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Legitimacy and Citizenship:
Miller v. Albright

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
Subjects: Equal Protection; "Illegitimate" Children; Voluntary Paternity Decree

Argued: Nov. 4, 1997

Decided: April 22, 1998
Vote: 6-3
At Issue: Whether the distinction in the U.S. Code between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and is unconstitutional under the rational basis test; whether the Code's distinction between "illegitimate" children of American mothers and American fathers further violates the Equal Protection Clause, and unconstitutionally revokes the citizenship given in another statute; and finally, whether the Voluntary Paternity Decree legitimized the plaintiff before her eighteenth birthday.

Decision: The justices decided by a 6-3 vote that courts may treat fathers and mothers differently in deciding the U.S. citizenship of their children born out of wedlock and out of the country.

Read the full text of the Miller v. Albright decision at the Findlaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

Listen to the Miller v. Albright oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.

Read the 1996 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia on the lower court's Web site. The case is also available on FindLaw, as is the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Look at the pertinent child "legitimacy" provision in the U.S. Code (8 U.S.C. 1409(a)) at the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library Web site.

Look at the pertinent citizenship provision in the U.S. Code (8 U.S.C. Section 1401(g)) at the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library Web site.


Background from The Post
Sexual Stereotypes Split High Court (April 23, 1998)
High Court Hears Citizenship Dispute (Nov. 5, 1997)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)


© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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