Constitutional Law-Expatriation-Criminal Due Process as Prerequisite to Expatriation When Imposed as Punishment

Respondents, native-born Americans, in two separate cases sought declaratory judgments confirming their status as United States citizens. One wanted to return to this country, and the other sought to avoid deportation as an alien. The Government claimed that respondents had lost their citizenship by operation of section 401(j) of the Nationality Act of 1940 and its successor, section 349(a)(10) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which automatically divest an American of his citizenship for “departing from or remaining outside the jurisdiction of the United States in time of war or . . . national emergency for the purpose of evading or avoiding training and service” in the armed forces. Both respondents had remained outside the United States during such a period, and one conceded that his purpose in doing so was to avoid his military obligations. The statutory provisions were held unconstitutional by the federal district courts. In both cases direct appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, where the cases were consolidated for decision. Held, affirmed, four Justices dissenting. Congress cannot employ the sanction of expatriation as a punishment without providing for the procedural safeguards required by the fifth and sixth amendments. Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144 (1963).