Sunday, March 25, 2012

Foster & Elam v. Neilson case brief

Foster & Elam v. Neilson (S Ct 1829, p. 173)
  • Issue over what country owned the land when the plaintiffs acquired it. Treaty btwn Spain and Fr—Spain ceded the territory (Lousiana) to Fr and Fr later ceded it to the US. claims the land was granted by the Spanish governor (in Treaty btwn Spain and US) after the treaties had already taken place. This is why the (current possessor of the land) claims the land grant is invalid.
  • Ct says the treaty btwn Spain and US is not helpful b/c it was not self-executing and was never ratified by the US.
  • Ct says treaty can’t be effective b/c it was never ratified—cites no authority for this, but says this is the gen princ of the US.
  • Ct took a dualistic approach.
  • Ct says that non-self-executing treaties only produce political effect and are more like Ks. A K that the legislature must execute. Treaties such as land mines, global warming, etc. would require ratification by Congress.

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