Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Afroyim v. Risk case brief

Afroyim v. Risk case brief summary
387 U.S. 253 (1967)

Petitioner sought review of a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which held that petitioner had voluntarily relinquished his citizenship by voting in a foreign election. Respondent, the United States Secretary of State, contended that petitioner had lost his citizenship by voting in a foreign state, pursuant to § 401(e) of the Nationality Act of 1940.

Petitioner was a naturalized citizen of the United States. For two years he lived abroad. and he voluntarily voted in elections in a foreign country. Upon contemplation of his return to the United States, petitioner applied for renewal of his United States passport. Respondent, Department of State, refused to grant the passport on the sole ground that petitioner had lost his citizenship by voting in a political election in a foreign state.


  • On review, the Court reversed the holding of the lower court on the basis that the government could not rob a citizen of his citizenship without his consent by simply proceeding to act under its own general power. 
  • The Court held that this was in direct contradiction to the rights of citizenship guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and overruled Perez v. Brownell, 356 U.S. 44 (1958).

The Court reversed the appellate court's judgment, which had affirmed the judgment of the district court.

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