MCGRATH V. KRISTENSEN, 340 U. S. 162 (1950)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McGrath v. Kristensen, 340 U.S. 162 (1950)

McGrath v. Kristensen

No. 34

Argued October 19-20, 1950

Decided December 11, 1950

340 U.S. 162


1. A justiciable question under Article III of the Constitution is presented by the suit of an alien for a judgment declaring that, in passing on his application for suspension of deportation under § 19(c) of the Immigration Act, the Attorney General and other immigration and naturalization officials must act on the assumption that he is eligible for naturalization. Pp. 340 U. S. 167-169.

(a) A different result is not required by the provision of § 19(c) that suspensions of deportation for more than six months must be submitted to Congress for approval, since the Attorney General is given final power to suspend deportation for at least six months. Chicago & Southern Air Lines v. Waterman S.S. Corp., 333 U. S. 103, distinguished. Pp. 340 U. S. 167-168.

2. An administrative decision against a requested suspension of deportation under § 19(c) of the Immigration Act (based solely upon a finding of ineligibility for naturalization) can be challenged in a suit for a declaratory judgment by an alien not in custody. Pp. 340 U. S. 168-171.

(a) The provision of § 19(a) of the Immigration Act making the Attorney General's decision on deportation "final" does not preclude judicial review by declaratory judgment of the question of eligibility for citizenship. Pp. 340 U. S. 168-169.

(b) Where an official's authority to act depends upon the status of the person affected, that status, when in dispute, may be determined by a declaratory judgment proceeding after the exhaustion of administrative remedies. Perkins v. Elg, 307 U. S. 325. Pp. 340 U. S. 169-171.

3. Respondent, a Danish citizen, entered the United States on August 17, 1939, as a temporary visitor for 60 days. The outbreak of World War II prevented his return to Denmark. Successive extensions of stay were granted, and deportation proceedings begun in May 1940 were stayed for the duration of World War II and reopened in 1946. On March 30, 1942, he applied for and obtained relief from liability for military service under § 3(a) of the Selective chanrobles.com-red

Page 340 U. S. 163

Training and Service Act of 1940.

Held: respondent was not "residing in the United States" within the meaning of § 3(a) of the Selective Training and Service Act and the regulations issued thereunder when he applied for relief from "liability" for military service, and such application did not make him ineligible for naturalization or for a suspension of deportation under § 19(c) of the Immigration Act. Pp. 340 U. S. 171-176.

86 U.S.App.D.C. 48, 179 F.2d 796, affirmed.

The District Court dismissed respondent's suit for a declaratory judgment and an injunction. The Court of Appeals reversed. 86 U.S.App.D.C. 48, 179 F.2d 796. This Court granted certiorari. 339 U.S. 956. Affirmed, p. 340 U. S. 176.