"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
Now, we're supposed to believe that after swearing his oath he suddenly turned into a terrorist, or was it more likely that he and his brother planned the bombing before he took the oath, and only did so because he would be able to game the system if he were caught?
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Knauer is a native of Germany. He arrived in this country in 1925, at the age of 30. He had served in the German army during World War I, and was decorated. He had studied law and economics in Germany. He settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and conducted an insurance business there. He filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen in 1929, and his petition for naturalization in 1936. He took his oath of allegiance and was admitted to citizenship on April 13, 1937. In 1943, the United States instituted proceedings under § 338(a) of the Nationality Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 1137, 1158, 8 U.S.C. § 738(a), to cancel his certificate of naturalization [Footnote 1] on the ground that it had been secured by fraud in that (1) he had falsely and fraudulently represented in his petition that he was attached to the principles of the Constitution, and (2) he had taken a false oath of allegiance. The District Court was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Knauer practiced fraud when he obtained his certificate of naturalization. It found that he had not been and is not attached to the principles of the Constitution, and that he took a false oath of allegiance. It accordingly entered an order cancelling his certificate and revoking the order admitting him to citizenship. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 149 F.2d 519. The case is here on a petition for a writ of certiorari which we granted to examine that ruling in light of our decisions in Schneiderman v. United States, 320 U. S. 118, and Baumgartner v. United States, 322 U. S. 665.
I. In the oath of allegiance which Knauer took, he swore that he would "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to the German Reich," that he would "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;" that he would "bear true faith and allegiance to the same," and that he took "this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." [Footnote 2] The first and crucial issue in the case is whether Knauer swore falsely and committed a fraud when he promised under oath to forswear allegiance to the German Reich and to transfer his allegiance to this nation. Fraud connotes perjury, falsification, concealment, misrepresentation. When denaturalization is sought on this (Baumgartner v. United States, supra), as well as on other grounds (Schneiderman v. United States, supra), the standard of proof required is strict. We do not accept even concurrent findings of two lower courts as conclusive. Baumgartner v. United States, supra, pp. 322 U. S. 670-671. We reexamine the facts to determine whether the United States has carried its burden of proving by "clear, unequivocal, and convincing" evidence, which does not leave "the issue in doubt," that the citizen who is sought to be restored to the status of an alien obtained his naturalization certificate illegally. Schneiderman v. United States, supra, p. 320 U. S. 158.
That strict test is necessary for several reasons. Citizenship obtained through naturalization is not a second-class citizenship. It has been said that citizenship carries with it all of the rights and prerogatives of citizenship obtained by birth in this country "save that of eligibility to the Presidency." Luria v. United States, 231 U. S. 9, 231 U. S. 22. There are other exceptions of a limited character. [Footnote 3] But it is plain that citizenship obtained through naturalization carries with it the privilege of full participation in the affairs of our society, including the right to speak freely, to criticize officials and administrators, and to promote changes in our laws, including the very Charter of our Government. Great tolerance and caution are necessary lest good faith exercise of the rights of citizenship be turned against the naturalized citizen and be used to deprive him of the cherished status. Ill-tempered expressions, extreme views, even the promotion of ideas which run counter to our American ideals, are not to be given disloyal connotations in absence of solid, convincing evidence that that is their significance. Any other course would run counter to our traditions, and make denaturalization proceedings the ready instrument for political persecutions. As stated in Schneiderman v. United States, supra, p. 320 U. S. 159,
...This record portrays a program of action to further Hitler's cause in this nation -- a program of infiltration which conforms to the pattern adopted by the Nazis in country after country. The ties with the German Reich were too intimate, the pattern of conduct too consistent, the overt acts too plain for us to conclude that Knauer was merely exercising his right of free speech either to spread tolerance in this country or to advocate changes here.
