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1 year ago

Citizenship -An Overview

"The importance of the case can hardly be overestimated. By distinguishing between state citizenship and national citizenship and by emphasizing that the rights and privileges of federal citizenship do not include the protection of ordinary civil liberties such as freedom of speech and press, religion, etc., but only the privileges which one enjoys by virtue of his federal citizenship, the Court averted, for the time being at least, the revolution in our constitutional system apparently intended by the framers of the amendment and reserved to the states the responsibility for protecting civil rights generally." Cases In Constitutional Law by Robert F. Cushman, 5th Edition, pp. 250-251 (College Law Textbook) [1979].

"Citizenship is elaborated in two privileges and immunities clauses of the United States Constitution. . . . The Slaughter-House Cases [1873] 83 U.S. 36, 21 L.Ed. 394, emphasized the distinct character of federal and state citizenship. Slaughter-House held that privileges and immunities conferred by state citizenship were outside federal reach through the Fourteenth Amendment.Federal citizenship was seen as including only such things as interstate travel and voting. While subsequent decisions have extended the meaning of citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment, Slaughter-House is still controlling in that it precludes use of privileges and immunities language in protecting citizens by federal authority." Constitutional Law Deskbook - Individual Rights, by Chandler, Enslen, Renstrom; Second Edition, p. 634 (Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, 1993).

"The Fourteenth Amendment did not obliterate the distinction between national and state citizenship, but rather preserved it. Slaughter-House Cases." 103d Congress, 1st Session, Document 103-6: The Constitution of the United States of America; Analysis And Interpretation: Annotations Of Cases Decided By The Supreme Court Of The United States To June 29, 1992, p. 1566. 1

In addition, the Supreme Court in The Slaughter-House Cases concluded that there are two citizens under the Constitution of the United States:"The next observation is more important in view of the arguments of counsel in the present case. It is, that the distinction between citizenship of the United States and citizenship of a State is clearly recognized and established. It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States, and a citizenship of a State, which are distinct from each other, and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances in the individual.

We think this distinction and its explicit recognition in this Amendment of great weight in this argument, because the next paragraph of this same section, which is the one mainly relied on by the plaintiffs in error, speaks only of privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, and does not speak of those of citizens of the several States. The argument, however, in favor of the plaintiffs rests wholly on the assumption that the citizenship is the same, and the privileges and immunities guaranteed by the clause are the same.