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UNITED STATES v. JEROME

June 17, 1953

UNITED STATES
v.
JEROME



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NOONAN

This is a motion to dismiss the complaint of the Government based on four separate allegations that the court is without jurisdiction, and, also, that the complaint fails to state a cause of action and that the matter is res judicata. The defendant has moved in the alternative that, if the complaint is permitted to stand, the plaintiff be compelled to separately state and number its claims; further, the defendant has moved to strike several basic portions of the plaintiff's complaint as immaterial and impertinent. These matters will be dealt with one at a time.

The first allegation is that the court lacks jurisdiction because the complaint is not supported by affidavit as required by the pertinent statute. This is not the first case in which that argument has been urged. In the past few months alone that issue has been raised in this court three times in similar circumstances. U.S. v. Ronch, Civ. 77-290; U.S. v. Lustig, D.C., 110 F.Supp. 806; U.S. v. Radzie, D.C., 14 F.R.D. 151. All three cases were decided adversely to the petitioner's position. Since these decisions, nothing has arisen to change either the law or its interpretation. The wording with regard to this requirement, as contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1101 et. seq., involved in this case, is the same as that of the Nationality Act of 1940, involved in the three cases just cited.

 The defendant bases his argument largely on the Supreme Court decision in Bindczyck v. Finucane, 1951, 342 U.S. 76, 72 S. Ct. 130, 135, 96 L. Ed. 100, which he alleges holds contrary to the District Court decisions mentioned above. The Supreme Court, in the Bindczck case precluded a state court from cancelling a certificate of naturalization on grounds of fraudulent or illegal procurement by a mere exercise of its general power to set aside judgments during the term at which they were rendered.

 In the opinion of this court, the Bindczyck decision is not controlling in the case at bar because its rationale is based on the concept that denaturalization proceedings should not be left to the adjective law of the various states -- that it should not be allowed or denied ' * * * through the eccentricities and accidents of variegated State practice * * *.' State practice is not involved in the case under consideration; so this court feels compelled to follow the Ronch, Lustig and Radzie decisions.

 The second ground urging lack of jurisdiction is based on the alleged unconstitutionality of the statute ' * * * on its face and as construed and applied here * * * '.

 In a case involving the 1940 Act, Knauer v. U.S., 328 U.S. 654, 66 S. Ct. 1304, 90 L. Ed. 1500, rehearing denied 329 U.S. 818, 67 S. Ct. 25, 91 L. Ed. 697 the court noted that Article 1, Sec. 8, cl. 4 of the Constitution of the United States grants Congress the power 'To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization'. This power, coupled with that provided by the 'necessary and proper' clause, Art. 1, Sec. 8, cl. 18, empowers Congress likewise to provide for cancellation of Certificates of Naturalization.

 In the Knauer case, supra (328 U.S. 654, 66 S. Ct. 1314), the court held, quoting the case of Johannessen v. U.S., 225 U.S. 227, 241, 32 S. Ct. 613, 617, 56 L. Ed. 1066 '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 practised upon the court, without which the certificate of citizenship could not and would not have been issued.'

 This court believes that the reasoning in the cases cited is equally applicable to the wording of the 1952 Act, and on that basis, the 1952 Act is constitutional.

 The third allegation concerning lack of jurisdiction is based on the claim that the court is not empowered to grant the relief sought in the complaint. The relief sought is the same that has been granted in numerous earlier cases under the 1940 Nationality Act. The 1952 Act effects no material changes limiting the relief which the Government might seek as respects this defendant.

 The defendant's fourth argument based on lack of jurisdiction alleges that the purposes for which this proceeding is brought are not proper. However, Title 8 U.S.C.A. Section 1451(a) provides that such an action be taken for the purpose alleged in paragraph eleven of the complaint.

 In view of the above, the defendant's next allegation, that the complaint fails to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted, is not supported by the facts as they appear at this point.

 The allegation raising the issues of res judicata and estoppel also is similar to that raised in many previous cases. It was recently raised in the case of U.S. v. Lustig, supra. In that case, Judge Edelstein, basing his decision on competent authorities, ruled that it was not a valid ground for dismissal of a complaint where the complaint alleges fraud in the procurement of the original judgment. Since the provisions of the two Acts are related, there appears to be no reason why this court should not follow the rationale behind that ruling.

 Fraud is a proper ground for revocation of a judgment. Knauer v. U.S., 328 U.S. 654, 66 S. Ct. 1304, 90 L. Ed. 1500. It will remain for the government to prove the fraud they allege by the 'concealment' and 'willful misrepresentation' as required. The government is not estopped from alleging such fraud.

 In view of all of the above, the court must deny the defendant's motion for an order dismissing the complaint based on ...


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