Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BOYD v. NEBRASKA EX REL. THAYER.

decided: February 1, 1892.

BOYD
v.
NEBRASKA EX REL. THAYER.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEBRASKA.

Author: Fuller

[ 143 U.S. Page 157]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the court.

(1) In State of Nebraska ex rel. Glenn v. Stein, 13 Nebraska, 529, it was held that where the State at large was interested in a proceeding in quo warrantor, the attorney general was, as at common law, the proper person to institute it, but when the information was filed by an individual to oust the incumbent from an office and install the relator therein, it was a personal remedy on behalf of the individual claiming to be aggrieved, and the State was but a nominal party.

In the case at bar the attorney general refused to file the information, and the relator obtained leave to prosecute it in the name of the State but on his own behalf, as under the statute he was authorized to do. Compiled Stat. Neb. 1891, c. 71, p. 626; Code Civ. Proced. Tit. 23, p. 954.

[ 143 U.S. Page 158]

     By section 2 of article V of the constitution of the State of Nebraska, in force November 1, 1875, it was provided: "No person shall be eligible to the office of governor, or lieutenant governor, who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and been for two years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States and of this State. None of the officers of the executive department shall be eligible to any other State office during the period for which they have been elected." Comp. Stat. Neb. 1891, p. 26.

In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 549, Mr. Chief Justice Waite, delivering the opinion of the court, said: "Citizens are the members of the political community to which they belong. They are the people who compose the community, and who, in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of a government for the promotion of their general welfare and the protection of their individual as well as their collective rights." There is no attempt in this definition, which was entirely sufficient for the argument, to exclude those members of the State who are citizens in the sense of participation in civil rights, though not in the exercise of political functions.

The Constitution provides that no person shall be a representative who has not been "seven years a citizen of the United States," (Art. I, sec. 2, par. 2;) that no person shall be a senator who has not been "nine years a citizen of the United States," (Art. I, sec. 3, par. 3;) that no person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States "except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution," (Art. II, sec. 1, par. 4;) and that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States," (Art. IV, sec. 2, par. 1.) And Congress is empowered "to establish an uniform rule of naturalization," (Art. I, sec. 8, par. 4.) But prior to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment there was no definition of citizenship of the United States in the instrument.

Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, says: "Every citizen of a State is ipso facto a citizen of the

[ 143 U.S. Page 159]

     United States." (Sec. 1693.) And this is the view expressed by Mr. Rawle in his work on the Constitution. (c. 9, pp. 85, 86.) Mr. Justice Curtis, in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 576, expressed the opinion that under the Constitution of the United States "every free person born on the soil of a State, who is a citizen of that State by force of its constitution or laws, is also a citizen of the United States." And Mr. Justice Swayne, in The Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 126, declared that "a citizen of a State is ipso facto a citizen of the United States." But in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 404, Mr. Chief Justice Taney, delivering the opinion of the court, said: "The words 'people of the United States' and 'citizens' are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the 'sovereign people' and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. . . . In discussing this question, we must not confound the rights of citizenship which a State may confer within its own limits, and the rights of citizenship as a member of the Union. It does not by any means follow, because he has all the rights and privileges of a citizen of a State, that he must be a citizen of the United States. He may have all of the rights and privileges of the citizen of a State, and yet not be entitled to the rights and privileges of a citizen in any other State. For, previous to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, every State had the undoubted right to confer on whomsoever it pleased the character of citizen, and to endow him with all its rights. But this character of course was confined to the boundaries of the State, and gave him no rights or privileges in other States beyond those secured to him by the laws of nations and the comity of States. Nor have the several States surrendered the power of conferring these rights and privileges by adopting the Constitution of the United States. Each State may still confer them upon an alien, or any one it thinks proper, or upon any class or description of persons; yet he would not be a citizen in the sense in

[ 143 U.S. Page 160]

     which that word is used in the Constitution of the United States, nor entitled to sue as such in one of its courts, nor to the privileges and immunities of a citizen in the other States. The rights which he would acquire would be restricted to the State which gave them. The Constitution has conferred on Congress the right to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and this right is evidently exclusive, and has always been held by this court to be so. Consequently, no State, since the adoption of the Constitution, can by naturalizing an alien invest him with the rights and privileges secured to a citizen of a State under the Federal government, although, so far as the State alone was concerned, he would undoubtedly be entitled to the rights of a citizen, and clothed with all the rights and immunities which the constitution and laws of the State attached to that character."

