Takao Ozawa v. United States, No. 1

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
Citation260 U.S. 178,43 S.Ct. 65,67 L.Ed. 199
Docket NumberNo. 1
Decision Date13 November 1922
PartiesTAKAO OZAWA v. UNITED STATES

260 U.S. 178
43 S.Ct. 65
67 L.Ed. 199
TAKAO OZAWA

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 1.
Argued Oct. 3 and 4, 1922.
Decided Nov. 13, 1922.

Messrs. Geo. W. Wickersham, of New York City, and David L. Withington, of Honolulu, T. H., for Takao Ozawa.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 178-186 intentionally omitted]

Page 186

Mr. Solicitor General Beck, of Washington, D. C., for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 186-189 intentionally omitted]

Page 189

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellant is a person of the Japanese race born in Japan. He applied, on October 16, 1914, to the United States District Court for the Territory of Hawaii to be admitted as a citizen of the United States. His petition was opposed by the United States District Attorney for the District of Hawaii. Including the period of his residence in Hawaii appellant had continuously resided in the United States for 20 years. He was a graduate of the Berkeley, Cal., high school, had been nearly three years a student in the University of California, had educated his children in American schools, his family had attended American churches and he had maintained the use of the English language in his home. That he was well qualified by character and education for citizenship is conceded.

The District Court of Hawaii, however, held that, having been born in Japan and being of the Japanese race,

Page 190

he was not eligible to naturalization under section 2169 of the Revised Statutes (Comp. St. § 4358), and denied the petition. Thereupon the appellant brought the cause to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and that court has certified the following questions, upon which it desires to be instructed:

'1. Is the act of June 29, 1906 (34 Stats. at Large, pt. 1, p. 596), providing 'for a uniform rule for the naturalization of aliens' complete in itself, or is it limited by section 2169 of the Revised Statutes of the United States?

'2. Is one who is of the Japanese race and born in Japan eligible to citizenship under the naturalization laws?

'3. If said act of June 29, 1906, is limited by section 2169 and naturalization is limited to aliens being free white persons and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent, is one of the Japanese race, born in Japan, under any circumstances eligible to naturalization?'

These questions for purposes of discussion may be briefly restated:

1. Is the Naturalization Act of June 29, 1906 (Comp. St. § 4351 et seq.), limited by the provisions of section 2169 of the Revised Statutes of the United States?

2. If so limited, is the appellant eligible to naturalization under that section?

First. Section 2169 is found in title XXX of the Revised Statutes, under the heading 'Naturalization,' and reads as follows:

'The provisions of this title shall apply to aliens, being free white persons and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent.'

The act of June 29, 1906, entitled 'An act to establish a Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, and to provide for a uniform rule for the naturalization of aliens

Page 191

throughout the United States,' consists of 31 sections and deals primarily with the subject of procedure. There is nothing in the circumstances leading up to or accompanying the passage of the act which suggests that any modification of section 2169, or of its application, was contemplated.

The report of the House Committee on Naturalization and Immigration, recommending its passage, contains this statement:

'It is the opinion of your committee that the frauds and crimes which have been committed in regard to naturalization have resulted more from a lack of any uniform system of procedure in such matters than from any radical defect in the fundamental principles of existing law governing in such matters. The two changes which the committee has recommended in the principles controlling in naturalization matters and which are embodied in the bill submitted herewith are as follows: First, the requirement that before an alien can be naturalized he must be able to read, either in his own language or in the English language and to speak or understand the English language; and, second, that the alien must intend to reside permanently in the United States before he shall be entitled to naturalization.'

This seems to make it quite clear that no change of the fundamental character here involved was in mind.

Section 26 of the Act (Comp. St. § 4381) expressly repeals sections 2165, 2167, 2168, 2173 of title XXX, the subject-matter thereof being covered by new provisions. The sections of title XXX remaining without repeal are: Section 2166, relating to honorably discharged soldiers; section 2169 (Comp. St. § 4358), now under consideration; section 2170 (section 4360), requiring five years' residence prior to admission; section 2171 (section 4352[11]), forbidding the admission of alien enemies; section 2172 (section 4367), relating to the status of children of naturalized persons; and section 2174 (section 4352[8]), making special provision in respect of the naturalization of seamen.

Page 192

There is nothing in section 2169 which is repugnant to anything in the act of 1906. Both may stand and be given effect. It is clear, therefore, that there is no repeal by implication.

But it is insisted by appellant that section 2169, by its terms is made applicable only to the provisions of title XXX, and that it will not admit of being construed as a restriction upon the act of 1906. Since section 2169, it is in effect argued, declares that 'the provisions of this title shall apply to aliens being free white persons, * * *' it should be confined to the classes provided for in the unrepealed sections of that title, leaving the act of 1906 to govern in respect of all other aliens, without any restriction except such as may be imposed by that act itself.

