 3, along with 145 other senior prisoners like themselves, were hustled onto planes and flown to private prisons in Arizona and Florida. Fortunately, all three were sent to the same "prison center" in Eloy, Arizona. All have been given new "private prisoners" by the Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), essentially disappearing them back into the U.S. prison industrial complex. It has taken us nearly a month to locate Malik, after he disappeared upon his arrival in Arizona, we now have confirmation that he is alive. 


  Update #3: Thanks to the prompt assistance from a comrade who just so happens to be a lawyer, with the courts not responding we were finally able to access the court records long-. By this, as a result of engaging with the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands, we have shown that in fact that court is not a "U.S. constitutional court," it is a court "in name only" as declared by the U.S. Congress, and is not bound by the codes and oaths that all Article III judges are, it is accountable only to the U.S. congress and not U.S. law. This then explains way the chief judge of that court, Wilma Lewis, has been allowed to totally get away with violating habeas corpus and the due process clause of the U.S. constitution.  

   Update #4: At the end of January, more than a month after the petitions were filed and when Wilma Lewis was to have acted on them, she entered an "order" on a motion for protection filed by Malik with regard to the retribution they were being subjected to for filing the petitions. Lewis responded to the motion and not the petitions, mentioning them only in passing, Lewis attempted to engage in a shell-game of making the issue to appear as one of "conditions of confinement," rather than the legality of of the detention. Read Wilma's "Order" 

    Update #4: Upon the failure of Wilma Lewis, in late March 2916, ITJ filed a petition for habeas corpus to Theodore McKee, the chief judge of the U.S. Third Ciruit Court, on behalf of the three. The Third Circuit supposedly has supervisory judicial authority over the "District Court of the Virgin Islands," however,  the "U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands" is not actually a U.S. federal court. It is a U.S. federal court "in name only," not by the U.S. constitution, it exists only under the U.S. congress and not the U.S. constitution in order to accommodate the imperialist aims of the U.S. in the Caribbean.

    Update #5: Theodore McKee refused to respect and process the petition for habeas filed on behalf the three by Kwasi Seitu, prompting him to file a complaint against the misconduct of himself and Wilma Lewis to the Judicial Council of the Third Circuit, which Theodore McKee heads. Theodore McKee fails and refuses to process the habeas petition filed on behalf of the three. In the meantime ITJ sends a letter to Lewis exposing her criminality and putting her in place. Read the Letterc

     Update #6: A complaint of "Judicial Misconduct" was filed with the Judicial Council of the U.S. Third Circuit against Wilma Lewis and Theodore McKee for the denial of due process on the habeas petitions. However, Theodore McKee heads the Judicial Council of the Third Circuit, with no appellate excess, since there has been no processing of the claims as required by U.S. and international law ("Complaint").

   Update #7: A response is made to the judicial  complaint within a month, summarily dismissing it based on all the wrong reasons and misrepresentations, or in other words even more judicial misconduct. We respond here.



      Hanif Bey, Abdul Azziz, and Malik Bey, along with over 145 of their fellow islanders, are being illegally held under the criminal foreign rule of the United States, as are the whole of their people. For 45-years these men have been imprisoned through the blatant violation of domestic and international law by the United States and its courts. This cause represents a concerted action by the U.S. government to perpetuate the illegal imprisonment and indefinite detention of the natural inhabitants of the isles it illegally "purchased" from Denmark. The VI3 case has always represented a challenge to the rule of pirates, made so by the U.S. over-response to an incident that it perceived as the tip of a native uprising to its rule.

    Even though these men have filed the required petitions to obtain their immediate release through the U.S. court, under U.S. law, they have been denied any day in a U.S. court to address their claims by a racist and corrupt judiciary, and we have thoroughly documented this as "FACT" and not allegation. The three have been denied all access to "the Rule of Law," domestic and international, by the U.S. judiciary, from the "U.S." District Court for the Virgin Islands to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, now to the U.S. Judicial Council of the Third Circuit. All have only mentioned that the three filed  for habeas corpus relief, but then go off on tangents that have nothing to do with explaining why those petitions were not processed and dispensed in accordance with law. The petitions have yet to be processed, in spite of U.S. and international law, and the time for this to have been done expired long ago, this is an international crime - documented from A-Z.