The Fourteenth Amendment reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

In The Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, it was held by this court that the first clause of the fourteenth article was primarily intended to confer citizenship on the negro race, and secondly to give definitions of citizenship of the United States, and citizenship of the States, and it recognized the distinction between citizenship of a State and citizenship of the United States by those definitions; that the privileges and immunities of citizens of the States embrace generally those fundamental civil rights for the security and establishment of which organized society was instituted, and which remain, with certain exceptions mentioned in the Federal Constitution, under the care of the State governments; while the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States are those which arise out of the nature and essential character of the national

[ 143 U.S. Page 161]

     government, the provisions of its Constitution, or its laws and treaties made in pursuance thereof; and that it is the latter which are placed under the protection of Congress by the second clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In Gassies v. Ballon, 6 Pet. 761, 762, Mr. Chief Justice Marshall declared that "a citizen of the United States, residing in any State of the Union, is a citizen of that State;" and the Fourteenth Amendment embodies that view.

The Supreme Court of Nebraska decided that James E. Boyd had not been for two years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States, and hence that under the constitution of the State he was not eligible to the office of governor; and that he was not a citizen of the United States, because during his entire residence in the Territory from 1856 to 1867, and in the State from 1867 to November 4, 1890, the date upon which he was elected governor, he was a subject of Great Britain and Ireland.

Arrival at this conclusion involved the denial of a right or privilege under the Constitution and laws of the United States, upon which the determination of whether Boyd was a citizen of the United States or not depended, and jurisdiction to review a decision against such right or privilege necessarily exists in this tribunal. Missouri v. Andriano, 138 U.S. 496. Each State has the power to prescribe the qualifications of its officers and the manner in which they shall be chosen, and the title to offices shall be tried, whether in the judicial courts or otherwise. But when the trial is in the courts, it is "a case," and if a defence is interposed under the Constitution of laws of the United States, and is overruled, then, as in any other case decided by the highest court of the State, this court has jurisdiction by writ of error.

We do not understand the contention to involve, directly, a denial of the right of expatriation, which the political departments of this government have always united in asserting, (Lawrence's Wheaton, 925; Whart. Confl. Laws, § 5; 8 Op. Att'y Gen. 139; 9 Op. Att'y Gen. 356; Act of Congress of July 27, 1868, 15 Stat. 223, c. 249; Rev. Stat. § 1999,) but that it is insisted that Boyd was an alien upon the ground that the

[ 143 U.S. Page 162]

     disabilities of alienage had never been removed, because he had never been naturalized.

Naturalization is the act of adopting a foreigner, and clothing him with the privileges of a native citizen, and relator's position is that such adoption has neither been sought nor obtained by respondent under the acts of Congress in that behalf.

Congress in the exercise of the power to establish an uniform rule of naturalization has enacted general laws under which individuals may be naturalized, but the instances of collective naturalization by treaty or by statute are numerous.

Thus, although Indians are not members of the political sovereignty, many classes of them have been made citizens in that way. Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94. By the treaty of September 27, 1830, provision was made for such heads of families of the Choctaws as desired it, to remain and become citizens of the United States. 7 Stat. 335. By the treaty of December 29, 1835, such individuals and families of the Cherokees as were averse to a removal west of the Mississippi and desirous to become citizens of the States where they resided were allowed to do so. Ibid. 483. By the act of Congress of March 3, 1843, it was provided that on the completion of certain arrangements for the partition of the lands of the tribe among its members, "the said Stockbridge tribe of Indians, and each and every of them, shall then be deemed to be, and from that time forth are hereby declared to be, citizens of the United States, to all intents and purposes, and shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of such citizens." 5 Stat. 47, c. 101, § 7. And such was the act of March 3, 1839, 5 Stat. c. 83, pp. 349, 351, relating to the Brothertown Indians of Wisconsin.

The act of Congress approved February 8, 1887, 24 Stat. 388, c. 119, was much broader, and by its terms made every Indian situated as therein referred to, a citizen of the United States.

Manifestly the nationality of the inhabitants of territory acquired by conquest or cession becomes that of the government under whose dominion they pass, subject to the right of election on their part to retain their former nationality by removal or otherwise, as may be provided.

