Posted by Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S. on September 11, 1998 at 21:27:26:
"One significant legal disadvantage exists for a
person who is not a citizen of a state. The
Constitution provides that federal courts can
hear 'Controversies ... between Citizens of dif-
ferent States.' The phrase 'Citizens of dif-
ferent States' includes citizens of Puerto Rico,
the Virgin Islands of the United States, and
Guam. Puerto Rico is in the First Circuit,
the Virgin Islands are in the Third Circuit, and
Guam, Alaska, and Hawaii are in the Ninth
Circuit. A person who is not a resident of a
state or designated area, even if he or she is
a U.S. citizen, cannot satisfy the diversity of
citizenship requirement and therefore cannot
bring an action under the diversity clause in a
[Confer at "Citizens" in "West's Encyclopedia
of American Law," St. Paul, Minn., West Publishing
Company (1998), volume 2, pages 336-337]
Paul Andrew Mitchell comments:
This paragraph follows the main line of logic
discussed elsewhere in this forum, under the
"Diversity Clause" heading. The writer above
confuses state Citizens with state residents,
Note how, in the above paragraph, the writer
begins by saying that a significant legal
disadvantage exists for those who are not
state Citizens. Then, later in the same
paragraph, the writer concludes that
"a person who is not a resident of a state ...
cannot bring an action under the diversity
clause in a federal court."
This latter statement is in error, because
residence, or lack of residence, has nothing
whatsoever to do with standing under the
Diversity Clause. It is state Citizenship,
or lack thereof, which controls:
As can be seen from the holding in Alla v.
Kornfeld, discussed elswhere in this forum,
it is the status of state Citizenship which
determines whether, or not, a Party can invoke
the Diversity Clause in federal courts.
Therefore, it would have been more accurate
for the above writer to conclude with the
following statement instead:
"A person who is not a state Citizen, even if
he or she is a U.S. citizen, cannot satisfy
the diversity of citizenship requirement and
therefore cannot bring an action under the
diversity clause in a federal court."
As the court in Alla v. Kornfeld held, this is so
because U.S. citizens (aka "federal citizens")
were not even contemplated when the Diversity
Clause was first enacted into law, and the
Diversity Clause has never been amended.
Remember: Congress cannot by legislation
alter the Constitution. See Eisner v. Macomber.
State Citizenship and state residence are not one
and the same. This much is well established
by courts which have ruled on this point.
Moreover, the 14th amendment's failure to be
ratified proves that there is no constitutional
authority for the proposition that a federal
citizen is necessarily also a Citizen of the
state in which s/he resides. See section 1
of that failed proposal; also Dyett v. Turner
elsewhere in the Supreme Law Library (under
USA v. Knudson); State v. Phillips, Utah
Supreme Court (1975) (citing Dyett v. Turner).
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
Counselor at Law, Private Attorney General
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