8 U.S.C. 1409 governs the acquisition of US citizenship to persons born to unwed parents when one parent is a US citizen and the other is not.
If the mother is a US citizen, the child is automatically a citizen.
If the father is a US citizen, the father must take an affirmative step to make the child a citizen.
SCOTUS held constitutional.
Do gender classifications benefitting women because of biological differences between men and women violate equal protection?
Gender classifications benefitting women because of biological differences between men and women do not violate equal protection.
First possible interest is the importance of assuring that a biological parent-child relationship exists.
In the case of a mother, the relation is verifiable from the birth itself.
In the case of a father, the father need not be present at the birth.
Thus, mothers and fathers are not similarly situated with regard to the proof of biological parenthood.
Given that proof of motherhood is inherent in the birth itself, it is unremarkable that Congress did not require the same affirmative steps of mothers.
Second possible interest is the determination to ensure that the child and the citizen parent have some demonstrated opportunity or potential to develop not just a relationship that is recognized by the law but one that consists of real, everyday ties that provide a connection between child and citizen parent and the US.
In the case of a mother, the opportunity occurs at the moment of birth since the mother is present.
In the case of a father, this some opportunity does not necessarily result since the father does not necessarily have to be present at birth; it is not always certain that a father will know that a child was conceived.
The statute takes the unremarkable step of ensuring that such an opportunity, inherent in the event of birth as to the mother-child relationship, exists between father and child before citizenship is conferred on the latter.
The difference here does not result from some stereotype.
There is nothing irrational or improper in the recognition that at the moment of birth, the mother's knowledge of the child and the fact of parenthood have been established in a way not guaranteed in the case of the unwed father.
The distinction is not marked by misconception and prejudice, nor does it show disrespect for either class.
Court does not appear to be using heightened scrutiny, looks like rational basis.
The Court fails to look into the actual purposes of the statute.
The fit between the ends and means is far too attenuated to survive heightened scrutiny.
For the proof purpose, the fit is inappropriate.
DNA testing can prove the parental relationship to a certainty.
For the opportunity to love America purpose, this is not necessarily an important gov't interest.
By stating that the purpose is to ensure the opportunity, and not the actual tie, this dilutes the gov't interest greatly.
If the purpose was the actual tie, there would be a fit issue.
There is no reason other than stereotype to say that fathers who are present at birth lack an opportunity for a relationship on similar terms as mothers.
The physical differences between men and women do not justify this statute.
Statute benefits women based upon biological differences, found constitutional.