Afroyim (plaintiff) was born in Poland in 1893 and immigrated to the United States in 1912. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1926. In 1950, he travelled to Israel and voted in an election for the Knesset, Israel’s parliamentary body. When he applied for a passport renewal in 1960, it was denied on the basis that he lost his American citizenship through Section 401(e) of the Nationality Act of 1940 when he voted in a foreign election. Afroyim then brought an action against U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk (defendant) in federal district court, seeking a declaratory judgment that Section 401(e) violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower courts held for the government. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.