[2412.AB] Defining an appeals process in the Citizenship Act

Since there is no appeals process codified into the Citizenship Act, I think now is a good time for us to establish one.

Citizenship Act

An act to establish procedures for managing citizenship eligibility

3. Citizenship Registrations

(5) If a prospective citizen’s application is denied by the Citizenship Committee, the applicant in question may make an appeal through the Assembly, whereafter a simple majority vote will determine the applicant’s citizenship status.

If a person was denied citizenship due to security concerns, would the appeal be sent to the CRS rather then the Assembly?

I have concerns about appealing denials due to security risks, but I would also expand the question out to ask if there shouldn’t be any other exceptions to appealing a denial of citizenship, such as not having a nation in TSP at all.

Why appeal to the CRS when the CRS is the one that makes the decision to deny citizenship? That would be redundant. We, as an institution, have already made such a determination on a citizenship application recently. I don’t think we’d reverse ourselves so quickly.

I just feel like it would be a further security risk to give the decision to the assembly

If that is the case, then we ought to repeal a similar provision in the Legislator Act as it pertains to legislator applications.

Solid idea. Would support repealing that provision.

I think I am going to abandon this legislation and pursue one that tackles the issue of regional security quite differently because I didn’t quite think this one through, to be honest.

Obviously this would be a more difficult solution, but could we make a ethics committee of trusted individuals that makes sure all decisions were made in good faith and followed proper procedure. I believe appeals would be able to fall under them then.

This is quite a difficult solution, because we’re creating another institution if we go down that path.

(Note: my only reference point for appeals for rejections of citizenship is TNP and I will be the first to admit that the institutional setting in our region is certainly quite different)

One possibility is to restrict some discussion on rejection on security grounds to a legislator-only area of the forum, where the CRS can (without bringing to light any overly-sensitive pieces of evidence) communicate why it is of the view that a rejection should be upheld.

I don’t think this piece of legislation is totally hopeless, but I think that a simple majority of the legislature approving an appeal may be too low a threshold. I also wouldn’t agree to adding any more institutions than already exists.

I would also caution against removing the provision for appeal from the Legislator Act, but I can see how such a provision can be abused. Perhaps it can be amended.

There’s lot going on in this thread, so I’m going to take things a bit out of order. Hopefully it all ties together and makes sense in the end.

We already have such an institution, namely the High Court. The Court is comprised of trusted individuals; after all, the Justices are appointed by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the Assembly. The Court is authorized to review all official acts of government for consistency with constitutional law. And the Justices’ life tenure insulates them from political pressure and ensures that they can make independent decisions on the lawfulness of even highly controversial government acts.

More importantly, as aptly explained in Kringle’s brief in the ongoing Siberian case, the Court’s review over citizenship determinations should be (and, in my opinion, is) limited to the types of fundamental errors you suggest, e.g., failure to follow proper procedure or reaching a decision in bad faith. The Court, as a judicial institution, is not authorized or equipped to evaluate the substantive merits of discretionary decisions made by the political and security branches of government. Its review is therefore deferential: It should ensure that those decisions comport with constitutional law, do not violate fundamental rights, and have a rational basis. But it should not substitute its decision for that of the CRS on the merits of the question. Which brings me to the second issue.

I agree with this. To my mind, the primary concern with giving the Assembly authority to review security risks is the standard of review. As an unelected, deliberative body charged with faithfully applying neutral law, it makes sense that the High Court’s authority to review decisions of the CRS and CitComm would be relatively narrow. The latter are expert security institutions exercising discretionary government authority; the High Court simply has no mandate to make those type of decisions in the first instance or review them for normative desirability. But the Assembly is a different matter entirely. The Assembly is a political body, empowered to make law for normative reasons, not simply apply positive law as it stands. And the Assembly can reasonably claim some role in formulating regional security policy. As a result, it strikes me that permitting the Assembly to review citizenship denials would result in it reviewing those decisions de novo, without any deference to the CRS or CitComm. And that gives me pause. It would seem to undermine the entire purpose of CRS / CitComm review and shift these decisions from expert judgments to political debates. Deferential review by the High Court is desirable in a region committed to the rule of law; de novo review by the Assembly strikes me as a bridge too far.

Perhaps surprisingly in light of my previous comments, I’m not sure I agree with this. For two reasons. First, legislative bodies generally have authority to judge the qualifications of their members and regulate their own membership. The Assembly has delegated that authority in the first instance to the Chair, but the appeal provision reserves the ultimate decision to the body as a whole. Moreover, the legislator status appeal does not infringe on the CRS’ discretionary authority in the same way as an appeal of citizenship status. After all, if the CRS believes an individual constitutes a security threat, then they can prevent them from becoming a legislator by preventing them from becoming a citizen, which is not reviewable by the Assembly.

I look forward to reading this.