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Eureka: Technicalities of the American legal system
by Jay Gutman
2018-08-28 07:21:47
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French citizenship law is complicated, and a lot of Algerians have asked me if they were eligible for French citizenship. Since the 1990s recessions, a lot of Algerians have been digging their closets for any document that proves that one of their ancestors had a French passport or other evidence of French citizenship.

A lot of them would give me documents dating from 1919, 1932 or 1947 stating that their grandfather, great-grandfather or great-grand uncle was a French citizen. They get all excited at their prospects of getting French citizenship.

usleg01The truth is, for Algerians, there are two ways of getting French citizenship. If your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother was born in France after July 3, 1962, in metropolitan France or in French territory, you are eligible for French citizenship by inheritance. Because the law states that anyone born in French territory to a person born in French territory after July 3, 1962 is eligible for French citizenship, unless the person born on French territory had parents who were diplomats. That is, an Algerian born in France after July 3, 1962 to a parent born in French Algeria is eligible for French citizenship. This means that if your grandfather was born in French Algeria on July 2, 1962 to a grandfather born in French Algeria in 1921 is NOT eligible for French citizenship. An Algerian father born in Lyon, France on July 6, 1962 to a parent born in Algeria is eligible for French citizenship.

As to those passports dated from 1911, to be eligible for French citizenship, you ancestors need proof of French citizenship with documents dated AFTER July 3, 1965. That is if your ancestor has a French passport dated from 1967, 1969, 1977 you are eligible for French citizenship by inheritance.

Now to the technicalities of the American legal system. I'll talk about abortion, gay marriage and gerrymandering very briefly and somewhat vaguely.

For Roe vs. Wade to be overturned, you would need the following. You would need an individual or a group to sue an abortion clinic at the state level. Either for owning the clinic or for practicing abortions. The state court will hear the case, and will often decide that abortion is legal. If you have an activist jury on the state court, they might decide the abortion is illegal. Depending on the state, that would mean you would need 12 jurors to agree that abortion is illegal.

Now the abortion clinic will probably appeal the decision and the trial will move to a state appellate court. The state appellate court would review the decision and maintain the lower court's decision or reverse it. If it maintains the decision the decision will go to a state supreme court, then to a federal court of appeals, then to the US Supreme Court. By the time Roe vs.; Wade gets overturned by the Supreme Court, we're looking at 10 or more years and a lot of strange behavior from state and court of appeals judges.

Same goes for gay marriage. You would need an individual or a group of people to sue the town hall for refusal to perform gay marriage. The the jury would have to side with the town hall that refused to perform the gay marriage. Then the gay couple will appeal to the state court of appeals, then to the state supreme court, then to the federal court of appeals, then to the Supreme Court. Again, you would need a lot of time, and a lot of activist behavior from judges and juries to reverse gay marriage.

As for gerrymandering, violation of federal electoral laws tends to go to federal courts. This means hearings on gerrymandering cases will be far quicker, undergo less bureaucracy, and will reach the Supreme Court faster. And that would be a lot of court proceedings to review before taking a final decision.

The reason I'm writing this is because a lot of people think that appointing so and so judge or justice to the Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade or gay marriage or other laws. It takes a lot more time, and the procedures are long. Legal rumors are always fun to watch. There's a big gap between the actual procedures, and what the press or random people think. 

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