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Ackermann v. United States

United States Supreme Court
340 U.S. 193 (1950)


Hans Ackermann (defendant) and his wife, Frieda, emigrated from Germany to the United States and were naturalized in 1938. Frieda’s brother, Max Keilbar, also emigrated from Germany and became naturalized in 1933. In 1942, the United States (plaintiff) sought to cancel the naturalization of Ackermann, Frieda, and Kielbar, alleging fraud. Their three cases were consolidated, and judgments canceling their naturalizations were entered against each of them on December 7, 1943. Keilbar appealed and prevailed. The Ackermanns did not appeal. Subsequently, Ackermann filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, seeking to set aside the judgment canceling his naturalization. In his motion, Ackermann alleged that he had not appealed earlier, because he was unable to afford the $5,000.00 transcription and printing costs for the appeal. According to Ackermann, his lawyer at the time advised him that, in order to appeal, he would need to sell his home. Ackermann had also sought the advice of W.F. Kelley, the Assistant Commissioner for Alien Control at the Immigration and Naturalization Department. Kelley had advised Ackermann not to sell his home. Based on Kelley’s advice, Ackermann decided not to appeal. The district court denied Ackermann’s motion to set aside the judgment. The court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Minton, J.)

Dissent (Black, J.)

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