It is contended that, thus construed, the act of 1906 confers the privilege of naturalization without limitation as to race, since the general introductory words of section 4 (Comp. St. § 4352) are:

'That an alien may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States in the following manner, and not otherwise.'

But, obviously, this clause does not relate to the subject of eligibility but to the 'manner,' that is, the procedure, to be followed. Exactly the same words are used to introduce the similar provisions contained in section 2165 of the Revised Statutes. In 1790 the first naturalization act provided that——

'Any alien being a free white person * * * may be admitted to become a citizen. * * *' 1 Stat. 103, c. 3.

This was subsequently enlarged to include aliens of African nativity and persons of African descent. These provisions were restated in the Revised Statutes, so that section 2165 included only the procedural portion, while the substantive parts were carried into a separate section (2169) and the words 'An alien' substituted for the words 'Any alien.'

In all of the naturalization acts from 1790 to 1906 the privilege of naturalization was...

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195 practice notes
  • City of San Jose v. Trump, No. 20-CV-05167-RRC-LHK-EMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • October 22, 2020
    ...118 U.S. 356, 368–69, 6 S.Ct. 1064, 30 L.Ed. 220 (1886) (quoting U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1 ); see Ozawa v. United States , 260 U.S. 178, 192–93, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67 L.Ed. 199 (1922) (explaining that, as of 1886, naturalization was confined to white persons and persons of African descent). Th......
  • Arenas v. United States, No. 12356.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • February 19, 1951
    ...avoid absurd results or even unreasonable ones "at variance with the policy of the legislation as a whole". Ozawa v. United States, 1922, 260 U.S. 178, 194, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67, 67 L.Ed. 199. And see, United States v. Katz, 1926, 271 U.S. 354, 359, 46 S.Ct. 513, 70 L.Ed. 986; Haggar Company v. ......
  • State ex rel. Clay v. Cuyahoga Cnty. Med. Examiner's Office, No. 2016–0387
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • November 30, 2017
    ...results but merely an unreasonable one "plainly at variance with the policy of the legislation as a whole" [ Ozawa v. United States , 260 U.S. 178, 194, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67 L.Ed. 199 (1922) ] this Court has followed that purpose, rather than the literal words. When aid to construction of the me......
  • United States v. Kusche, Civil Action No. 2425-PH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • June 13, 1944
    ...6 to secure her citizenship more than seven years after the declaration of intention made by her deceased husband. The Ozawa case, 1922, 260 U.S. 178, 43 S.Ct. 65, 66, 67 L.Ed. 199, went up on a certificate from the 9th Circuit. It was not a Sec. 15 case but an appeal from an order of the U......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
190 cases
  • City of San Jose v. Trump, No. 20-CV-05167-RRC-LHK-EMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • October 22, 2020
    ...118 U.S. 356, 368–69, 6 S.Ct. 1064, 30 L.Ed. 220 (1886) (quoting U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1 ); see Ozawa v. United States , 260 U.S. 178, 192–93, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67 L.Ed. 199 (1922) (explaining that, as of 1886, naturalization was confined to white persons and persons of African descent). Th......
  • Costello v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, No. 83
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 17, 1964
    ...92 L.Ed. 1849; United States v. American Trucking Assns., 310 U.S. 534, 543, 60 S.Ct. 1059, 1063, 84 L.Ed. 1345; Ozawa v. United States, 260 U.S. 178, 194, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67, 67 L.Ed. 199. 2. Marcello v. Bonds, 349 U.S. 302, 75 S.Ct. 757, 99 L.Ed. 1107; Galvan v. Press, 347 U.S. 522, 74 S.Ct.......
  • Arenas v. United States, No. 12356.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • February 19, 1951
    ...avoid absurd results or even unreasonable ones "at variance with the policy of the legislation as a whole". Ozawa v. United States, 1922, 260 U.S. 178, 194, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67, 67 L.Ed. 199. And see, United States v. Katz, 1926, 271 U.S. 354, 359, 46 S.Ct. 513, 70 L.Ed. 986; Haggar Company v. ......
  • Glenn v. United States, No. 16031.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 30, 1955
    ...* * leads to an unreasonable result plainly at variance with the policy of the legislation as a whole." See: Ozawa v. United States, 1922, 260 U.S. 178, 194, 43 S.Ct. 65, 67, 67 L.Ed. 199; Chatwin v. United States, 1946, 326 U.S. 455, 464, 66 S.Ct. 233, 90 L.Ed. 198, or whether a certain wo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • REJECTING CITIZENSHIP.
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 Nbr. 6, April 2022
    • April 1, 2022
    ...those of color. See, e.g., Devon W. Carbado, Yellow by Law, 97 CALIF. L. REV. 633, 635-37 (2009) (examining Ozawa v. United States, 260 U.S. 178 (1922), and United States v. Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923), in which the Supreme Court denied citizenship claims by Japanese and South Asian immigran......

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