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It is a privilege of a citizen of the United States, of his own volition, instantly to transfer his citizenship from one State to another. Morris v. Gilmer, 129 U. S. 315; Slaughter House Cases, supra. Unlike citizenship of the United States, (in the case of a foreign born person,) no "declaration of intention" is required.
The Federal privilege of state citizenship acquired by plaintiff in error on his removal into Maryland was clearly abridged by the statute here assailed, which operates only against persons, after their removal into the State of Maryland, when, by force of the Constitution of the United States, many such persons immediately on removal become residents of the State of Maryland. The statute dates the residence and citizenship from the time of the making of the declaration of intention required by the statute, thus in effect annulling the residence and citizenship acquired by force of the Constitution of the United States, and compelling the acceptance of citizenship under the state law. Further, the requirement of attendance at the county seat to make the declaration in question-no matter how far removed from the residence of the would-be-voter, or how great may be the pecuniary injury sustained by loss of time and money, outlay for railroad fares, etc.—is an oppressive and onerous burden, not imposed upon other citizens of the State. It deters and hinders citizens from establishing and exercising such right. See No. 61 of The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, p. 281. The statute necessarily abridges the Federal right and privilege, and is therefore unconstitutional. Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 36; Henderson v. Mayor, 92 U. S. 268; Vance v. W. A. Vandercook Co., 170 U. S. 438; Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U. S. 558.
The declaration of intention required by the Maryland law is a condition and qualification for the acquisition of the right to vote, and not a mere rule of proof. § 2165, Rev. Stat.; Vance v. W. A. Vandercook Co., 170 U. S. 438, 455; Sinnot v. Davenport, 22 How. 227, 241
It is immaterial to the right of the plaintiff in error to claim
the benefit of the Federal privilege that the statute was enacted before his removal into the State. Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U. S. 207, and cases cited.
On the transfer of residence from one State to another a citizen of the United States is vested "with the same rights as other citizens of that State." Slaughter House Cases, supra. This necessarily includes the right not to be arbitrarily discriminated against in the acquisition and enjoyment of political rights, because of his removal from another State. The statute may, therefore, properly be held also to be repugnant to the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States. Blake v. McClung, 172 U. S. 249.
Mr. John Prentiss Poe, with whom Mr. Bowie F. Waters was on the brief, for defendant in error:
So far as the act is claimed to be contrary to the constitution of the State the question is finally set at rest by the decision of the Court of Appeals and that question is not subject to review by this court.
It has long been an established doctrine of this court that the construction by the courts of the several States of their constitution and laws is binding upon this court in all cases except where a Federal question is involved. Guthrie on 14th Amendment, 44; Brannon on 14th Amendment, 395, 419; Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wall. 66; Louisiana v. Pilsbury, 105 U. 8. 294; Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U. S. 582; Forsyth v. Hammond, 166 U. S. 519, and cases cited.
The writ of error should be dismissed because it is no longer within the power of the defendants to register the plaintiff, as the registration books are not now and never will or can be in their possession or custody or subject to their control. Maryland Code, Art. 33, §§ 29, 30. The case is now a moot case. Mills v. Green, 159 U. S. 653; Schilling v. Summerson, 94 Maryland, 582, 591.
The act does not affect or impair any fundamental and
inalienable rights "of the plaintiff as a citizen of the United States secured or guaranteed to him by that Amendment." Residence in its legal sense is made up of two distinct elements: first, the physical, tangible fact of removal into the State; and second, the quo animo or intent with which such removal is made. Mitchell v. United States, 21 Wall. 350.
As to how to prove that a resident is entitled to vote, see Fenwick v. State, 63 Maryland, 241; Fisk v. Chester, 8 Gray, 508; Cooley's Const. Law (7th ed. 1903), 524; 11 Am. & Eng. Ency. of Law (2d ed.), title Evidence, page 550, and cases there cited; 6 Am. & Eng. Ency. of Law (2d ed.), title Constitutional Law, page 950, and cases there cited.
The Court of Appeals have decided in several cases that legislation of this sort relating to persons abandoning their homes in Maryland and removing from the State into other States, is constitutional and valid. Act of 1890, ch. 573, sec. 14; Act of 1901, ch. 2; Code, Art. 33, title Elections, § 25a; Shaeffer v. Gilbert, 73 Maryland, 70, 72; Southerland v. Norris, 74 Maryland, 326; Sterling v. Horner, 74 Maryland, 573; McLane v. Hobbs, 74 Maryland, 166; Bowling v. Turner, 78 Maryland, 595; Thomas v. Warner, 83 Maryland, 20; Howard v. Skinner, 87 Maryland, 559.
