Theories of Loss of Citizenship

The underlying issue that I address in this essay is whether the Constitution ought to be read to prohibit denationalization of U.S. citizens. (I will use the term “denationalization” to refer to the government’s act of terminating citizenship. “Expatriation” will be used to refer to an individual’s voluntary relinquishment of citizenship.) In examining this question, I will explore citizenship from four different perspectives – rights, consent, contract, and community – in search of a theoretical framework for the Supreme Court’s doctrine in the denationalization cases.