Sexing Citizenship The Supreme Court should strike down an old citizenship law that discriminates against fathers

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Tomorrow the Supreme Court will consider whether American fathers have the same rights as American mothers to ensure that their children are citizens at birth. Under the 14th Amendment, “all persons born in the United States are … citizens of the United States.” But the status of children born to American parents beyond U.S. borders is less certain. In the case Flores-Villar v. United States, the Justice Department is defending the constitutionality of a law that treats some of these children differently depending on whether their mother or their father is a citizen. The government relies on a speculative reading of the historical record and dismisses clear evidence that such laws perpetuate centuries-old stereotypes regarding men’s and women’s roles as parents. The court should strike down the statute and its sorely out-of-date approach.

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