KNAUFF V. SHAUGHNESSY, 338 U. S. 537 (1950)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 537 (1950)

United States ex Rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy

No. 54

Argued December 5-6, 1949

Decided January 16,1950

338 U.S. 537


The alien wife of a citizen who had served honorably in the armed forces of the United States during World War II sought admission to the United States. On the basis of confidential information, the disclosure of which, in his judgment, would endanger the public security, the Attorney General denied a hearing, found that her admission would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States, and ordered her excluded.

Held: this action was authorized by the Act of June 21, 1941, 22 U.S.C. § 223, and the proclamations and regulations issued thereunder, notwithstanding the War Brides Act of December 28, 1945, 8 U.S.C. § 252 et seq. Pp. 539-547.

(a) The admission of aliens to this country is not a right, but a privilege, which is granted only upon such terms as the United States prescribes. P. 338 U. S. 542.

(b) The Act of June 21, 1941, did not unconstitutionally delegate legislative power to prescribe the conditions under which aliens should be excluded. Pp. 338 U. S. 542-543.

(c) It is not within the province of any court, unless expressly authorized by law, to review the determination of the political branch of Government to exclude a given alien.

Page 338 U. S. 538

(d) Any procedure authorized by Congress for the exclusion of aliens is due process, so far as an alien denied entry is concerned. P. 338 U. S. 544.

(e) The regulations governing the entry of aliens into the United States during the national emergency proclaimed May 27, 1941, which were prescribed by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 2523, were "reasonable" within the meaning of the Act of June 21, 1941. P. 338 U. S. 544.

(f) Presidential Proclamation 2523 authorized the Attorney General, as well as the Secretary of State, to order the exclusion of aliens. P. 338 U. S. 544.

(g) Petitioner, an alien, had no vested right of entry which could be the subject of a prohibition against retroactive operations of regulations affecting her status. P. 338 U. S. 544.

(h) The national emergency proclaimed May 27, 1941, has not been terminated; a state of war still exists; and the Act of June 21, 1941, and the proclamations and regulations thereunder, are still in force. Pp. 338 U. S. 545-546.

(i) A different result is not required by the War Brides Act, which waives some of the usual requirements for the admission of certain alien spouses only if they are "otherwise admissible under the immigration laws." Pp. 338 U. S. 546-547.

173 F.2d 599 affirmed.

The District Court dismissed a writ of habeas corpus obtained to test the right of the Attorney General to exclude from the United States, without a hearing, the alien wife of a citizen who had served honorably in the armed forces during World War II. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 173 F.2d 599. This Court granted certiorari. 336 U.S. 966. Affirmed, p. 338 U. S. 547.

Page 338 U. S. 539

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