Supreme Court Makes It Difficult to Revoke US Citizenship

By Ella Bergquist June 30, 2017 3 min. read

Maslenjak v. United States

Out of 7,000 – 8,000 petitions a year, the Supreme Court only hears about 80 cases. This year, an immigration case made its way to the highest court in the United States. Maslenjak v. United States concerns Divna Maslenjak (a Serbian woman) on one end and the US government on the other. On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maslenjak in a 9-0 vote. The facts are outlined below.

Divna Maslenjak:

The United States:

Before reaching the Supreme Court, the case started at a district court. The jury in that court could make a conviction based on whether Divna lied during the naturalization process. They indeed convicted her on the basis of this, and Divna was deported to Serbia after the jury returned a guilty verdict. As a result of this, the government took away her citizenship.

The case moved up to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and that court affirmed the prior verdict. In both courts, the US argued that a lie during the naturalization process warrants a conviction. This is the reason the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case. Their argument consists of the following:

The Supreme Court’s ruling will make it more difficult to convict somebody for lying during the process of obtaining US citizenship. This ruling adds more value to US citizenship because it prevents the government from taking away someone’s citizenship over minor infractions. This case was remanded for further consideration before a lower court.

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  1. Reuters. "Justices weigh ethnic Serb woman's bid to regain U.S. citizenship." Business Insider. Business Insider, 26 Apr. 2017. Web. 30 June 2017.
  2. "Supreme Court sets higher bar for stripping citizenship." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 22 June 2017. Web. 30 June 2017.
  3. Maslenjak v. United States. Supreme Court of the United States. 22 June 2017. Print.