The Yale Law Journal

Second Circuit Opinion (Morales-Santana) Discusses Volume 123 Article

Charles C. Bridge
09 Jul 2015

Yesterday, the Second Circuit issued a decision in Morales-Santana v. Lynch. The case involved a challenge to a federal citizenship statute that imposed more stringent requirements for derivative citizenship upon citizen fathers and their children than upon citizen mothers and their children. Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge Lohier accepted the petitioner's argument that this gender-based distinction violated the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of Equal Protection.

The court's opinion repeatedly cites an Article recently published in the Journal by Kristin A. Collins. Professor Collins's piece, relying upon archival research into the origins of gender- and marriage-based derivative citizenship, argues that the body of law developed as an attempt to enforce "racially nativist" policies and norms. Her synthesis of the historical record proved to be critical to the court's analysis and conclusions.

[JULY 12 UPDATE: Before featuring prominently in the Second Circuit's opinion, the Article also inspired the court to order supplemental briefing in Morales-Santana after the piece appeared in the Journal in 2014. See Order Requesting Supplemental Briefing, Morales-Santana v. Holder, No. 11-1252 (2d Cir. Oct. 8, 2014), ECF No. 163.]

Professor Collins's Article is available here.

Preferred Citation: Kristin A. Collins, Illegitimate Borders: Jus Sanguinis Citizenship and the Legal Construction of Family, Race, and Nation, 123 Yale L.J. 2134 (2014).