Citizenship is a Term of Municipal Law:

                A Collection of Research Findings


                Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
               Counselor at Law, Federal Witness
                 and Private Attorney General

                        February 11, 1993

     2.   Nature and source.

          Conflict of laws is in reality a part of the subject of
     international  law,  which  is  commonly  divided  into  two
     aspects, public  and private.   Public international law, or
     the law  of nations,  is that  which regulates the political
     intercourse  of   nations  with   each  other8  or  concerns
     questions  of   rights  between  nations,9  whereas  private
     international law,  or  conflict  of  laws,  is  that  which
     regulates the  comity of  states in  giving effect in one to
     the municipal laws of another relating to private persons,10
     or concerns  the rights  of persons within the territory and
     dominion of  one state or nation, by reason of acts, private
     or public,  done within the dominion of another,11 and which
     is based  on the  broad general  principle that  one country
     will respect  and give  effect to the laws of another so far
     as can be done consistently with its own interests.12

          Private international  law  assumes  a  more  important
     aspect in  the United  States than elsewhere, for the reason
     that the  several states,  although united  under  the  same
     sovereign authority  and governed  by the  same laws for all
     national purposes  embraced by the Federal Constitution, are
     otherwise, at  least so  far as private international law is
     concerned, in  the same relation as foreign countries.13 The
     great majority of questions of private international law are
     therefore subject  to the same rules when they arise between
     two states  of the  Union as  when they  arise  between  two
     foreign countries,  and  in  the  ensuing  pages  the  words
     "state," "nation,"  and "country"  are used synonymously and
     interchangeably, there  being no  intention  to  distinguish
     between  the   several  states  of  the  Union  and  foreign
     countries by  the  use  of  varying  terminology.    When  a
     distinction exists, it will be explicitly pointed out.14


      8.  Roche v. Washington, 19 Ind 53.

      9.  Hilton v. Guyot, 159 US 113, 40 L Ed 95, 16 S Ct 139.
          Generally, see 45 Am Jur 2d, International Law.

     10.  Roche v. Washington, 19 Ind 53.

          Conflict of  laws is  called private  international law
          because  it   is  applied   to  adjustment  of  private
          interests, while public international law is applicable
          to the  relations between states.  Garner v. Teamsters,
          Chauffeurs &  Helpers Local  Union, 346 US 485, 98 L Ed
          228, 74 S Ct 161.

     11.  Hilton v. Guyot,  159  US 113, 40 L Ed 95, 16 S Ct 139;
          Union Secur. Co. v. Adams, 33 Wyo 45, 236 P 513, 50 ALR

          In the  sense of  public international law, the several
          states of  the Union  are neither foreign to the United
          States nor  are they foreign to each other, but such is
          not the case in the field of private international law.
          Robinson v. Norato, 71 RI 256, 43 A2d 467, 162 ALR 362.

     12.  Lowndes v. Cooch, 87 Md 478, 39 A 1045.

          Ehrenzweig, Interstate  and International  Conflict  of
          Law:  A Plea for Segregation, 41 Minn L Rev 717 (1957);
          Prebble, Choice  of Law  to Determine  the Validity and
          Effect of  Contracts:   A  Comparison  of  English  and
          American Approaches to the Conflict of Laws, 58 Cornell
          L  Rev   433,  485  (1972);    Scoles,  Interstate  and
          International Distinctions  in Conflict  of Laws in the
          United States,  54 Calif  L Rev 1599 (1966); Stevenson,
          The Relationship of Private International Law to Public
          International Law, 52 Columbia L Rev 561 (1952).

     13.  Hanley v. Donoghue,  116 US 1, 29 L Ed 535, 6 S Ct 242;
          Stewart v. Thomson,  97  Ky 575,  31 SW  133;  Emery v.
          Berry, 28 NH 473.

     14.  The Restatement recognizes that there may be factors in
          a particular international case which call for a result
          different from  that  which  would  be  reached  in  an
          interstate case.   Restatement,  Conflict  of  Laws  2d
          Section 10.

                      [16 Am Jur 2d, Conflict of Laws, Section 2]
                                                 [emphasis added]

          In the United States, each state constitutes a discrete
     and independent  sovereignty, and  consequently the  laws of
     one state  do not  operate of  their own  force in any other
     state.  16 Am Jur J2d, "Conflict of Laws", Section 2.

                     [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, third edition]
                                                 [emphasis added]

     Foreign states.

          Nations which  are outside the United States.  Term may
     also refer to another state;  i.e. a sister state.

          The term  "foreign nations,"  as used in a statement of
     the rule  that the  laws of foreign nations should be proved
     in a certain manner, should be construed to mean all nations
     and states  other than  that in which the action is brought;
     and hence  one state  of the union is foreign to another, in
     the sense of that rule.

                          [Black's Law Dictionary, sixth edition]
                                                 [emphasis added]


          A nation or land, also the people of a nation or state.

          As the  word "country"  is used  in the revenue laws of
     the United  States, it  has always been construed to embrace
     all the  possessions of  a nation, however widely separated,
     which  are   subject  to  the  same  supreme  executive  and
     legislative control.   Stairs  v. Peeslee, (US) 18 How. 521,
     15 L Ed 474, 476.

