John Vlahoplus

Document Type




Can Adam Muthana, the foreign-born child of an alien Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”) combatant and a New Jersey-born ISIS adherent, grow up to be president of the United States? He can if he attains the age of thirty-five, resides in the United States for fourteen years, and is a natural-born citizen. He has a facial claim to statutory derivative citizenship at birth through his mother, and some scholars argue that anyone who is a citizen at birth is a natural-born citizen. Nevertheless, there are significant disputes over whether he will be allowed to reside here, whether he is a citizen, and if so, whether he is natural-born.

Much of United States citizenship law developed from English and British sources that may help frame the debate over Muthana’s status and that of his mother. In particular, the House of Lords decision in Arcedeckne et ux. v. Horan et al., et e contra (1730) may help because it determined whether the foreign-born Mary Arcedeckne was natural-born even though both of her parents were disloyal subjects.

The two cases have notable similarities. The Arcedeckne case occurred in the context of domestic and international conflicts between Protestants and Catholics. English Protestants feared Catholicism and repressed it both in England and in Ireland. Actions to achieve greater religious freedom or to restore a Catholic monarch prior to the Arcedeckne decision included the failed Gunpowder Plot to destroy Parliament in 1605, war against William of Orange in 1688–91, support for a planned French invasion in 1708, and Jacobite risings in England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1715 and 1719. Protestants reacted to these actions with greater suspicion of Catholic subjects’ loyalty and additional repression. It was in this context that Mary Arcedeckne’s Irish Catholic father fought against English rule in Ireland until his exile to France, where she was born and where he continued to fight in French service against the English crown until his death in 1703.

Appendix 1 HL_PO_JO_10_3_223_9.pdf (26758 kB)
Appendix 1: Petition and Appeal of Mathias Arcedeckne and his wife.

Appendix 2 HL_PO_JO_10_6_370.pdf (10810 kB)
Appendix 2: Petition of James Horan

Appendix 3 HL_PO_JO_10_4_17.pdf (25708 kB)
Appendix 3: Answers of James Horan, William Burke, Florence Callanane, Nicholas Arcedeckne, and Mathias and Mary Arcedeckne

Appendix 4 HL_PO_JO_10_3_223_10 part 1.pdf (31490 kB)
Appendix 4: Petition and Cross Appeal of James Horan (Part 1)

Appendix 4 HL_PO_JO_10_3_223_10 part 2.pdf (20563 kB)
Appendix 4: Petition and Cross Appeal of James Horan (Part 2)

Appendices 5 and 6 HL_PO_JU_4_3_6.pdf (7827 kB)
Appendix 5: The Case of the Appellants in the Original Appeal, and Respondents to the Cross-Appeal

Appendices 5 and 6 HL_PO_JU_4_3_6.pdf (7827 kB)
Appendix 6: The Case of the Said James Horan, Respondent in the Original

Appendix 8 HL_PO_JO_10_6_398.pdf (2335 kB)
Appendix 8: Petition of John Burke on behalf of himself and James Horan for amendment mentioned 22 April.



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