Orth v. United States, 5235.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPARKER, DOBIE, and NORTHCOTT, Circuit
Citation142 F.2d 969
PartiesORTH et al. v. UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 5235.,5235.
Decision Date24 May 1944

142 F.2d 969 (1944)

ORTH et al.

No. 5235.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

May 24, 1944.

142 F.2d 970

Thomas P. Stoney and Malcolm E. Crosland, both of Charleston, S. C. (Edward K. Pritchard and Paul M. Macmillan, both of Charleston, S. C., on the brief), for appellants.

Louis M. Shimel, Asst. U. S. Atty., of Charleston, S. C. (Claud N. Sapp, U. S. Atty., of Columbia, S. C., and D. E. Balch, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen., on the brief), for appellee.

Before PARKER, DOBIE, and NORTHCOTT, Circuit Judges.

DOBIE, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina, cancelling the naturalization certificate of Albert Orth and Anna Orth under Section 338 of the Nationality Act of 1940, Title 8 U.S.C.A. § 738.

We are in hearty agreement with the attitude so succinctly expressed by Judge Foster in United States v. Kramer, 5 Cir., 262 F. 395, 397, as follows: "American citizenship is a priceless possession, and one who seeks it by naturalization must do so in entire good faith, without any mental reservation whatever, and with the complete intention of yielding his absolute loyalty and allegiance to the country of his adoption. If he does not, he is guilty of fraud in obtaining his certificate of citizenship."

Our approval of this attitude, however, is tempered by our belief that the deprivation of citizenship should be carefully limited to proper cases. The criteria which we must follow were determined by the United States Supreme Court in Schneiderman v. United States, 320 U.S. 118, 63 S.Ct. 1333, 1341, 87 L.Ed. 1796. The evidence required to establish the Government's right to cancel the certificate of citizenship must be "clear, unequivocal and convincing."

We repeat that American citizenship is a priceless possession, a fact even more patent when two-thirds of the world today is being devastated by bombs, and should not be extended to one who merely seeks physical protection, with no attendant idea of allegiance; nor should one be allowed to retain the benefits of citizenship when he has obtained it through fraud or illegality. It is equally clear that once the rights of citizenship have been granted, more than mere speculation or war time suspicion should be required to annul these rights, United States v. Polzin, D.C., 48 F.Supp. 476; and the approval of the District Court in granting citizenship should be neither lightly considered nor tampered with, in the absence of sound reason for so doing.

As Judge Hutcheson said in Meyer v. United States, 5 Cir., 141 F.2d 825, 831: "It ought to be, it is, in the absence of downright proof of fraud or illegality, enough that one district judge has judicially

142 F.2d 971
determined the right of a naturalized citizen to his citizenship. If that right, established by solemn judgment, is to be taken from him, it ought to be, it can be, taken only upon evidence clearly and positively establishing definite fraud. It cannot be taken upon suspicion or surmise of fraud or upon mere proof that since his naturalization the citizen has given expression to views or allied himself with organizations which in the then state of public opinion seem dangerous or inimical to the public welfare. If these expressions or acts of the naturalized citizen are criminal, he is subject like every other citizen to prosecution for them; if they are not, they subject him to no other legal consequences then a native born citizen doing or saying the same thing would be subject to."

We do not believe that such "downright proof of fraud or illegality" has been established in the instant case.

We set out certain pertinent and undisputed facts, as they appear from the record, and subsequently we shall consider, more or less in detail, the most important evidence relied upon by the Government.

Albert Orth (hereinafter called Orth) was born in Germany, of German parents, in 1872. He came to the United States in April, 1891. In the same year he was followed here by his parents, brothers and sisters. Orth's parents were naturalized in September, 1900, prior to his naturalization in November, 1900. In 1896 Orth married a native of Germany, now Anna Orth, codefendant in this action. Her citizenship is derivative, so that it was not necessary for her to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. Orth, in 1904, purchased the Deutsche Zeitung, a German language newspaper published in the City of Charleston, South Carolina. In the same year, he established his residence in that city, where he now resides. The publication of the Deutsche Zeitung comprised only about one-twentieth of Orth's general printing business. Its publication was discontinued as a German language publication in 1917, and it was replaced by a paper published in the English language.

The record discloses that Orth, in 1914, was indicted for aiding one Gustav Drewes, a German reservist, who deserted the crew of the British Steamship Wingate, which came into the Charleston harbor in August, 1914, after a state of war had been declared between Germany and England. However, this indictment was later nolle prossed by the Government.

Further undisputed evidence shows that in the year 1917, after the United States and Germany were at war, Orth was convicted under an indictment containing two counts for offenses committed in 1916. The first count charged Orth with aiding and abetting the escape, from the Atlanta Penitentiary, of one Knobloch, and one Captain Fay, a German officer convicted of placing bombs on ships sailing out of New York and carrying...

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9 cases
  • United States v. Costello
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 20 February 1959
    ...to cancel a certificate of naturalization. United States v. Orth, D.C., 51 F.Supp. 682, reversed on other grounds 4 Cir., 1944, 142 F.2d 969; United States v. Marino, D.C.S.D.N.Y. 1939, 27 F.Supp. 155, 156; United States v. Spohrer, C.C.D.N.J.1910, 175 F. 440, 448; 3 C.J.S. Aliens § 157 (Po......
  • United States v. Title, Civ. No. 17368.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 8 June 1955
    ...422, 61 L. Ed. 853; Bindczyck v. Finucane, 1951, 342 U.S. 76, 71-82, 72 S.Ct. 130, 96 L.Ed. 100; Orth v. United States, 4 Cir., 1944, 142 F.2d 969, 970; United States v. Siegel, 2 Cir., 1945, 152 F.2d 614; United States v. Hauck, 2 Cir., 1946, 155 F.2d 141, 143. 3 This was codified as Secti......
  • United States v. Nowak, 12391.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 15 July 1955
    ...subsequent to his naturalization, is competent to show his state of mind at the time of his naturalization. Orth v. United States, 4 Cir., 142 F.2d 969; United States ex rel. Harrington v. Schlotfeldt, 7 Cir., 136 F.2d 935. We believe the fact that he kept his membership secret was counsele......
  • United States v. Marasilis, Misc. No. 127.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 21 June 1956
    ...upon the court, without which the certificate of citizenship could not and would not have been issued." In Orth v. United States, 4 Cir., 142 F. 2d 969, 970, the court quoted with approval the statement in United States v. Kramer, 5 Cir., 262 F. 395, 397, as "`American citizenship is a pric......
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