United States ex rel. Lee Kum Hoy v. Murff

PETITIONER: United States ex rel. Lee Kum Hoy
LOCATION: Wolverine Tube, Inc.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 355 US 169 (1957)
ARGUED: Nov 21, 1957
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for United States ex rel. Lee Kum Hoy v. Murff

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 21, 1957 in United States ex rel. Lee Kum Hoy v. Murff

Earl Warren:

Number 32, United States of America on a relation of Lee Kum Hoy, et al., Petitioners, versus John L. Murff, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Mr. Gim, you may proceed.

Benjamin Gim:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari to the Second Circuit and involves a question of whether the Immigration Service made lawfully imposed blood test on Chinese alone and not on other persons in cases involving claims to writ their citizenship based on a relationship to the citizen parent.

The District Court found that unlawful racial discrimination had been practiced against the petitioners and sustained the writ of habeas corpus.

The Circuit Court, Judge Frank dissenting, reversed this decision and judgment.

The petitioners, two boys and a girl being then at the ages of 22, 13, and 12, arrived in the United States at Ellis Island in June of 1952 seeking admission as citizens.

In July and August of 1952, they were blood tested twice.

These two blood tests conflicted.

The first blood test excluded all three petitioners as being the possible children of the citizen parent.

The second blood test excluded two of them.

On the bases of these conflicting blood tests, the Immigration Service ordered the exclusion of all three of the petitioners and incarcerated them in Ellis Island for a period of over two years.

In a review of these proceedings before the District Court, Judge Dimock remanded the proceedings to the Immigration Service for a reopen hearing to allow cross-examination of the blood test technicians and to develop evidence on the issue of racial discrimination.

At the reopened hearing, the Immigration Service refused to produce an official to testify on the policy of the service with regard to blood test.

They also refused to produce facts and figures as to the number of Chinese blood tested and whites if any.

The service position at that time was that the issue of racial discrimination had no possible bearing on the decision of this case.

Notwithstanding, the refusal of the Immigration Service to produce an official to testify on the policy of blood test, the petitioners went ahead and proved that the blood test program commenced with the sending of a circular at the direction of the Immigration Service to the public health authorities.

This circular directed blood testing of Chinese persons.

It did not specify blood test for any other nationality.

The Public Health Service doctor testified that pursuant to this circular, he conducted 200 blood tests that all the persons tested were Chinese and that he never tested a white person.

Then beginning June of 1953, the Immigration Service discontinued using the Public Health Service to conduct these tests and turn the matter over to private experts such as Dr. Leon Sussman.

Now Dr. Sussman testified that he conducted 300 blood tests at the request of the Immigration Service that all 300 of the persons tested were Chinese and that he never had occasion to blood test a non-Chinese.

Then both of these doctors testified at the hearing that these two blood tests were invalid and inaccurate and insufficient to form any conclusions as to paternity or non-paternity in this case.

When the matter went back to a District Court --

Earl Warren:

What was that last statement again, Mr. Gim?

Benjamin Gim:

The two doctors in this case, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

In this case?

Benjamin Gim:

In this case, yes.

Earl Warren:


Benjamin Gim:

Testified that the blood tests in this case were invalid and inaccurate and was insufficient to base any conclusion as to paternity or non-paternity.