A March 2010 article in the New York Times reports on a Supreme Court decision to hear a case regarding whether mothers and fathers can be treated differently in deciding whether their children can claim American citizenship. The case will involve the question of whether differing treatments for parents violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
“Mr. Flores-Villar argued that the differing treatments violated equal protection principles. The Supreme Court has said that sex-based classifications are permissible only if they serve important governmental goals and are substantially related to achieving those goals. In 2001, the Supreme Court upheld a law that imposed differing requirements in a similar situation. In that case, Nguyen v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a closely divided court said that American fathers of children born out of wedlock abroad had to get a court order establishing paternity or swear to it under oath for their children to obtain American citizenship. American mothers were not subject to that requirement.”