Bachmann Renounces Swiss Nationality (Dual Citizenship is Still Here to Stay)

by Peter Spiro

Michele Bachmann couldn’t take a little bit of heat from a few restrictionists on the Right and has renounced her Swiss citizenship, apparently pursuant to article 42 of the Swiss nationality law.

It wasn’t clear that Republicans had such a big problem with her keeping it. Check out the comments to Mark Krikorian’s “Swiss Miss” column over at National Review Online, in which he accused Bachmann of “civic bigamy.”  Seems like a high level of dissent among the faithful.  First, there is a sort of libertarian argument that the (U.S.) government shouldn’t be able to dictate a person’s association with other states.  This resonates with an argument I’ve made that the maintenance of dual citizenship is protectable on a free association basis (among others).

Second, there’s the wackier riff that a second citizenship is defensible by way of a hedge against left-wing oppression here at home.  From one NRO commenter, this:

. . . she will be ready to head for the hills (no pun intended) should the US implode into massive civil unrest that will see the masses looking for heads like hers to roll in retribution.
The Swiss will be the economic and sane oasis in the ocean of the oncoming European disaster with mountains that make ingress easy to defend.
Remember too that military conscription remains in Switzerland and the military is modelled as a militia system. These soldiers keep their own personal equipment and guns at home.
I suspect her sons should they have taken Swiss citizenship would have to do their basic training at some time.

Bravo, Switzerland, where the Second Amendment can go into exile!

Bachmann’s about-face isn’t going to dampen the exploding incidence of dual citizenship on the ground, however useful a poster-child she would have been for it.

http://opiniojuris.org/2012/05/10/bachmann-renounces-swiss-nationality-dual-citizenship-is-still-here-to-stay/

2 Responses

  1. Is dual-citizenship permissible for congress-folk? That is, is the US citizenship requirement in the Qualifications Clause implicitly exclusive? Are there many precedents for this kind of thing?

  2. Eugene, I don’t see any constitutional bar (though I can’t point to any precedents). 

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