Moreover, the case against Knauer is not constructed solely from his activities subsequent to April 13, 1937 -- the date of his naturalization. The evidence prior to his naturalization, that which clusters around that date, and that which follows in the next few years is completely consistent. It conforms to the same pattern. We do not have to guess whether, subsequent to naturalization, he had a change of heart and threw himself wholeheartedly into a new cause. We have clear, convincing, and solid evidence that, at all relevant times, he was a thorough-going Nazi bent on sponsoring Hitler's cause here. And this case, unlike the Baumgartner case, is not complicated by the fact that, when the alien took his oath, Hitler was not in power. On April 13, 1937, Hitler was in full command. The evidence is most convincing that, at that time as well as later, Knauer's loyalty ran to him, not to this country.
The District Court properly ruled that membership in the Bund was not, in itself, sufficient to prove fraud which would warrant revocation of a decree of naturalization. Otherwise, guilt would rest on implication, contrary to the rule of the Schneiderman and Baumgartner cases. But we have here much more than that. We have a clear course of conduct, of which membership in the Bund was a manifestation, designed to promote the Nazi cause in this country. This is not a case of an underling caught up in the enthusiasm of a movement, driven by ties of blood and old associations to extreme attitudes, and perhaps unaware of the conflict of allegiance implicit in his actions. Knauer is an astute person. He is a leader -- the dominating figure in the cause he sponsored, a leading voice in the councils of the Bund, the spokesman in the program for systematic agitation of Nazi views. His activities protray a shrewd, calculating, and vigilant promotion of an alien cause. The conclusion seems to us plain that, when Knauer forswore allegiance to Hitler and the German Reich, he swore falsely. [Footnote 8]
II. It is said, however, that the issue of fraud may not be tried in this case. An analogy is sought to be drawn to those cases where relief against a prior judgment, on the ground that perjured testimony was introduced at the trial, was denied. United States v. Throckmorton, 98 U. S. 61, 98 U. S. 66. And see Toledo Scale Co. v. Computing Scale Co., 261 U. S. 399, 261 U. S. 421. But that rule goes no further than to say that the issue of fraud can become res judicata in the judgment sought to be set aside. We need not consider the extent to which a decree of naturalization may constitute a final determination of issues of fact the establishment of which Congress has made conditions precedent to naturalization. [Footnote 9] Those facts relate to the past -- to behavior and conduct. But the oath is in a different category. It relates to a state of mind, and is a promise of future conduct. It is the final act by which an alien acquires the status of citizen. It requires forswearing of allegiance in good faith, and with no mental reservations. The oath being the final step, no evidence is heard at that time. It comes after the matters in issue have been resolved in favor of the applicant for citizenship. Hence, no opportunity exists for the examiner or the judge to determine if what the new citizen swore was true was in fact false. Hence, the issue of fraud in the oath cannot become res judicata in the decree sought to be set aside. For fraud in the oath was not in issue in the proceedings, and neither was adjudicated nor could have been adjudicated.
Moreover, when an alien takes the oath with reservations or does not in good faith forswear loyalty and allegiance to the old country, the decree of naturalization is obtained by deceit. The proceeding itself is then founded on fraud. A fraud is perpetrated on the naturalization court. We have recently considered the broad powers of equity to set aside a decree for fraud practiced on the court which granted it. Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Co., 322 U. S. 238. The present suit is an equity suit. Luria v. United States, supra, pp. 231 U. S. 27-28. But we need not consider in this case what the historic powers of equity might be in this situation. For Congress has provided that fraud is a basis for cancellation of certificates of naturalization in proceedings instituted by the United States. [Footnote 10] The legislative history of that enactment shows that false swearing was one of the evils included in the statutory grounds for denaturalization. [Footnote 11] That power was granted to give added protection against fraud committed on the naturalization courts. United States v. Ness, 245 U. S. 319, 245 U. S. 324, 245 U. S. 327. Cancellation of a certificate on the grounds of fraud includes cancellation for falsely swearing that the applicant forswore allegiance to his native country. Though the making of a false oath be called intrinsic fraud (see United States v. Throckmorton, supra), it is within the reach of the statute.
