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Bernal v. Fainter

United States Supreme Court
467 U.S. 216 (1984)


Facts

Bernal (plaintiff) was a native of Mexico and a resident alien who had lived in the United States for 17 years and worked for a legal aid organization when he applied to the Texas Secretary of State (defendant) to become a notary public. Bernal’s application was denied pursuant to a statute of the state of Texas that required a notary public to be a citizen of the United States. Bernal appealed the decision through an administrative appeal process. After his administrative appeal was denied, Bernal filed suit in the federal district court to challenge the constitutionality of the statutory citizenship requirement. The district court ruled in Bernal’s favor and the Secretary of State appealed. The court of appeals reversed the district court on finding that the statute bore a rational relationship to legitimate state interests. Bernal petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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