    Clearly, the U.S. government has no true regard for the "Rule of Law," its own or international when it comes to maintaining its criminal imperial empire. We need  your support in raising, challenging, opposing, exposing, and organizing resistance to the actions of our oppressors.  




      Signing these petitions now are even of more critical importance considering that the expectation was that our last legal resort would be to the United Nations, the three and all those similarly situated should been freed nearly a year ago, instead they have gone from illegal U.S. prisoners, to illegal colonial prisoners, and as a result of legally challenging all of this illegality, are now private prisoners, the property of. and entirely under the control of the Corrections Corporation of America, which is not supposedly accountable to the public, so is not bound the same rules of law as a state institution, even though it is "contracted" to hold whoever. We have placed this matter before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, it has failed to act in any way after months, the lives of these three men and numerous others are in danger, the enslaved crying out for help against the enslaver. We need to strengthen the Cuban hand to stand up in the U.N., which it has not done only for itself, in spite of the continuing criminal U.S. embargo and theft of land on the island, but has stood for so many other oppressed people struggling for liberation - in the Spirit of Che and the Cuban Revolution, the greatest one the world has ever known. Come join, sign the petition, make a donation, tell a friend, and at least stayed tuned! 

Click here to view letters of request to Cuban Ambassador and to Raul Castro

  Click here to sign the petition to the Cuban government for help to bring the plight of the VI3 and their People before the UN for U.S. violations of their Human Rights 



Haneef Bey on the AmeriKKKanization of the Islands

3. Contact Us


 So just how did the U.S. come to "own" the Virgin Islands? 


   It is an irrefutable historical  fact that nearly all of the European nations invaded and destroyed nations they encountered in the western hemisphere, completely wiping out entire people. As like with "ISIS," they acted under a religious pretense that gave them the right to go out all around the non-White world and take whatever they wanted from non-Christian peoples they called "savages."

     The Caribbean was first invaded by Spain, beginning with Christopher Columbus, then came the French, the British, and the Danish. The Danish "purchased" from the French three islands they re-named as the "Dutch West Indies," which both the French and Danish populated with kidnapped Africans as slaves. The British laid claim to most of the other islands to the south, along with Jamaica. The Spanish though had the three largest Caribbean islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and two-thirds of Hispaniola.   

   In the late 1800s, as the U.S. finally subdued the resistance of the Native people on the continent, it went into a period of continued imperial expansion in the Pacific, Central America, and the Caribbean. The U.S. staged a war with Spain, which lasted barely two months, with Spain giving up the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico in the end. Because the Haitian revolution ended Spain's hold on Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominica), it was not made part of the deal. The U.S. would later invade and occupy Haiti in 1915.   

   In 1885, the U.S. tried to get Denmark to sell its claims to it, but the Danes refused. However, after the U.S. had destroyed Spanish rule in the Caribbean and, invaded and Haiti, Denmark knew that its time in the Caribbean was up. In 1917, accepting the offer it could no longer resist, the Denmark crime family agreed to sell its claims in the Caribbean to the U.S. or otherwise, have them taken by force.


    The U.S. paid Denmark $25 million in gold for the islands and people, which it is engaged in celebrating in 2017 as "Transfer Day," and expect the people of the islands to also celebrate being "Transferred" from one European ruler to another.


    Every  March 31st in the "U.S. Virgin Islands" is recognized  as  "Transfer Day," making the day that the Danish West Indies were formally sold to the United States by Denmark. The U.S. then renamed its newly acquired property as the "U.S. Virgin Islands,"  becoming "America's Paradise" on March 31, 2017. And every year since that date the U.S. has required the Native to "celebrate" and there are many that joyously do so, while it is an affront to the dignity and Humanity of the majority population. 

