The Supreme Court is where the buck stops so Ms. Muthana is out of luck. The issue of her citizenship is settled so her attorneys would have to find some other argument to make on why she should be permitted into the United States. I remember being twenty, and as mentioned in the OP, it’s true that I understand things better now than I did back then, but I was still responsible for my actions at at that age. She made her bed and now she’s got to lie in it.
Also interesting is that in April 2021, her 29-year-old sister was arrested with her 20-year-old husband while (allegedly) trying to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS.
In 2021, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the District Court that Muthana is not a citizen.
What is going on with this family that two different daughters wanted to join ISIS, the 29-year-old one even after what happened to her sister, getting stuck in a refugee camp and all. Why did both of the daughters do that when they probably grew up in relative comfort, not especially mistreated by the US, I’m assuming.
Like I said, I don’t want her back. It sounds like the federal courts and gov’t are pretty set on her never having been a citizen. She screwed herself over and wasn’t a child when she did it. But she got a pretty harsh consequence, especially since she and her family probably thought she was a citizen and would be able to come back if she changed her mind. Life is rough sometimes.
Right, which means that the ruling of the lower court stands.
That means the ruling of the lower court, stands for the case in question(*). As the case had already not just been ruled at District but also appealed to the Circuit and ruled there, and this would be an appeal from the Circuit to SCOTUS, that would be it for this particular line of argument.
(* What it does leave open is for someone else making the same argument for their particular circumstance, AIUI)
Yes, I get that the lower court’s ruling stands. It sounds like she’s SOOL. Just wasn’t sure if there’s another federal court between the court that made the ruling and the SC, or if the SC declining the case means no other appeals allowed. Obviously I’m not a lawyer! Even if there were some other appeal somehow possible, it doesn’t sound like it would go anywhere. She has been soundly rejected.
Yeh, it went through the standard set of the appeals process. Also, harkening back to the original run of this thread…
The lower courts ruled exactly based on that it turns out that she was never a citizen to begin with, and therefore has no right to contest her exclusion.
From the Court of Appeals ruling (emphasis added by me):
Although Muthana may have had a good faith understanding that his daughter acquired citizenship at birth, an error initially shared by the State Department, the law affords Muthana no relief. As we have explained, Hoda has never been a U.S. citizen and therefore the State Department revoked her passport, but could not strip her of a citizenship she never lawfully enjoyed. Even if the State Department previously recognized Hoda as a citizen as Muthana contends, the Executive can only recognize lawful citizenship, and Hoda did not acquire citizenship at birth because her parents had diplomatic immunity. We cannot now order the State Department to recognize Hoda’s citizenship, because she is not a citizen under the Constitution or laws of the United States. The Executive has no authority to confer citizenship on Hoda outside of the naturalization rules created by Congress.
Nor do the courts have an equitable power to grant citizenship. “Neither by application of the doctrine of estoppel, nor by invocation of equitable powers, nor by any other means does a court have the power to confer citizenship in violation of these limitations.”
So the court rules the laws provide no avenue for the court to declare a citizenship exists because for years everyone including government entities believed/assumed it existed and acted like it. No power is granted though to “strip citizenship” unilaterally when there is no ambiguity about the status of your birthright or irregularity in your naturalization - just that if it turns out that because of not crossing all t’s and dotting all i’s, you were not really a citizen after all, then yes, your passport can be voided and you have no right to return.
A case will typically visit all the subordinate courts on its way up to the Supreme Court. i.e. A case starts in federal court, it goes to the appellate court, and then it goes to the Supreme Court. I don’t believe it’s normal practice for a case to leap over inferior courts on its way to the top. The SC could have sent it back to a lower court and said, “Hey, you guys need to sort this out.” But since the SC refused to hear it that means the lower court’s decision stands and there’s no other court Muthana can appeal to.
It does seem a bit unjust that someone can “lose” citizenship which they were erroneously “granted” as an infant based on essentially a technicality, especially when everyone apparently concedes that the father had no intent to deceive. Seems like there should be some sort of statute of limitations on that, but if I were a lawyer wanting to make that case, I definitely would wait for a more sympathetic defendant to come along.
Okay I see. Makes sense.
As Thing.Fish stated, it does seem too bad that Muthana and her family made decisions based on the erroneous belief that she was a citizen, fostered by her being granted US passports in the past, and now the US says that was an error. But OTOH, she made a really bad decision and her citizenship might never have been re-examined if she hadn’t joined ISIS.
I read an article where she claimed she didn’t get along well with her mother and that her family was extremely religious, though not extremist as far as we know, and she was never allowed to go anywhere or do anything and just wanted to belong.
The laws are Constitutional so this really isn’t something for the courts to figure out. This “technicality,” or, “the law” as I like to call it, is something the legislators need to hash out.
In the line of duty, I’ve seen a handful of less famous cases in which, for example, someone was adopted from abroad by U.S. citizen parents and erroneously thought that the adoption automatically made the adoptee a citizen. Unfortunately for these folks, that isn’t always true, and in the case I am thinking of, the adopted child was erroneously granted a U.S. passport on multiple occasions, grew up, got married, and filed for a green card for her husband before USCIS figured out that she never should have been eligible for a U.S. passport in the first place. It was kind of a train wreck, but at least the adoptee wasn’t stuck outside the U.S. when her passport was revoked.
Eva Luna, U.S. immigration paralegal
I believe it’s been changed now, but there was that whole mess where babies born through donor eggs/IVF in Israel to US citizens were not automatically citizens.
Sort of. It would still leave in the lurch, for example, a binational couple in which the sperm or egg is contributed by the non-U.S. citizen, but the U.S. citizen does not contribute genetic material for a child born through surrogacy. (And it applies to children born anywhere outside the U.S., not just in Israel.)