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KAHANE v. SECRETARY OF STATE

December 6, 1988

MEIR KAHANE, Plaintiff,
v.
SECRETARY of STATE and COMMISSIONER, IMMIGRATION and NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

 BARRINGTON D. PARKER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 In this action, plaintiff Meir Kahane, seeks to enjoin officials of the United States Department of State from enforcing a Certificate of Loss of Nationality ("CLN") approved by that agency on October 7, 1988. He also seeks a declaration from this Court that his Oath of Renunciation of his United States citizenship, executed on August 16, 1988, and again on September 16, 1988, was null and void.

 Because of a recently enacted Israeli law which provided that only citizens of Israel could be members of the Knesset, plaintiff renounced his American citizenship. However, a later decision by the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Kahane was ineligible to run for the Knesset. Since his Israel citizenship was no longer politically useful, he sought to revoke his renunciation. When the State Department refused to accept his revocation, plaintiff's counsel filed this civil proceeding seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, in addition to declaratory relief.

 Faced with an impending departure date and travel plans that included consultations with counsel and an extensive speaking tour in the United States, Kahane's counsel filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. After a hearing on October 26, 1988, defendants were temporarily enjoined from preventing plaintiff's entry into the United States and from enforcing the October 7th Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

 The matter is presently before the Court on plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. In addition to opposing plaintiff's motion, the government has filed a motion for summary judgment. At this time the Court will only deal with plaintiff's application for preliminary injunctive relief. After full review and for the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's application is denied.

 I. FACTUAL FINDINGS *fn1"

 Plaintiff Meir Kahane was born in New York, New York on August 1, 1932, and became a United States citizen by virtue of his birth. He is a rabbi, an attorney and a well-known public figure. In 1971, Kahane took up residency in Israel and in 1972 became a citizen of that country pursuant to Israel's "Law of Return." Since he moved to Israel, Kahane has been politically active. He founded the Kach Party in 1973 and has headed its ticket in numerous parliamentary elections.

 It was not until 1984, that the Kach Party received sufficient votes to gain a seat in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After Kahane was officially seated in the Knesset in August 1984, the Department of State determined that he had expatriated himself. A CLN was approved on October 2, 1985, by the Department's Director of the Office of Citizens Consular Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs. Kahane challenged the government's finding that by taking a seat in the Knesset he intended to relinquish his American citizenship and filed a civil proceeding for appropriate relief in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. On cross motions for summary judgment, Judge Israel Leo Glasser held that Kahane was still a citizen of the United States. Kahane v. Shultz, 653 F. Supp. 1486 (E.D.N.Y. 1987). No appeal was taken from Judge Glasser's ruling.

 
I desire to make a formal renunciation of my American nationality, as provided by Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and pursuant thereto I hereby absolutely and entirely, without mental reservation, coercion or duress, renounce my United States nationality together with all rights and privileges and all duties of allegiance and fidelity thereunto pertaining.

 Dx. 1 at 1 (emphasis added). *fn2" This oath was subscribed and sworn to by Kahane in the presence of Catherine Barry, the American Consulate General at Jerusalem. In addition, Kahane signed a "Statement of Understanding" which read in part:

 
I am exercising my right of renunciation freely and voluntarily without any force, compulsion, or undue influence placed upon me by any person . . . . The extremely serious and irrevocable nature of the act of renunciation has been explained to me by Consul Catherine Barry at the American Consulate General at Jerusalem, and I fully understand its consequences.

 Id. at 2. Kahane also submitted a supplemental declaration setting forth reasons for renouncing his citizenship:

 
I must make all steps possible in order tp [sic] relinquish my United States citizenship because if I do not I will not be able to be a candidate for Knesset. Therefore, I am here today . . . to ask that the United States government accept my relinquishing of my U.S. citizenship as I take each and every legal step required by the U.S. government, in compliance with the new Israeli law. . . . I ask the U.S. government to accept my relinquishment of my citizenship in order that I may, under the new Israeli law, run on a Kach Knesset list that is eligible for this year's Israeli elections.

 Id. at 3.

 The American Consulate General in Jerusalem then prepared a CLN for Kahane and forwarded it to Washington, D.C. On September 13, 1988, however, the Department advised the Consulate General that the Oath of Renunciation was not in the precise form prescribed by the Secretary of State. DiPlacido Decl. at paras. 11-12 (Oct. 26, 1988); Dx. 3. Kahane voluntarily went to the United States Consulate in Jerusalem and executed a second "Oath of Renunciation" on September 16, 1988. At the same time, he completed another "Statement of Understanding" which was identical to the first "Statement of Understanding" and contained language regarding Kahane's free and voluntary action of renunciation that was taken "without any force, compulsion, or undue influence." Dx. 2 at 3. Like the previous form, his signed statement set forth the consequences of the renunciation: "Upon renouncing my citizenship I will become an alien with respect to the United States subject to all the laws and procedures of the United States regarding entry and control of aliens." Id. (emphasis added).

 The Department received Kahane's second renunciation on September 21, 1988, and reviewed it "to ensure that all procedural and substantive considerations were complied with" by plaintiff. DiPlacido Decl. at paras. 12-13 (Oct. 26, 1988). A CLN was approved ...


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