[ 143 U.S. Page 163]

     All white persons or persons of European descent who were born in any of the colonies, or resided or had been adopted there, before 1776, and had adhered to the cause of independence up to July 4, 1776, were by the declaration invested with the privileges of citizenship. United States v. Ritchie, 17 How. 525, 239; Inglis v. Trustees of Sailors' Snug Harbor, 3 Pet. 99. In McIlvaine v. Coxe's Lessee, 4 Cranch, 209, it was held that Mr. Coxe had lost the right of election by remaining in New Jersey after she had declared herself a State, and had passed laws pronouncing him to be a member of the new government; but the right itself was not denied.Shanks v. Dupont, 3 Pet. 242.

Under the second article of Jay's treaty (8 Stat. 116, 117), British subjects who resided at Detroit before and at the time of the evacuation of the Territory of Michigan, and who continued to reside there afterwards without at any time prior to the expiration of one year from such evaluation declaring their intention of becoming British subjects, became ipso facto to all intents and purposes American citizens. Crane v. Reeder, 25 Michigan, 303.

By section three of Article IV of the Constitution, "new States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union." The section, as originally reported by the committee of detail, contained the language: "If the admission be consented to, the new State shall be admitted on the same terms as the original ones. But the legislature may make conditions with the new States concerning the public debt which shall be then subsisting." These clauses were stricken out, in spite of strenuous opposition, upon the view that wide latitude ought to be given to the Congress, and the denial of any attempt to impede the growth of the western country. Madison Papers, 5 Elliot, 381, 492, 493; 3 Gilpin, 1456.

And paragraph two was added, that "the Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State."

[ 143 U.S. Page 164]

     By article three of the treaty of Paris of 1803, (8 Stat. 200, 202,) it was provided that "the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion which they profess."

It was said by Mr. Justice Catron, in his separate opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 525: "The settled doctrine in the state courts of Louisiana is, that a French subject coming to the Orleans territory, after the treaty of 1803 was made, and before Louisiana was admitted into the Union, and being an inhabitant at the time of the admission, became a citizen of the United States by that act; that he was one of the inhabitants contemplated by the third article of the treaty, which referred to all the inhabitants embraced within the new State on its admission. That this is the true construction I have no doubt."

In Desbois's Case, 2 Martin, 185, (decided in 1812,) one Desbois, of French birth, applied for a license to practise as a counselor and attorney at law in the Superior Courts of Louisiana, and by one of the rules of the court the applicant could not be admitted unless he was a citizen of the United States. Desbois conceded that he had no claim to citizenship by birth nor by naturalization under the acts of Congress to establish an uniform rule on that subject, but he contended that there was a third mode of acquiring citizenship of the United States, namely, the admission into the Union of a State of which he was a citizen. He contended that as he had, in the year 1806, removed to and settled with his family in the city of New Orleans in the territory of Orleans, in contemplation of the enjoyment of all the advantages which the laws of the territory and of the United States held out to foreigners removing into that territory, and had ever since considered it as his adopted country, he had become a citizen under the act of Congress of March 2, 1805, further providing for the territorial government

[ 143 U.S. Page 165]

     of Orleans, the enabling act of February 20, 1811, and that of April 8, 1812, admitting the State.

Judge Martin, who delivered the opinion of the court, referred among other things to the fact that the act of Congress authorizing the formation of the state government of Louisiana was almost literally copied from that which authorized that of Ohio, and, pointing out that by the first section of the latter statute the inhabitants of the designated territory were authorized to form for themselves a state constitution, while by the fourth section the persons entitled to vote for members of the convention were described as, first, all male citizens of the United States, and next, all other persons having in all other respects the legal qualifications to vote for members of the general assembly of the territory, which were a freehold of fifty acres of land in the district and citizenship of one of the States and residence in the district, or the like freehold and two years' residence in the district, said "The word inhabitants, in the first section of this act, must be taken lato sensu; it cannot be restrained so as to include citizens of the United States only; for other persons are afterwards called upon to vote. There is not any treaty, or other instrument, which may be said to control it. Every attempt to restrict it must proceed on principles absolutely arbitrary. If the word is to be taken lato sensu in the act passed in favor of the people of one Territory, is there any reason to say that we are to restrain it, in another act, passed for similar purposes, in favor of the people of another Territory?" pp. 192, 193.

And after an able discussion of the subject, he concluded that the applicant must be considered a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and entitled to all the rights and privileges of a citizen of the United States.

In 1813, in United States v. Laverty, 3 Martin, 733, Judge Hall of the District Court of the United States held that the inhabitants of the territory of Orleans became citizens of Louisiana and of the United States by the admission of Louisiana into the Union; denied that the only constitutional mode of becoming a citizen of the United ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.