Schneider v. Rusk on loss US Citizenship

passport usSchneider v. Rusk on loss US Citizenship


Schneider v. Rusk, 377 U.S. 163 (1964)


Angelika Schneider was born in Germany. She came to the US with her parents and became a US citizen upon their naturalization. While a graduate student in Europe, she met a German man whom she later married, and she moved permanently to Germany to live with him.
The State Department claimed Schneider had lost her US citizenship in accordance with a section of the US Immigration and Nationality Act which revoked the citizenship of any naturalized citizen who returned to his or her country of birth and remained there for at least three years. Schneider took the US State Department to court ("Rusk" was Dean Rusk, Secretary of State in the Johnson administration) and won her case on loss of Nationality before the Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision.
The Supreme Court held that since no provision of the law stripped natural-born Americans of their citizenship as a result of extended or permanent residence abroad, it was unconstitutionally discriminatory to apply such a rule only to naturalized citizens. The court rejected arguments that naturalized citizens who resumed permanent residence in their countries of origin presented particular challenges to US foreign policy, and that the government had a right to strip such people of their US citizenship in order to safeguard the country's diplomatic objectives.
The statutory provision which was struck down in this ruling was repealed by Congress in 1978 (Public Law 95-432).

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