Appellee, a native of Canada, filed his petition for naturalization. In his application he stated that he understood the principles of the government of the United States and was willing to take the prescribed oath of allegiance to this country. To the question in the application "If necessary are you willing to take up arms in defense of this country?" he replied, "No, (non-combatant) Seventh Day Adventist." He explained this answer before the examiner by saying, "It is a purely religious matter with me, I have no political or personal reasons. other than that." The district court admitted him to citizenship but this order was reversed by the circuit court of appeals relying on the Supreme Court's construction of the naturalization oath in former cases. On petition for writ of certiorari the case came before the Supreme Court. Held, reversed. The Supreme Court erred in its former construction of the naturalization oath. The Naturalization Act of 1940, by re-enacting the oath of allegiance in its pre-existing form, did not thereby adopt the Supreme Court's prior construction of it. Also, the Second War Powers Act of 1942 granting special naturalization privileges to those who served honorably in the armed forces but who were prevented from bearing arms by their religious scruples was affirmative recognition by Congress "that one could be attached to the principles of our government and could support and defend it even though his religious convictions prevented him from bearing arms." Girouard v. United States, (U.S. 1946) 66 S.Ct. 826.
George Brody S.Ed.,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol45/iss2/17