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Trop v. Dulles

Rescinding American Citizenship

A United States citizen may, under certain circumstances, be stripped of her or his citizenship. A leading case on the loss of citizenship is Trop v. Dulles (1958). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the loss of citizenship for desertion--without allegiance to a foreign power by the deserter--was cruel and unusual punishment under the Eight Amendment to the Constitution and beyond the war powers of Congress. In Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez (1963), the High Court held that a person who leaves the country during time of war to avoid military service may be deprived of his citizenship, but not without a hearing.

There are many actions that can lead to the loss of citizenship. These include obtaining naturalization in a foreign state, entering into the armed forces of another state, accepting employment in the government of another state, formally renouncing one's United States nationality before a diplomat or consular officer in a foreign state, committing treason against the United States, and attempting to overthrow or bear arms against the United States.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Trop v. Dulles - Significance, Court Rules That Denaturalization Is Cruel And Unusual Punishment, Rescinding American Citizenship