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Case Name Gorbach v. Reno IM-WA-0008
Docket / Court CASE NO. C98-278R ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
On March 5, 1998, a group of naturalized U.S. citizens who had been served with a notice of intent to revoke naturalization (NOIR) by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) brought suit in the United State District Court for the Western District of Washington, challenging the validity ... read more >
On March 5, 1998, a group of naturalized U.S. citizens who had been served with a notice of intent to revoke naturalization (NOIR) by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) brought suit in the United State District Court for the Western District of Washington, challenging the validity of administrative denaturalization proceedings conducted under INS regulation 8 C.F.R. § 340.1. Before the INS implemented this regulation, the Attorney General alone conducted denaturalization proceedings in the federal district courts. The Attorney General then delegated that power to the INS which issued the regulation in question. Plaintiffs, who were represented by attorneys with the National Immigration Law Center and private firms, alleged that the regulation violated due process, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq., and the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et. seq. They sought a preliminary injunction to stop denaturalization proceedings under the regulation and requested nationwide class certification.

The government responded by moving to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

On July 9, 1998, the District Court (Judge Barbara J. Rothstein) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction and ordered the INS to stop conducting denaturalization proceedings pursuant to regulation. The Court also adopted the report and recommendation of Magistrate Judge David E. Wilson to certify the case as a class action. Gorbach v. Reno, 181 F.R.D. 642, 42 Fed.R.Serv.3d 507 (W.D.Wash. Aug 07, 1998). The government appealed.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the injunction, finding that the Attorney General had the authority to delegate to the INS the authority to conduct denaturalization proceedings. Gorbach v. Reno, 179 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir.1999). Plaintiffs' petition for rehearing en banc was granted and the opinion of the three-judge panel was withdrawn. Gorbach v. Reno, 192 F.3d 1329 (9th Cir. 1999).

On rehearing, the Ninth Circuit en banc affirmed the district court's injunction, holding that there was no statutory authority for the INS to revoke a person's citizenship administratively. Only the Attorney General could seek to do so by filing a petition in a United States District Court. Gorbach v. Reno, 219 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2000).

On remand, the District Court (Judge Rothstein) granted plaintiffs' motion to make the injunction permanent, by order dated February 14, 2001. The Court declined to award attorney fees and costs to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs appealed the fee order, but subsequently dismissed their appeal.

We have no further information on the case.

Brian Ponton - 08/22/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
U.S. citizenship - losing
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) The Office of the Attorney General
Plaintiff Description A group of 10 Naturalized American citizens
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 1998
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
(U.S. Court of Appeals)
IM-WA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/04/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
98-CV-00278 (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0008-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion (1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11850) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0008-0006.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/17/1998
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion (181 F.R.D. 642) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/10/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (179 F.3d 1111)
IM-WA-0008-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/04/1999
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (219 F.3d 1087)
IM-WA-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/20/2000
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (2001 WL 34145464) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0008-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/14/2001
Judges Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (D. Alaska, Ninth Circuit)
IM-WA-0008-0001 | IM-WA-0008-0002
Rothstein, Barbara Jacobs (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Rymer, Pamela Ann (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
Wilson, David E. (W.D. Wash.)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abram, Jonathan L. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Andrade, Vibiana (California)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Bradford, William A. Jr. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Burman, David J. (Washington)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Flam, Cori F. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Franklin, Jonathan S. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0001 | IM-WA-0008-0002 | IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Gibbs, Robert H. (Washington)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Levy, Daniel (California)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Maher, Patricia (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0001 | IM-WA-0008-9000
Meissner, Doris M (District of Columbia)
Pickrell, Christopher Lee (Washington)
IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-0005 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001
Slack, Michelle R. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0008-0001 | IM-WA-0008-0002 | IM-WA-0008-0003 | IM-WA-0008-9000 | IM-WA-0008-9001

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