Knauer v. United States
328 U.S. 654 (1946)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Knauer v. United States, 328 U.S. 654 (1946)

Knauer v. United States

No. 510

Argued March 28, 29, 1946

Decided June 10, 1946

328 U.S. 654


1. In a proceeding under § 338 of the Nationality Act of 1940 to revoke an order admitting petitioner to citizenship and to cancel his certificate of naturalization on the ground of fraud in their procurement, there was solid, convincing evidence that, before the date of his naturalization, at that time, and subsequently, he was a thoroughgoing Nazi and a faithful follower of Adolph Hitler.

Held. the conclusion is irresistible that, when petitioner forswore allegiance to the German Reich, he swore falsely, and the revocation of the decree of naturalization is sustained. Pp. 328 U. S. 660-669, 328 U. S. 674.

2. The standard of proof required in such proceedings is strict. Schneiderman v. United States,320 U. S. 118; Baumgartner v. United States,322 U. S. 665. P. 328 U. S. 657.

3. In reviewing such a proceeding, this Court does not accept even concurrent findings of the two lower courts as conclusive, but reexamines the facts to determine whether the United States has carried the burden of proving its case by "clear, unequivocal, and convincing" evidence, which does not leave "the issue in doubt." Id. Pp. 328 U. S. 657-658.

4. Citizenship obtained through naturalization is not a second-class citizenship. P. 328 U. S. 658.

5. It carries with it the privileges of full participation in the affairs of our society, including the right to speak freely, to criticize officials and administrators, and to promote changes in our laws, including the very Charter of our Government. P. 328 U. S. 658.

Page 328 U. S. 655

6. Great tolerance and caution are necessary lest good faith exercise of the rights of citizenship be turned against the naturalized citizen and used to deprive him of the cherished status. P. 328 U. S. 658.

7. Ill-tempered expressions, extreme views, even the promotion of ideas which run counter to our American ideals, are not to be given disloyal connotations in the absence of solid, convincing evidence that that is their significance. P. 328 U. S. 658.

g. Utterances made in years subsequent to the oath of allegiance are not readily to be charged against the state of mind existing when the oath was administered. P. 328 U. S. 659.

9. The fundamental question is whether the new citizen still takes his orders from, or owes his allegiance to, a foreign chancellory. P. 328 U. S. 659.

10. Membership in the German-American Bund is not, in itself, sufficient to prove fraud which would warrant revocation of a decree of naturalization. P. 328 U. S. 669.

11. The issue of fraud in the oath of allegiance taken by an alien upon admission to citizenship cannot become res judicata in the order admitting him to citizenship, since it was not in issue and neither was adjudicated nor could have been adjudicated in the naturalization proceedings. P. 328 U. S. 671.

12. When an alien takes the oath of allegiance with reservations or does not in good faith forswear loyalty and allegiance to the old country, the decree of naturalization is obtained by a fraud on the naturalization court, and this is a proper ground for cancellation of the naturalization. Pp. 328 U. S. 671-673.

13. There can be no doubt of the power of Congress to provide for the cancellation of certificates of naturalization on the ground of fraud in their procurement. Pp. 328 U. S. 673-674.

149 F.2d 519, affirmed.

A District Court cancelled petitioner's certificate of naturalization and revoked the order admitting him to citizenship on the ground that they had been procured by fraud. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 149 F.2d 519. This Court granted certiorari. 326 U.S. 714. Affirmed, p. 328 U. S. 674.

Page 328 U. S. 656

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