For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Lieberman's Citizen-Stripping Bill "Unconstitutional"
Kadidal is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice
Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He
just wrote the piece "Senator Lieberman's Latest Constitutional Buffoonery,"
which states: "Senator Lieberman [Thursday] proposed a bill that would
strip American citizenship from anyone who has 'provid[ed] material
support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization' or 'engaged
in, or purposefully and materially support[ed], hostilities against the
United States' or any of its allies.
"Unfortunately for Senator Joe, the Supreme Court has made it
crystal clear over the last four decades that the federal government
simply has no power to take away U.S. citizenship. In Afroyim v. Rusk
(1967), the State Department tried to strip citizenship from an
American who'd voted in an Israeli election. The Court held that in the
wake of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress lacks 'any general power,
express or implied, to take away an American citizen's citizenship
without his assent.' Because the people are sovereign under our
constitution, that document 'defin[es] a citizenship which a citizen
keeps unless he voluntarily relinquishes it.'"
Kadidal said today: "We have a case in the Supreme Court in which
the government is maintaining that anyone who writes an oped supporting
Hamas [which won the most recent Palestinian election] is engaging in
material support for terrorism, so [by this logic] that could strip you
of your citizenship."
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Background: The AP reports that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,
said the proposal 'sounds like a good idea' ... 'I like the spirit of
it,' Pelosi told reporters." AP continues: "'I understand the desire
behind the recommendations,' [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton said.
She noted that naturalized citizens swear an oath to uphold the
Constitution and that 'people who are serving foreign powers and, in
this case, foreign terrorists, are clearly in violation, in my personal
opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens.'"
Huffington Post reports: "Asked about the controversial idea during
Thursday's briefing, [White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs] didn't
get too far in the weeds, save to say: 'I have not heard anybody inside
the administration who is supportive of that.'"
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