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is possible that in such situations the applicant is relieved from his employment for the brief period necessary to attend the court session.” In speaking of evening sessions over which he has also presided, he expressed himself differently: “* * * All the applicants and friends came dressed in their best apparel. * * * Before the convening and after adjournment there was a clustering about the courtroom engendering a spirit of fellowship. Some years ago as a Judge of the Seventh Judicial District in Iowa, I conducted evening sessions of court. May I suggest that evening sessions of court for the induction of new citizens be tried?”
Both the Saturday and evening sessions, the latter particularly, not only bring some relief from the pressure on the court, but eliminate the criminal court atmosphere and other related phases of court work that have no bearing on naturalization proceedings. Also, the evening sessions offer a greater opportunity for friends, relatives, bar associations, civil and educational authorities, and patriotic organizations to be present, either for personal reasons or for the purpose of cooperating with the judge in carrying out the spirit of the joint resolution.
Several judges, in order to conserve the time of the court, have eliminated from the final hearing many tedious and time consuming details. These have been disposed of in various ways: through the examiner, the clerk's office, or through hearings held in a second courtroom just prior to the main ceremony. Special or contested cases are heard earlier so that those applicants who are eligible may join the class to be presented in the main courtroom. This procedure makes for a better service, as it prevents the injection of controversial matters into the ceremony with consequent delay and harm to the appropriate emotional atmosphere. In fact, all activities not absolutely essential should be completed beforehand, so that nothing will interfere with the smooth functioning of the court at the time of the final naturalization hearing. Photographs and signatures are placed on certificates in advance and delay is avoided by staggering the times set for the appearance of the applicants.
OPENING OF COURT
Unless ceremonial arrangements provide otherwise, the prospective citizens should be properly ushered before the opening of court to an appropriate place set aside for them, usually within the bar, where they can see and hear and reflect upon the events that take place. Court is then convened in full ceremony. Patient, painstaking, and tactful cooperation between the employees of the court and others, particularly members of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, can do much toward insuring not only a good opening of court but a smooth running and dignified procedure throughout the ceremony.
In some jurisdictions, the opening of court is meaningful; in others, the opposite is true. In some courts, the mumbled words, especially their significance, appear to be little understood by the court crier, and, because of the way in which they are uttered, are even less understood by most of those attending court. The solemnity with which court is opened influences, in a large measure, the solemnity of the courtroom audience and their attentiveness to the proceedings. Also, it may often reflect itself in the proceedings that follow. An unimpressive opening handicaps the efforts of those who strive to obtain dignity and impressiveness in later proceedings—just as an impressive one helps this objective.
When the Court Crier of the Supreme Court stands and announces: “The Honorable, The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States!" and concludes with the unforgettable expression: “God save the United States and this Honorable Court,” one feels a spirit of reverence, coupled with a sense of pride, at being in the presence of the Court which protects and defends our Constitution.
A similar effect can be achieved at the opening of the lesser courts to, which the future citizen comes to receive his citizenship. Every officer of the court should be in his place as the time approaches for opening. Murmuring, laughing, and talking should
All should stand and the courtroom become absolutely quiet as the judge enters and as the court crier clearly, deliberately, and solemnly opens court. Like the opening of the Supreme Court, the occasion can help to give those present a feeling of security and faith in the government which is protected by courts such as these.
After the opening of court, many judges include in their ritual the advancing of the colors by members of a patriotic organization. Whether this particular procedure is followed or not, there should be an appropriate display of the American flag as the emblem of liberty and the unity of our Nation.
Although music is not generally used at this time, some judges consider music, especially that of the patriotic type, an inspirational contribution. As one of the main objectives of the ceremony is to strengthen the loyalty of the new citizen to the land of his adoption, they believe that there is no objection to the use of music appropriate to the occasion, such as: The Star Spangled Banner; America; The Stars and Stripes Forever; America The Beautiful; or God Bless America.
In many of the courts an invocation is pronounced. If this is made a part of the ceremony, it is advisable to follow the practice of rotating this duty among the representatives of the various religious groups in the community.
PRESENTATION OF CANDIDATES
Perhaps at no stage in the proceedings are there more local variations than at the presentation, or examination, of candidates for the decree of naturalization. In courts that have large classes and frequent hearings, the holding of individual examinations in open court, which sometimes duplicates the examination previously given by the examiners and occasionally covers, in a hurried manner, the entire history of constitutional government, is being discarded
as impractical. As such examinations take time, become burdensome, and not infrequently rob citizenship induction of its sig. nificance, the better practice would be to conduct them at sometime prior thereto. However, a distinction could be made between the courts that do not have time for individual examination and the courts, particularly those with small classes, whose judges do have time in which to deal with individual applicants. Although many judges frankly admit the impracticability of the individual examination to the courts with large classes, they recognize the merits of such examination when the applicants are few in number.
If the method of individual examination of applicants is followed, this examination should not be in the nature of a review of the work previously done by the examiner. It should be along lines designed to establish "an actual human personal relationship between the individual and the court as a representative of the Government.” It should be of such a nature as to impress upon
' the mind of the petitioner that he is being given the personal attention of the court and that the court itself is personally interested in seeing him become a part of this Nation.
Some courts ask each applicant a few questions, inquiring about the length of time he has been in this country, country of birth, name, occupation, and such general questions as establish him as an individual in the eyes of the court. Other judges have requested the naturalization examiner to give similar information in behalf of each applicant, as a part of the recommendation to citizenship. Changing the questions as much as possible, to impress upon each applicant the judge's interest in each one, will tend to change the nature of the ceremony from that of a mere formality into a natural, personal relationship between the applicant and the court as a representative of the Government.
However, most courts, especially those with large classes, have adopted the procedure of accepting the favorable recommendation of the designated examiner. The designated examiner is required to submit his findings and recommendations to the court at the final hearing. Most of the courts, therefore, are prepared to recognize the examiner, or other official, and accept his report that the applicants presented are duly qualified and eligible for citizenship. This results in a smooth-running procedure, which avoids the disturbed state of mind on the part of the applicant that is some times caused by an examination in the courtroom. It has also been found that the system of approval or disapproval by examiners in preliminary hearings operates equitably.
THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
Like the opening of court, the taking of the oath should be divorced from routine and made impressive. The oath of allegiance to the United States is profoundly significant and soul searching and should be solemnly and impressively administered. Generally the clerk of court administers the oath. Sometimes he possesses a good voice, which may make his performance more effective than that of a judge who is not so well equipped vocally. However, some judges believe that the oath of allegiance should be administered by the judge himself. They consider it not only a duty but a privilege to administer the oath and make of it a ceremony of dignity with which to impress and honor the new citizens. Whether the judge, the clerk, or the deputy clerk of the court administers the oath, the important point is that it be done well. When the applicant for citizenship forswears allegiance and fidelity to his native land and pledges his faith and allegiance to his adopted country, he is entitled to have the oath that he takes clearly and impressively administered and not incoherently mumbled. Deep emotional responses can be aroused by an oath clearly and judiciously given and sincerely and thoughtfully repeated.
Some courts prefer that the candidates for citizenship remain silent while the oath is administered and show their affirmation by a clear “I do” at the end. Others require which seems more impressive that the applicants repeat the oath of allegiance in unison as it is said to them in groups of words spoken distinctly so that they can easily and clearly repeat each phrase and understand its meaning.
The oath of allegiance is full of meaning for the new citizen. In the first part of the oath he severs the ties that bind him to the land of his birth. He renounces and abjures his allegiance to his native country. In the second part of the oath he pledges his faith and sole allegiance to the United States of America, and promises that