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Davis Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of International Human Rights Organizations Davis Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of International Human Rights Organizations

Davis10.4.16 — Today, Professor Martha Davis, in cooperation with a pro bono team of lawyers at Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Equality Now, filed an amicus brief on behalf of 10 international human rights organizations, including Equality Now and Human Rights Watch, in the pending US Supreme Court case, Lynch v. Morales-Santana. The case is an equal protection challenge to sex-based classifications in US citizenship law. The brief challenges the federal Immigration and Nationality Act’s sex discriminatory residency requirements for unmarried fathers to transfer their nationality to children born abroad.

“This antiquated law rests on the assumption that women alone have responsibility for, and relationships with, children born outside of marriage.” said Davis, an international human rights expert and author of Bringing Human Rights Home and co-editor of Global Urban Justice: The Rise of Human Rights Cities. "The US women's movement has been fighting against such stereotyped citizenship laws for more than a century," she added.

The amicus brief cites international law provisions on equality and nationality and provides examples of comparable court decisions as well as legislative progress towards equality in citizenship laws in other countries. It also highlights the US role at the United Nations and in its human rights reports in promoting equal rights for women and men to transfer their nationality to their children – which is contradicted by the government’s appeal in this case.

Oral argument before the Supreme Court is scheduled for November 9. Davis will attend along with Ellen Dexter ’18, who assisted Davis in researching the legal issues involved.

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