Afroyim v. Rusk

In Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U. S. 253 (1967), the Court held that 401 (e) of the Nationality Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 1168-1169, which provided that an American citizen "shall lose his nationality by . . . voting in a political election in a foreign state," contravened the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Afroyim was a naturalized American citizen who lived in Israel for 10 years. While in that nation, Afroyim voted in a political election. He in consequence was stripped of his United States citizenship. Consistently with Perez v. Brownell, 356 U. S. 44 (1958), which had sustained 401 (e), the District Court affirmed the power of Congress to expatriate for such conduct regardless of the citizen's intent to renounce his citizenship. This Court, however, in overruling Perez, "rejected the idea . . . that, aside from the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress has any general power, express or implied, to take away an American citizen's citizenship without his assent." (Afroyim v. Rusk, supra, at 257.) The Afroyim opinion continued: 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment is "most reasonably . . . read as defining a citizenship which a citizen keeps unless he voluntarily relinquishes it." (387 U. S., at 262.)