                     [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, third edition]
                                                 [emphasis added]


          It is  a term  of municipal  law,34 and carries with it
     the idea  of connection or identification with the state and
     a participation  in its  functions, and as such implies much
     more than residence.35


     34.  Roa v. Collector of Customs, 23 Philippine 315, 332

     35.  Harding v. Standard Oil Co., 182 Fed. 421

                                [11 C.J. 775-776, emphasis added]


          But  a  state  and  the  federal  government  each  has
     citizens of  its own, and the same person may be at the same
     time a  citizen of  the United  States and  a citizen  of  a
     state.   The government  of the  United States  can  neither
     grant nor  secure to its citizens rights or privileges which
     are  not  expressly  or  by  implication  placed  under  its
     jurisdiction.   All that cannot be so granted or secured are
     left to  the exclusive  protection of  the states.   U.S. v.
     Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 23 L Ed 588

                         [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition]
                                                 [emphasis added]


          Citizenship in  the United  States  is  distinguishable
     from citizenship in a state.

                                 [11 C.J. page 776, footnote 38a]

          Domicile and  citizen are synonymous in federal courts.
     Earley v. Hershey Transit Co., D.C. Pa., 55 F Supp 981, 982.

                         [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition]


          A person  who owes  allegiance to a foreign government.
     De Cano v. State, 7 Wash. 2d 613, 110 P.2d 627, 631, 633.

                         [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition]
                                                 [emphasis added]

     Nonresident alien.

          [not defined]

                         [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition]

     ...  [I]t   has  been   held  or   recognized  that   "state
     citizenship" and "domicile" are substantially synonymous.68


     68.  U.S. -- Baker v. Keck, D.C. Ill., 13 F.Supp. 486

                         [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition]

          When a  person establishes  a foreign domicile he loses
     state citizenship.95


     95.  Okl. -- Suglove v. Oklahoma Tax Commission, Oklahoma,
          605 P.2d 1315
                                         [14 C.J.S. 29, page 451]
                                                 [emphasis added]

     Nonresident Alien.

          An alien  who does  not reside  within the  state.  See
     Estate of Gill, 79 Iowa 296, 9 LRA 126, 44 N.W. Rep. 553

                    [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, second edition]

     Nonresident Alien.

          One who  is neither  a resident  nor a  citizen of  the
     United States.   Citizenship is determined under the federal
     immigration and naturalization laws (U.S. Code Title 8).

                     [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, third edition]

     United States citizen.

          The antithesis  of alien.  A person born or naturalized
     in  the  United  States  and  subject  to  the  jurisdiction

                     [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, third edition]

     ... [T]he term "citizen," in the United States, is analogous
     to the  term "subject"  in the  common law31;  the change of
     phrase has resulted from the change of government.32


     31.  N.C. -- State v. Manuel, 122 N.C. 122

     32.  N.C. -- State v. Manuel, 20 N.C. 122

                                          [14 C.J.S. 4, page 430]
                                                 [emphasis added]

     Inland and Foreign Bills.

     ... the  NIL declares  that an  inland bill of exchange is a
     bill which is, or on its face purports to be, both drawn and
     payable within  "the state."   Any  other bill  is a foreign

             [11 Am Jur 2d, Inland and Foreign Bills, Section 20]
                                                 [emphasis added]

     IRS Forms 1040 are foreign bills of exchange.

                        [Paul Andrew Mitchell, February 11, 1993]

          No court is to be charged with the knowledge of foreign
     laws;   but they are well understood to be facts which must,
     like other facts, be proved before they can be received in a
     court of  justice.   [cites omitted]   It  is  equally  well
     settled that  the several  states of  the Union  are  to  be
     considered as  in this  respect foreign  to each  other, and
     that the  courts of  one state are not presumed to know, and
     therefore not  bound to take judicial notice of, the laws of
     another state.   In  Buckner v. Finley, 2 Pet. 586, in which
     it was  held that  bills of  exchange drawn  in one  of  the
     states or  persons living  in another were foreign bills, it
     was said by Mr. Justice Washington, delivering the unanimous
     opinion of this court:

          "For all  national purposes  embraced  by  the  federal
     constitution the  states and  the citizens  thereof are one,
     united under  the same  sovereign authority, and governed by
     the same  laws.   In  all  other  respects  the  states  are
     necessarily foreign to and independent of each other;  their
     constitutions  and   forms  of  government  being,  although
     republican, altogether  different, as  are  their  laws  and

                    [Hanley v. Donoghue, 116 U.S. 1, 29 L Ed 535]
                         [6 S Ct 242, 244 (1885), emphasis added]

          ... [T]he  body of  learning we  call conflict  of laws
     elsewhere is  called private international law because it is
     applied to  adjustment of  private interests,  while  public
     international law  is applicable  to the  relations  between

          [Garner v. Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Local Union]
                     [346 US 485, 495; 98 L Ed 228;  74 S Ct 161]


     16.  Goodrich, Conflict of Laws (3rd Ed. 1949),
          Sections 1, 5

          Cheshire, Private International Law (4th Ed. 1952),
          Section 16

                             #  #  #

Return to Table of Contents for

General Resources