Friday, November 15, 2013

United States v. Klein case brief

United States v. Klein case brief summary
80 U.S. 128 (1871)

Defendant, the United States, appealed judgment from the Court of Claims which awarded the proceeds of deceased's cotton, which was abandoned to the treasury agents of the United States during the Civil War, to plaintiff, deceased's administrator.

Deceased had done acts considered to be acts in aid of the rebellion during the Civil War. He had abandoned cotton to agents of the Treasury Department, who sold it and placed the proceeds into the Treasury of the United States. After the war, the deceased took an amnesty oath which would afford him a pardon and the restoration of his property pursuant to a congressional provision. The Court of Claims pronounced him entitled to a judgment for the net proceeds in the treasury and, subsequently, the United States appealed.

  • On appeal, the Court affirmed, holding that title to the proceeds of the property which came to the possession of the government by capture or abandonment was in no case divested out of the original owner. 
  • The Court concluded that: 
  • (1) the congressional provision improperly denied the Court appellate jurisdiction regarding decisions by the Court of Claims based on such pardons and 
  • (2) the congressional provision infringed the President's constitutional power to grant pardons.


The Court affirmed the decision to award the administrator the proceeds of deceased's cotton.

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