United States v. Ju Toy Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Ju Toy decision held that the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment does not always require a judicial procedure for denial of benefits, even when a person claims to be a U.S. citizen. Congress, therefore, may authorize an executive department to make the final determination on a person’s claim to citizenship.

When Ju Toy arrived at the port of San Francisco, he claimed to be a U.S. citizen returning from a temporary visit to China. Immigration officials, however, rejected his claim of citizenship and denied him permission to enter the country. The ruling was upheld on administrative appeal by the secretary of commerce and labor. When Toy petitioned the U.S. district court for a writ of habeas corpus, his petition was rejected. In earlier cases, the Supreme Court had upheld a federal law authorizing executive departments to make the final determination concerning the admission of persons affected by the [a]Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882;and U.S. Supreme Court[US Supreme Court]Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, but the Court had never ruled on whether the U.S. Constitution permitted a denial of habeas corpus relief for a person claiming to be a U.S. citizen by birth.[c]United States v. Ju Toy[c]Ju Toy, United States v.[a]Fifth AmendmentJu ToyHabeas corpus;United States v. JuToyDue process protections;and Chinese exclusion[Chinese exclusion][c]United States v. Ju Toy[c]Ju Toy, United States v.[a]Fifth AmendmentJu ToyHabeas corpus;United States v. Ju ToyDue process protections;and Chinese exclusion[Chinese exclusion][cat]COURT CASES;United States v. Ju Toy[cat]EAST ASIAN IMMIGRANTS;United States v. Ju Toy

Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Ju Toy.

(Library of Congress)

By a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the district court’s decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Holmes, Oliver WendellOliver Wendell Holmes referred to a series of precedents holding that judicial proceedings were not necessary in every assertion of legal rights, but that determinations by the executive branch were usually sufficient when mandated by Congress. He defended the procedures used in determining Toy’s status, particularly since it had included an administrative appeal. He suggested, nevertheless, that district courts should grant habeas corpus relief whenever there was good evidence that officers had abused their discretion or committed prejudicial error. In a strong dissent, Justice Brewer, DavidDavid Brewer argued that claims of citizenship should be decided by the courts.[c]United States v. Ju Toy[c]Ju Toy, United States v.[a]Fifth AmendmentJu ToyHabeas corpus;United States v. JuToyDue process protections;and Chinese exclusion[Chinese exclusion]

Further Reading
  • Aleinikoff, Thomas A., et al. Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy. 6th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West, 2008.
  • Hyung-chan, Kim, ed. Asian Americans and the Supreme Court: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Chinese Exclusion Cases

Citizenship

Congress, U.S.

History of immigration after 1891

Supreme Court, U.S.

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