The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, District Judge.
Plaintiff originally commenced this action against defendant
United States Secretary of State under 8 U.S.C. § 1503(a) seeking
a reversal of an administrative determination that, pursuant to
8 U.S.C. § 1481, plaintiff had relinquished his United States
citizenship. The course taken thereafter by this
litigation has included a trial de novo in this Court, with a
judgment entered in favor of defendant, Terrazas v. Vance, No.
75-2370 (N.D.Ill., Aug. 16, 1977) (hereinafter cited as
Memorandum Opinion), a reversal of this Court by the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals on the ground that the evidentiary
standards prescribed by Congress in 8 U.S.C. § 1481 abridged
the Fourteenth Amendment, Terrazas v. Vance, 577 F.2d 7 (7th
Cir. 1978), and a reversal of the Seventh Circuit's holding by
the Supreme Court. Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252, 100 S.Ct.
540, 62 L.Ed.2d 461 (1980). Now, pursuant to successive remands
by the Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit, this matter is
again before this Court.
Pending before the Court is plaintiff's petition for
judgment. To summarize plaintiff's petition, he contends that
the evidence presented at the trial of this action does not
support a finding that plaintiff ever intended to relinquish
his citizenship, intent being a requisite element of the loss
of one's citizenship. Id. at 260-261, 100 S.Ct. at 545.
Defendant has filed a response in opposition to plaintiff's
motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies
plaintiff's petition and affirms the judgment it entered
earlier in this matter.
Because the facts leading up to the commencement of this
action may be easily culled from the earlier opinions rendered
in this case, the Court will not repeat them here. See id.;
Vance v. Terrazas, 577 F.2d 7; Memorandum Opinion. However,
since an understanding of the previous rulings in this case is
helpful to an understanding of the Court's disposition today,
the Court will more fully explain those rulings.
This Court's memorandum opinion issued in conjunction with
its findings of fact and conclusions of law explained that, in
this Court's opinion, the relevant body of law in this sort of
action is 8 U.S.C. § 1481 and the Fourteenth Amendment, as
interpreted by the Supreme Court in Afroyim v. Rusk,
387 U.S. 253, 87 S.Ct. 1660, 18 L.Ed.2d 757 (1967). 8 U.S.C. § 1481(a)
sets forth certain acts, including taking an oath of allegiance
to a foreign state, which are deemed acts of expatriation.
8 U.S.C. § 1481(c) provides, in pertinent part, that:
Whenever the loss of United States nationality is put
in issue . . . the burden shall be upon the person or
party claiming that such loss occurred, to establish
such claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Except
as otherwise provided in subsection (b), any person
who commits or performs, or has committed or
preformed, any act of expatriation under the
provisions of this or any other Act shall be presumed
to have done so voluntarily, but such presumption may
be rebutted upon a showing, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that the act or acts committed or performed
were not done voluntarily.
Afroyim stands for the proposition, inter alia, that while
Congress may generally prescribe the evidentiary standards
which shall obtain in expatriation proceedings, no person's
citizenship may be destroyed absent a finding that he intended
to relinquish his citizenship. Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. at
268, 87 S.Ct. at 1668. Thus, an act of expatriation is not in
and of itself sufficient to destroy one's citizenship. Vance v.
Terrazas, 444 U.S. at 261-262, 100 S.Ct. at 545.
Applying the above law to the Court's evaluation of the
evidence presented at trial, it concluded both that plaintiff
had voluntarily committed an act of expatriation within the
meaning of section 1481 and that plaintiff had voluntarily
relinquished his citizenship. Without thoroughly recounting the
Court's evaluation of the evidence, see Memorandum Opinion, the
Court simply notes that the evidence relied upon by the Court
included the fact that plaintiff took an oath of allegiance to
Mexico in 1971 which included language renunciating his United
States citizenship, plaintiff's course of conduct during
1970-71 indicated an intention to make Mexico his permanent
home, plaintiff sought to avoid certain obligations of United
States citizenship, and that at the relevant time plaintiff was
a literate and mature individual.
On appeal to the Seventh Circuit, plaintiff challenged the
constitutional validity of section 1481(c)'s preponderance of
the evidence standard of proof. More specifically, plaintiff
asserted that the Government must establish the elements of a
loss of citizenship by clear and convincing proof. The Seventh
Circuit agreed, reasoning that the loss of one's citizenship is
such a serious loss that the clear and convincing standard is
constitutionally mandated. Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit
ruled section 1481(c) to be invalid.
The Seventh Circuit, however, did not overturn any of this
Court's factual findings, and noted that under the evidentiary
standard prescribed by section 1481(c) this Court's ultimate
conclusion was correctly reached. Id. at 10. Moreover, in
connection with its remand instructions, the Seventh Circuit
intimated that the evidence might support a judgment in
defendant's favor even in light of the stricter standard of
proof which the Seventh Circuit sought to require. Id. at 12.
Before this Court could rule on the evidence pursuant to the
Seventh Circuit's remand, the Supreme Court reversed the
Seventh Circuit's holding that section 1481(c) was
unconstitutional, affirming Congress's prerogative to legislate
a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof. Vance v.
Terrazas, 444 U.S. at 264-267, 100 S.Ct. at 547-48. That
portion of the Supreme Court's opinion which prompted
plaintiff's instant petition for judgment was occasioned by the
Government's assertion before the Supreme Court, apparently for
the first time during the course of this litigation, that the
Government need not establish an intent to relinquish
citizenship in order to destroy one's citizenship, only that
one of section 1481's enumerated acts has been committed. Id.
at 256-257, 100 S.Ct. at 543. The Supreme Court rejected that
argument, holding that while the acts of expatriation specified
in section 1481(a) may be highly persuasive on the question of
intent, acts of expatriation neither are conclusive evidence of
an intent to relinquish citizenship nor raise a presumption of
an intent to relinquish.*fn2 Id. at 264-267, 100 S.Ct. at 547,
548. In short, the Supreme Court made it clear that it is the
Government's burden to establish by a preponderance of the
evidence both that an intent to expatriate was manifested, as
well as that an act of expatriation was committed. Id. at 268,
100 S.Ct. at 549.