I was recently asked by a journalist whether I really thought it was feasible to strip U.S. citizenship from individuals who engage in terrorism, as Australia is intent on doing. I answered "yes, assuming that enabling legislation could be passed."
If I were King of the Forest and had my say as to what such a bill might look like, it would be something along these lines:
(a) FORFEITURE.— Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whoever, being a citizen or national of the United States,
(1) engages in, attempts or conspires to engage in, or incites, suborns, or aids and abets, an act of terror inspired by, or committed on behalf of, or to further the aims of a state or nonstate entity that by word or deed has declared the United States its enemy or engaged in hostile acts against the United States or its people; or
(2) provides material support to a state or nonstate entity that by word or deed has declared the United States its enemy or engaged in hostile acts against the United States or its people,
has committed an act of treason and shall forfeit said citizenship or nationality.
(b) HEARING.— Upon conviction in a court of the United States, or a state or foreign court, for an offense described in subsection (a), a forfeiture hearing shall be held in United States District Court upon request of the attorney general, who shall present certified copies of the conviction documents with translations if required.
(1) The hearing shall be limited to an inquiry into whether the subject of the forfeiture hearing is the one who committed the crime; whether the crime was an act of terror or material support; and whether the crime was inspired by, or committed on behalf of, or furthered the aims of, a state or nonstate enemy.
(2) The hearing may be held in absentia provided that in all cases the citizen or national shall be represented by counsel.
Upon a finding: that the subject of the hearing committed the crime; that it was an act of terror; and that it was inspired by, or committed on behalf of, or furthered the aims of, a state or nonstate enemy, the presiding judge shall issue an order of forfeiture of citizenship or nationality.
(c) REMOVAL OR EXCLUSION.—
(1) Individuals in the United States who have forfeited citizenship or nationality who were, prior to forfeiture, either naturalized citizens born in another country, or recognized by another country as having a claim to citizenship or nationality there ("dual nationals"), shall be removed to that country upon completion of any period of incarceration imposed at sentencing. Individuals born in the United States or its territories whose citizenship or nationality has been forfeited shall be removed to any other country willing to accept them.
(2) Individuals outside of the United States who have forfeited citizenship or nationality shall be excluded from the United States as aliens ineligible for entry.
I realize that I am no legislative counsel, and that the language could merit a scrub, but that's secondary. What seems to me self-evident is that the question of stripping United States citizenship or nationality from terrorists who hate our country, hate us as a people, and revile our way of life and system of government, isn't one of constitutionality, it's one of enacting legislation and having a president sign it into law. And therein lies the problem.
It's those latter items — passing legislation and signing it into law — that are the sticking points. Even with a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress, they cannot seem to act in concert to get anything done, except perhaps to consistently cave in to the president and his agenda on nearly everything.
And, of course, even presuming they did present the president with a bill, chances are great that he would reflexively veto it no matter what it contained, which would throw the matter back to Congress to scrabble to find enough votes to override the veto.
This is doubtful, given that bills have already been introduced to try and stem the flow of Islamic State-bound fighters and gone nowhere, thanks to certain "progressive" legislators among the Democratic party whose instincts toward rendering our entire society vulnerable are almost a sure bet, the will and safety of the people be damned.