02_thind

02_thind - UNITED STATES v. BHAGAT SINGH THIND. No. 202....

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UNITED STATES v. BHAGAT SINGH THIND . No. 202. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 261 U.S. 204; 43 S. Ct. 338; 67 L. Ed. 616; 1923 U.S. LEXIS 2544 Argued January 11, 12, 1923. February 19, 1923, Decided MR. JUSTICE SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court. This cause is here upon a certificate from the Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting the instruction of this Court in respect of the following questions: "1. Is a high caste Hindu of full Indian blood, born at Amrit Sar, Punjab, India, a white person within the meaning of section 2169, Revised Statutes? [*207] "2. Does the act of February 5, 1917, (39 Stat. L. 875, section 3) disqualify from naturalization as citizens those Hindus, now barred by that act, who had lawfully entered the United States prior to the passage of said act?" The appellee [Thind] was granted a certificate of citizenship by the District Court of the United States for the District of Oregon, over the objection of the naturalization examiner for the United States. A bill in equity was then filed by the United States, seeking a cancellation of the certificate on the ground that the appellee was not a white person and therefore not lawfully entitled to naturalization. The District Court, on motion, dismissed the bill (268 Fed. 683) and an appeal was taken to the Circuit Court of Appeals. No question is made in respect of the individual qualifications of the appellee. The sole question is whether he falls within the class designated by Congress as eligible. Section 2169, Revised Statutes, provides that the provisions of the Naturalization Act "shall apply to aliens, being free white persons, and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent." If the applicant is a white person within the meaning of this section he is entitled to naturalization; otherwise not. In Ozawa v. United States, 260 U.S. 178, we had occasion to consider the application of these words to the case of a cultivated Japanese and were constrained to hold that he was not within their meaning. As there pointed out, the provision is not that any particular class of persons shall be excluded, but it is, in effect, that only white persons shall be included within the privilege of the statute. "The intention was to confer the privilege of citizenship upon that class of persons whom the fathers knew as white, and to deny it to all who could not be so classified. It is not enough to say that the framers did not have in mind the brown or yellow races of Asia. It is necessary to go farther and be able to say that had these particular [*208] races been suggested the language of the act would have been so varied as to include them within its privileges," (p. 195) citing Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 644. Following a
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02_thind - UNITED STATES v. BHAGAT SINGH THIND. No. 202....

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