Mackey v. Mendoza-Martinez

RESPONDENT: Mendoza-Martinez
LOCATION: Federal Reformatory for Women in West Virginia

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 362 US 384 (1960)
ARGUED: Nov 10, 1959
DECIDED: Apr 18, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for Mackey v. Mendoza-Martinez

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1959 (Part 2) in Mackey v. Mendoza-Martinez

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1959 (Part 1) in Mackey v. Mendoza-Martinez

Earl Warren:

Number 29, Mackey, Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization Service versus Francisco Mendoza-Martinez.

Mr. Davis.

Oscar H. Davis:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This declaratory judgment action is here on direct appeal from the Federal District Court for the Southern District of California.

It comes to this Court on direct appeal under 28 U.S.C., United States Code 1252 which provides for a direct appeal in a civil proceeding involving the Government when a District Court has held invalid a statute of Congress, and the statute of Congress which the District Court here invalidated is Section 401 (j) of the Nationality Act of 1940, providing for loss of nationality by an American who has gone abroad to evade the draft.

Both the issue and the case have been here before.

The case was here at the same time as the expatriation cases which were decided two terms ago and was remanded to the District Court in the light of one of those cases, then decided.

The issue itself was involved as presented by the parties in the Perez case, but was not decided by the Court.

The only issue in this case, as it comes to this Court, is the validity of the statute.

There are no questions of fact involved, as I shall point out, they were stipulated below.

So the only issue is the issue of the validity of the statute.

As I shall also point out a little more in detail later, this particular section of the Nationality Act of 1944, though it was before the Court two terms ago, was not passed upon by the Court and therefore, the issue is now open for the Court to decide.

I should also mention at this point I think that this involves the Nationality Act of 1940 which has since of course been superseded by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 as a comparable provision in -- in the later Act, but it -- it contains somewhat different provisions and so I -- I'd want to say that what we have here is the Section 401 (j) of the Nationality Act of 1940.

The facts were undisputed and were stipulated in the court below.

The appellee was born in the United States in 1922 and of course was an American citizen at birth.

He was also at birth and has at all time since been a citizen of the Republic of Mexico.

It is agreed that in 19 --

Earl Warren:

From birth?

Oscar H. Davis:

Pardon me?

Earl Warren:

From birth?

Oscar H. Davis:

From birth.

Apparently, because his parents were American nationals, that is not in the record but I assume that's so.

After the Selective Service Act was passed, he registered for it, but before he was called to service, I believe, in 1942, he went to Mexico.

Now, he has stipulated that the sole purpose of his going to Mexico was to evade the draft and he has stipulated that the sole purpose of his remaining in Mexico, which was until November 1, 1946 was to avoid the draft.

Potter Stewart:

Does the record show how old he was when he --

Oscar H. Davis:

Since he was born in -- in 1922 and he went to Mexico in 1942, he was 20 at the time.

He remained in Mexico for four years until November 1946, after the close of hostilities in the -- in World War II.

On his -- he then returned to this country.

He was then -- charges were then brought against him for draft evasion in California, he pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a year and a day which I believed he has served.

The Immigration Service then brought deportation proceedings against him on the ground that he had expatriated himself under Section 401 (j) by going to and remaining in Mexico for the purpose of evading the draft and an order of deportation --