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Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

365 U.S. 265

Costello  v.  United States (365 U.S. 265)

 Argued: Dec. 12, 1960. --- Decided: Feb 20, 1961

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice BLACK concurs, dissenting.

I do not think 'bootlegging' per se would have been a ground for denying naturalization to an alien in the 1920's. If it were, it would be an act of hypocrisy unparalleled in American life. For the 'bootlegger' in those days came into being because of the demand of the great bulk of people in our communities-including lawyers, prosecutors, and judges-for his products. However, that may be, the forms of naturalization in use at the time did not ask for disclosure of all business activities of an applicant or of all sources of income. If that had been asked and if only one source of income were disclosed, then there would be a concealment relevant to our present problem-whether the nondisclosed income was from bootlegging, playing the races, bridge or poker games, or something else. The 'occupation' of an applicant was the question in the form Costello filed. [*] The form of the petition for naturalization did not ask for more; and unless we can say that 'real estate' was not his 'occupation' then we cannot let this denaturalization order stand. The Koslo Realty Corporation actually existed and petitioner was its president. It actually engaged in real estate transactions. The fact that this real estate business was secondary in petitioner's regime did not make it any the less his 'occupation.' Petitioner answered truthfully when he listed 'real estate' as his 'occupation.' He did not answer truthfully if the answer is taken to embrace all his sources of income. But, as I said, the form did not require that complete disclosure; and I would not resolve any ambiguity in favor of the Government. We could not do so and be true to the strict standard exacted from the Government by Schneiderman v. United States, 320 U.S. 118, 122-123, 63 S.Ct. 1333, 1335, 87 L.Ed. 1796.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).