By their judgment in the present case they have decided that this section 25в is nothing but a lawful regulation of the evidence necessary to prove what constitutes "residence."
Citizenship and suffrage are by no means inseparable; the latter is not one of the universal, fundamental, inalienable rights with which men are endowed by their Creator, but is altogether conventional. Suffrage is not a right of property or absolute personal right. Anderson v. Baker, 23 Maryland, 531, 629; Cooley's Principles of Constitutional Law, 276; Gougar v. Timberlake, 148 Indiana, 38; Black's Constitutional Law, 466; Story on Constitution, § 581; Kinneen v. Wells, 144 Massachusetts, 497; Stone v. Smith, 159 Massachusetts, 413; 16 Alb. Law J. 272; United States v. Susan B. Anthony, 11 Blatch. C. C, 202; Van Valkenburg v. Brown, 43 California, 43;
Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 178; United States v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214; United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542.
Since the Fifteenth Amendment the whole control over suffrage and the power to regulate its exercise is still left with and retained by the several States, with the single restriction that they must not deny or abridge it on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 636, 644; James v. Bowman, 190 U. S. 127.
There are, it is true, the two provisions, first, that while "the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof, the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations except as to the places of choosing Senators." Constitution, Art. I, sec. 4; Ex parte Siebold, 100 U. S. 371; Ex parte Clarke, 100 U. S. 399; Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U. S. 651; In re Coy, 127 U. S. 731; Logan v. United States, 144 U. S. 263.
As 25в does not conflict with the Fifteenth Amendment but in express terms applies to "all persons," it does not impair, abridge, affect, or even touch any privilege or immunity of the plaintiff in error which is covered by the guaranty of the Fourteenth Amendment. Williams v. Mississippi, 170 U. 8. 213; Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U. S. 582; Giles v. Harris, 189 U. S. 475; James v. Bowman, 190 U. S. 127. And see also Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393; Ward v. Maryland, 12 Wall. 418; Neale v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370; Amy v. Smith, 1 Litt. (Ky.) 326; Lanz v. Randall, 4 Dill. 425; Short v. State, 80 Maryland, 401.
The protection designed by the clause of the Fourteenth Amendment declaring that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, as has been repeatedly held, has no application to a citizen of the State whose laws are complained of. Bradwell v. State, 16 Wall. 130; In re Taylor, 48 Maryland, 28; In re Maddox, 93 Maryland, 728, 729.
As to the privileges and immunities belonging to the citi
zens of a State, these "must rest for their security and protection where they have heretofore rested," that is, with the State in which the citizen resides. Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wall. 74; Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 266; Short v. State, 80 Maryland, 401.
By removing into Maryland the plaintiff became a citizen of that State and voluntarily subjected himself to the operation of her laws. Why then shall he not be bound by them?
As to equal protection of the laws the equality extends only to civil rights as distinguished from those that are political or arise from the form of the government and its mode of administration. Field, J., Ex parte Virginia, 100 U. S. 637. Equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 369.
The clause is not violated by any diversity in the jurisdiction in the several courts as to subject matter, amount or finality of decision, if all persons within the territorial limits of their respective jurisdictions have an equal right in like cases and under like circumstances to resort to them for redress. Missouri v. Lewis, 101 U. S. 30; Wurts v. Hoagland, 114 U. S. 615. Class legislation discriminating against some and favoring others is prohibited, but legislation, which in carrying out a public purpose is limited in its application if within the sphere of its operation it affects alike all persons similarly situated, is not within the Amendment. Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 134; Chicago R. R. Co. v. Iowa, 94 U. S. 163; Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U. S. 27, 32; Soon Ling v. Crowley, 113 U. S. 703; Missouri Pacific R. R. Co. v. Humes, 115 U. S. 523; Kentucky R. R. Tax Case, 115 U. S. 337; Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 266; Hayes v. Missouri, 120 U. S. 71; Dow v. Biedelman, 125 U. S. 691; Missouri R. R. Co. v. Mackey, 127 U. S. 209; Powell v. Pennsylvania, 127 U. S. 687; Walston v. Nevin, 128 U. S. 582; Minnesota R. R. Co. v. Beckwith, 129 U. S. 29; Home Ins. Co. v. New York, 134 U. S. 606; Marchant v. Pennsylvania R. W., 153 U. S. 389; St. L. & San Fran. Ry. v. Mathews, 165 U. S. 24; Gulf, C. & S. F. R. W. v. Ellis, 165 U. S. 155; Orient Ins.