We have no doubt of the power of Congress to provide for denaturalization on the grounds of fraud. The Constitution grants Congress power "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization." Article I, Section 8. The power of denaturalization comes from that provision and the "necessary and proper" Clause in Article I, Section 8. See Tutun v. United States, 270 U. S. 568, 270 U. S. 578. We do not have here a case where, after an alien has been naturalized, Congress provides new grounds which are invoked for cancellation of his certificate. Fraud -- the basis of revocation with which we are now concerned -- was a statutory ground for denaturalization when Knauer took his oath. Moreover, we are not faced with the question of what limits there may be to conditions for denaturalization which Congress may provide. A certificate obtained by fraud is clearly within the reach of Congressional power. As stated in Johannessen v. United States, 225 U. S. 227, 225 U. S. 241:
"An alien has no moral nor constitutional right to retain the privileges of citizenship if, by false evidence or the like, an imposition has been practiced upon the court, without which the certificate of citizenship could not and would not have been issued."
In other words, the precedent for revocation of citizenship for making a fraudulent oath exists. In addition, US citizens who act on behalf of foreign powers who are at war with the US can be tried by military tribunals, even if they are not declared enemy combatants. The assassins of Abraham Lincoln were tried by military courts, as were civilian saboteurs during WWII. Dzhokar Tsarnaev can be tried as either an enemy combatant or as a civilian who has defrauded the United States by perjury in his oath of citizenship, but that would require an understanding of the law that seems to elude our Justice Department.
As much as I don't like it...under the law he HAS to be charged this way. He's an American citizen and under the Military Comissions Act that was passed shortly after we started the WoT he has to be charged this way. It all stems from the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld court case.
A federal court judge and/or jury will decide his fate.
As far as the circus goes-the judge who handeled Timothy McVeigh's case did an excellent job of keeping the media from taking control like they did in OJ's murder case. I hope that is what happens here.
I'm not a death penalty advocate. If the federal government is going to have one, this is the type of case that it should apply to, however. I'm pretty sure that he will get it when it comes to that point. If he gets life without the possibility of parole, that would be justice in my mind, but there is no way the federal prosecutor is going to sit anyone as "weak" about the death penalty as me on that jury.
Military tribunals are not extra-Constitutional, and congress has the power to determine their jurisdiction. The first thing that we need to establish, in a civilian court, is whether Tsaraev's citizenship can be revoked on the grounds that he perjured himself when he took his oath. Knauer v. United States established the precedent that a citizenship oath taken for the purpose of undermining the United States (or, to put it another way, with "mental reservation or purpose of evasion") can be voided if the evidence demonstrates that the person taking the oath did so while harboring intent to attack the United States or undermine the Constitution.
More importantly, it would put the administration on the defensive, as Democrats would be in the position of defending citizenship for a terrorist, as well as raising deeper questions about what the left thinks that citizenship means. The Democrats' whole amnesty argument falls apart if we force them to explain what makes illegals potentially good citizens and stewards of American democracy. Waving a Mexican flag at an illegal immigration rally and calling for the "reconquista" of the American southwest by Mexico would seem to imply a lack of commitment to American values, would it not?
Holder will have final say in what his fate is. And as far as Timothy McVeigh, I'm not doubting the judge will do a great job, but we didn't have Dumb, Dumber, and Bozo the Clown in office at the time either. You are talking about Holder and Obama here. Two of the biggest Islamic fanatic sympathizers to ever burden us with their presence.
He should be sentenced to death, and they should have it for the public to see. Let other terrorists know what will happen to them should they try it also. Don't play games with these morons.
You are correct to a point about how much say that Holder has in the matter. His office decides what charges will be filed in federal court. His office also decides whether or not to seek the death penalty.
Once the case is in the courts, however, that is where the bomber's fate lies. Holder himself won't be trying it for the AG's office, someone who is a career assistant AG (as opposed to a political appointee) will likely be in charge of the trial.
Whatever you think of Obama, do you really think anyone is going to let this guy walk? I don't mean a life sentence instead of execution, I mean walk away a free man ever again?
Yes, I think Obama would let this kid walk. I wouldn't be surprised if he quietly sends him back to Russia in the middle of the night.
Note: Did anyone see his mother's interview on CNN? She said that if he dies, he dies - THEN SAID ALLAH AKBAR! Yeah, they are Islamic Fanatics alright!