   For example, the following is an excerpt from a description by  GoToStCroix.com :  

"...the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day, so special centennial events will be held to commemorate this auspicious anniversary. The U.S. Virgin Islands Centennial Commission has been formed to organize the Centennial Commemoration of Transfer Day. The Centennial Commemoration will be a territory-wide, multi-year observation with events and activities ranging from parades, concerts, and multi-cultural celebrations, to exhibitions and festivals featuring local art, dance, music, and food. The series of events is currently scheduled to start in 2015 and continue through December of 2017.

         The goal of the festivities is to highlight the continuum of historical events and people of the U.S. Virgin Islands including the pre-Columbian period and indigenous inhabitants, Columbus and the arrival of the early Europeans, the settlement of the Danish West Indies, the forced migration of Africans, the transfer of the Virgin Islands to the United States, and the territory and it’s melting pot of people and culture today. To organize and prepare the Centennial Commemoration events, $500,000 in grant assistance has been provided under the Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program to the U.S. Virgin Islands Centennial Commission.

        When the grant was given, Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina stated: ‘I am pleased to support Governor Kenneth Mapp, Congresswoman, Stacey Plaskett, the members of the Centennial Commission and the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands as they plan their celebration of this significant milestone in the history of US-Virgin Islands relations,’ said Kia’aina. ‘The next two years leading up to the actual Centennial Celebration presents a host of opportunities to showcase their rich history and heritage as well as the future of the Virgin Islands."  GoToStCroix.com 

The U.S. Declares that Natural Inhabitants of its "Territories" have no "fundamental rights"

(taken from Mother Jones 6/5/15; written by Pema Levy, Reporter MJ, email plevy@motherjones.com)

    Well, this is awkward. This month, five people from American Samoa—the only place in the world where babies born on US soil are denied US citizenship—argued in federal court that the government's refusal to grant them birthright citizenship violates the Constitution. 

     On the other side of the case is the Obama administration, which cited century-old Supreme Court decisions that spoke of "savage," "uncivilized," and "alien races"—and many legal scholars now see as outright racist—to justify continuing to deny citizenship to these US nationals.

Over the past century, Congress has passed laws guaranteeing birthright citizenship to residents of US territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. But American Samoa, a Pacific Island chain that is home to some 55,000 people, is the lone exception. 

     American Samoans are classified as noncitizen nationals. As a result, the increasing number of American Samoans living stateside are ineligible for many federal and state government jobs and benefits, including many military jobs, despite serving in the military at high rates. 

     They cannot vote or serve on juries. In many places, they cannot own firearms. They can apply for US citizenship—but in order to do so, they must leave American Samoa during the months- or years-long process, uprooting their lives and leaving their families and community behind while they wait for a decision.

    Now a group of American Samoans is suing the Obama administration and the State Department, demanding birthright citizenship. Their argument in the case,Tuaua v. United States, is pretty straightforward: The 14th Amendment, passed in the wake of the Civil War, grants automatic citizenship to everyone born in the United States—whether in a state or a territory. 

   Lead plaintiff Leneuoti Tuaua, for example, is a retired public safety officer who was unable to serve as a police officer when he lived in California because he was not a citizen. 

    Many legal scholars agree that the amendment, which reads in part, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States," was intended to apply to people born in US territories. 

     Moreover, the amendment overturned Dred Scott v. Sanford, which "was heavily about the question of whether certain constitutional protections applied in the territories," says Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law expert at the American University Washington College of Law. "The original meaning of the Citizenship Clause seems to be fairly categorical."

      Lawyers for the Obama administration argue otherwise. To back up their case, they rely heavily on a series of Supreme Court decisions that many scholars now contend are not only bad law but also racist.

      The decisions, known as the Insular Cases, date back to the early 20th century, when the US had just won the Spanish-American War and acquired Puerto Rico and the far-flung new territories of Guam and the Philippines. 

