A landmark of the law of naturalization in the United States, established by the Supreme Court after a tortuous course of decision, has now found legislative confirmation in a provision in the Internal Security Act of 1950.
The oath of petitioners for naturalization provided for in §4 (3) of the Act of 1906 required a declaration of willingness “to support the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same”; and the Act provided that the naturalization court must be satisfied that during his residence the petitioner has behaved as a man “attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.”
For some years the question was put to petitioners, “If necessary, are you willing to take up arms in defense of this country?” A negative answer to this question led to a denial of the petition in U. S. v. Schwimmer (1929), 279 U. S. 644. This was followed in U. S. v. Macintosh (1931), 283 U. S. 589, and U. S. v. Bland (1931), 283 U. S. 636. Despite these decisions, no change was made in the required oath when the Nationality Act was revised in 1940. Yet the three earlier decisions were overruled in U. S. v. Girouard (1946), 328 U. S. 61, on the ground that the required oath might properly be taken by a person unwilling on religious grounds to bear arms.