Thursday, February 9th, 2017

CA9 on jurisdiction, legitimation, derivative citizenship: Anderson v. Holder


"This case requires us to apply a 1952 statute to circumstances far removed from those that the enacting Congress imagined. Gary Anderson, born in England to an American serviceman father and an English mother, is a citizen of the United States if and only if his “paternity . . . [was] established while [he was] under the age of twenty-one years by legitimation.” 8 U.S.C. § 1409(a) (1952) (“Former § 1409(a)”). When Congress enacted this law, it believed that “[a]s a general proposition, legitimation is accomplished by the marriage of the parents with acknowledgment of paternity by the putative father.” S. Rep. No. 81-1515, at 692-93 (1950). The law of Arizona—one of the states in which Anderson resided before the age of twenty-one—lacked any such requirement, however. Instead, it provided that “[e]very child is . . . the legitimate child of its natural parents.” 1975 Ariz. Sess. Laws ch. 117, § 2 (codified