Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Fast Forward

Citing Her Own Work, Ginsburg Strikes Down Discriminatory Citizenship Law

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited her own work from her time as a civil rights lawyer as ruled on Monday that laws that treat unwed fathers and mothers differently when granting citizenship to children born abroad are unconstitutional.

Under current law, children of American mothers and non-U.S. fathers could become citizens as long as their mother lived in the U.S. for one year, but in the reverse scenario, the American father must have lived in the States for at least 10 years, five of which past age 14.

Ginsburg wrote in her opinion, which was joined by five other justices, that different requirements for different genders “date from an era when the lawbooks of our Nation were rife with overbroad generalizations about the way men and women are.”

The Washington Post noted that Ginsburg “cited a long list of cases she had a hand in — either as a lawyer arguing before the court or as a justice — striking laws that treated men and women differently in, for instance, receiving Social Security survivor benefits or being admitted to the Virginia Military Academy.”

Contact Jesse Bernstein at [email protected] or on Twitter @__jbernstein


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.