Monthly Archives: June 2009

“Citizen of the United States”

The following quote is attributed to and apparently reports a dialogue between a litigant and some “insider” (perhaps a federal judge or prosecutor):

“Why are defendants in federal district court always asked if they are ‘citizens of the United States’?”

He replied without hesitation, “So we can determine jurisdiction.  In many cases the federal court does not have jurisdiction over a citizen unless they testify they are a citizen of the United States — meaning a federal citizen under the 14th Amendment.”

I quickly interjected, “What if the individual denied being a citizen of the United States and claimed to be a sovereign citizen of Oklahoma?”  The attorney bowled me over with, “We don’t get jurisdiction.”

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