Lynch v. Morales-Santana

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2016
  • Case #: 15-1191
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: No. 11-1252 (2nd Cir. 2015)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether it is a violation of the equal protection clause to impose different requirements on unwed mothers and fathers of foreign-born children for citizenship purposes, under U.S.C. 1401 and 1409?

Respondent's father was born in Puerto Rico and later became a U.S. citizen. Respondent's mother was a citizen of the Domincan Republic and Respondent was born in the Domincan Republic and admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. As a result of being convicted of numerous felonies Respondent was subjected to removal proceedings. Inititally, an immigration judge denied Respondent's application for withholding his removal on the basis of derivative citizenship, through his father. Ten years later Respondent filed a motion to reopen, arguing that the difference in physical presence requirements for mothers and fathers was a violation of the equal protection clause. Respondent also made three statutory arguments for derivative citizenship, which the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit applied intermediate scrutiny and found that there was a legitimate governmental interest, to hold that the "gender-based" scheme was a violation of the equal protection clause. Petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit erred in holding that the gender-based scheme was a violation of the equal protection clause because the wrong standard was applied, there was not a sufficient governmental interest. Additionally, Petitioner argues that the remedy of granting citizenship was improper.

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