Breaking Down Plea to Supreme Court on Citizenship
Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin phrase, which means "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."
And if lady justice is blind--as the saying goes--she was asked to hear on April 11, 2011, when the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was invited before the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia to defend a law, which purports to deprive a person of his or her Liberian citizenship without due process of law.
The challenged provisions, as amended in 1974, call for automatic loss of Liberian citizenship from the moment a Liberian becomes a naturalized citizen of another country, votes in a foreign election, or serves in a foreign military with prior approval from the president.
Having entertained oral argument in this matter, I can now say that consistent with our filed petition, brief, and oral argument, we have asked the Honorable Supreme Court to consider the following issues:
(1) Whether the challenged provisions of Sections 22.1 and 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law, which called for automatic loss of Liberian citizenship without due process of law, were automatically repealed by Article 95(a) of the 1986 Constitution as being in direct conflict with Article 20(a) of the 1986 Constitution; (2) whether the challenged provisions of Sections 22.1 and 22.2, which purport to automatically deprive me of my natural-born Liberian citizenship without a prior hearing and a judgment, violate my constitutional right of due process; (3) whether the citizenship clause of Article 27(a) of the 1986 Constitution prevents the Government from depriving me of my natural-born citizenship; and (4) whether the Government’s arbitrary visa demand, which requires me and other similarly situated Liberians to obtain a nonimmigrant visa before being allowed to enter Liberia, violates my constitutional rights to enter Liberia at anytime, as well as my constitutional right to equal protection under the law.
In the coming week, the filed documents in this case will be available so that we may all have a record of history.
Alvin Teage Jalloh, Esq.