      The US acquired American Samoa in two parts in 1900 and 1904 as part of its continued expansion. But American political leaders had a problem: They wanted the United States to become a colonial power, but they didn't want to extend constitutional protections to the overwhelmingly nonwhite residents of the new territories. (As one of the friend-of-the-court brief in the current case notes, the Democratic Party's official platform in 1900 argued that "the Filipinos cannot be citizens without endangering our civilization.")

     To solve that problem, the Supreme Court came up with a bizarre, racially minded solution. The court invented two categories of territory; the Constitution applied fully in "incorporated territories," such as Arizona, which were settled mostly by white people and destined for statehood, while much of the Constitution did not apply in "unincorporated territories," such as American Samoa, which were not considered candidates for statehood, largely because of their racial and ethnic makeup.

Justice Henry Brown—famous as the author of Plessy v. Ferguson, which gave the court's blessing to segregation—refers to the inhabitants of the new territories as "savage" and "alien races" in the Insular Cases. 

     Brown contended that Congress would treat the territories well because it was guided by "certain principles of natural justice inherent in the Anglo-Saxon character." His colleague, Justice Edward White, hypothesized in one case that granting citizenship to an "uncivilized race" in a new territory would "inflict grave detriment on the United States" from "the immediate bestowal of citizenship on those absolutely unfit to receive it."

"A lot of people are justifiably embarrassed by the Insular Cases because they really do capture an earlier imperial moment that is saturated in white supremacy," says Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas-Austin School of Law. "What the majority in the Insular Cases argue is that you really can't imagine that Filipinos especially, but also frankly Puerto Ricans, would be welcomed into the American political community." So "they construct an understanding of the Constitution that won't require that."

     Though the Obama administration is using the Insular Cases to fight birthright citizenship, its handling of the case is a bit unusual. Normally, appellate lawyers at the Justice Department's DC headquarters, known as Main Justice, become involved in cases against the government once they reach the circuit court level, American University's Vladeck explains. 

     But this case, now pending before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, was briefed and argued by the lawyers at the US Attorney's Office in DC. "It's surprising to me that in a case like this, it's the US Attorney's office and not the Civil Division of the Justice Department" working on the case, Vladeck adds. "Whether that is because the Justice Department just doesn't believe this is that important a case, or whether it's because they do, I think only they know." Though no Civil Division attorneys' names appear on the briefs, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in DC told Mother Jones that "our office is working with attorneys from Main Justice on this matter." The spokesman added that the office "frequently represent[s] the government and government agencies in court proceedings in the District of Columbia."

    Of course, the administration doesn't have to fight the American Samoans in this case at all. Although it is required to defend acts of Congress, the administration can on occasion opt out of defending a law it believes is unconstitutional. (The Obama administration's refusal in 2011 to defend part of the Defense of Marriage Act is one recent example.) The Justice Department declined to comment on the case.

    Although the Samoans' case for birthright citizenship has brought together liberal legal scholars and conservative originalists concerned with adhering to the original meaning of the 14th Amendment, residents of American Samoa are divided on the question of citizenship. 

     The government of American Samoa has actually sided with the Obama administration in this case, largely out of fear that Samoans' "way of life and foundational, cultural institutions would be jeopardized if subjected to scrutiny under the Fourteenth Amendment," a brief from the government of American Samoa says. The plaintiffs contend this is not true, and current and former officials from other territories have filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting them.

    The case isn't likely to be resolved soon. A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit heard oral arguments earlier this month, but Vladeck believes the judges—who happen to be the three most conservative judges on the DC Circuit—will ultimately rule against the American Samoans. The question then is whether the Samoans will appeal their case to the full DC Circuit, which might be more sympathetic to their cause.

    "American Samoa is the only inhabited US territory whose citizens don't receive birthright citizenship," Vladeck says. "I don't know that the government has a particularly compelling reason other than history and the views and wishes of the American Samoans themselves for why American Samoa should be singled out that way."