Schneider v. Rusk

LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 377 US 163 (1964)
ARGUED: Apr 02, 1964
DECIDED: May 18, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Schneider v. Rusk

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 02, 1964 in Schneider v. Rusk

Earl Warren:

Number 368, Angelika L. Schneider, Appellant, v. Dean Rusk, individually and as Secretary of State.

Mr. Freeman.

Milton V. Freeman:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on appeal from a statutory Three-Judge Court, sustaining the validity of section of 321, 352 A1 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

That Court granted a judgment on the pleadings, dismissing the complaint.

The issue is the deprivation of the appellant's citizenship under the McCarran Act, the 1952 Act mentioned.

It's a new statute, involving 1952 reaffirmation of a statute passed in 1940.

It is the sole substantive discrimination against naturalized citizens in the entire history of the United States.

It removes the appellant's citizenship because she is living abroad with her husband who is not an American citizen.

This is an act for which citizenship is not removed from native-born citizens.

We assert here that the statute is invalid for discrimination under the Fifth Amendment and on various other grounds.

The statute Section 352 A1 and A2 companion section are part of a statutory scheme, which have a conclusive and automatic termination of citizenship.

They provide, in a statute which applies not to native-born citizens but only to naturalized citizens, that a naturalized citizen who resides for three years in the country of origin or for five years in any other country, automatically loses citizenship.

This provision as stated before does not apply to native-born citizens.

There are a number of exemptions to mitigate the harshness of this rule.

Those exemptions provide that in certain circumstances, which Congress has provided as a matter of grace, a naturalized citizen may attain the same right to live, to work anywhere else in the world that he or she would have had if born in the United States.

That is, it takes the second class citizen and says if he had behaved himself well he will get the same rights as the born citizens.

Thus if he has fought in the armies of the United States during war time he then receives, as a special reward from Congress, the privilege to be treated as though he were a native-born citizen and the privilege to live abroad, it happens in this case that he may live abroad only in a country in which he was not originally a citizen and no matter how distinguished his service or how many awards, he may not live in the country from which he came, but the statute nevertheless awards by a series of exemptions for special good conduct or special circumstances warranting the mercy of Congress, an exemption from the statute and persons who are naturalized citizens living aboard may not be expatriated if they come within the special exemptions who are generally residents abroad for three years in the country of origin or five years in any other country, automatically cuts off by this statute the connection of that person with the United States and he or she is deprived of citizenship.

Except for the exemption that you referred to, there is no way of getting a dispensation from the statute?

Milton V. Freeman:

There is no way of getting a dispensation; the only way that it has been done in case of hardship is of course by special legislative bill in the particular case.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Freeman where do we find those exemptions?

Are they in the --

Milton V. Freeman:

They are in the law and they are printed in extenso in the appendix to our brief.

They are in section 353 and 354 of the statute and they appear at pages 76 and following pages in our principle brief.

Now, the facts of this case are enlightening as to the scope of the statute.

Angelika Shaffer, as she was then called, was born in Germany in the year 1934 in a small village in Bavaria.

In the year 1939 she came with her mother, her father, her two brothers, a half brother and a half sister, the entire family, to the United States where she was admitted for permanent residence with her whole family in the year 1939 when she was not quite five years of age.

In the year 1950 when she was 16 years of age, she was duly naturalized, derivatively through the naturalization of her mother.

She received a certificate of naturalization shortly thereafter and there is no question that she is a truly naturalized citizen, naturalized in 1950.

Between the time she came to the United States in 1939 and the time she was naturalized she went to public schools in the neighborhood of New York City, the high school and at the time of her naturalization in December 1954, in 1950 she was a freshman at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.