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Crosse v. Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore City

Decided: July 1, 1966.

CROSSE
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS OF BALTIMORE CITY



Appeal from the Superior Court of Baltimore City; Sodaro, J.

Hammond, Horney, Marbury, Oppenheimer and Barnes, JJ. Oppenheimer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Oppenheimer

After argument, by per curiam order, we reversed the order of the Superior Court of Baltimore City which denied the appellant's petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore City to accept and certify his candidacy for Sheriff of Baltimore City, and ordered that the mandate directing the writ of mandamus prayed for below be issued forthwith. The reasons for our order follow.

The question involved is whether the appellant is qualified to become a candidate under the provisions of Article IV Section 44 of the Maryland Constitution. The material provisions of that Section are as follows:

"There shall be elected in each county and in Baltimore City * * * one person, resident in said county, or City, above the age of twenty-five years and at least five years preceding his election, a citizen of the State, to the office of Sheriff."

The facts are not in dispute. The appellant was born in the West Indies and immigrated to the United States in June of 1957. He and his family established their residence in Crisfield, Maryland. Upon reaching his eighteenth birthday, and upon signing his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen

of the United States under the federal Naturalization law, he enlisted in the United States Army, served for approximately three years and was given an honorable discharge in 1960. He established his residence in Salisbury, Maryland, and matriculated at the Maryland State College from which he was graduated in 1964. He then entered the University of Maryland Law School and has successfully completed his first year. In May of 1964 he established his home in Baltimore City, where he has since resided. On April 29, 1966, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and a registered voter of the State of Maryland. On May 26, 1966, the appellant filed his candidacy for the office of Sheriff of Baltimore City with the Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore City. His Certificate of Nomination was notarized and accepted, as was his filing fee of $150. He received the usual material given to all candidates who file for public office. On June 4, 1966, he received a letter from the Board advising him that he did not qualify as a candidate for the office of Sheriff because he did not become a citizen of the United States until April 29, 1966, and that under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution he did not become a citizen of the State of Maryland until that date. The Board acted on the advice of its counsel, the Attorney General of Maryland, and returned the application to the appellant together with the filing fee.

The court below held and the Board contends that the appellant did not become a citizen of Maryland, under the provisions of the Maryland Constitution, until he became a citizen of the United States, and is therefore ineligible to be Sheriff of Baltimore City because he was not a United States citizen at least five years preceding the election. We disagree.

Both before and after the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, it has not been necessary for a person to be a citizen of the United States in order to be a citizen of his state. United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 549 (1875); Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36, 73-74 (1873); and see Short v. State, 80 Md. 392, 401-02, 31 Atl. 322 (1895). See also Spear, State Citizenship, 16 Albany L.J. 24 (1877). Citizenship of the United States is defined by the Fourteenth Amendment and federal statutes, but the requirements for citizenship

of a state generally depend not upon definition but the constitutional or statutory context in which the term is used. Risewick v. Davis, 19 Md. 82, 93 (1862); Halaby v. Board of Directors of University of Cincinnati, 162 Ohio St. 290, 293, 123 N. E. 2d 3 (1954) and authorities therein cited.

The decisions illustrate the diversity of the term's usage. In Field v. Adreon, 7 Md. 209 (1854), our predecessors held that an unnaturalized foreigner, residing and doing business in this State, was a citizen of Maryland within the meaning of the attachment laws. The Court held that the absconding debtor was a citizen of the State for commercial or business purposes, although not necessarily for political purposes. Dorsey v. Kyle, 30 Md. 512, 518 (1869), is to the same effect. Judge Alvey, for the Court, said in that case, that "the term citizen, used in the formula of the ...


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