Sunday, December 8, 2013

United States v. Pink case brief

United States v. Pink case brief summary
315 U.S. 203 (1942)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner, the United States, sought review on a writ of certiorari from a decision of the Supreme Court of New York dismissing its suit to recover the assets of the New York branch of a nationalized Russian insurance company.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner, the United States, challenged the state of New York's dismissal of its suit to recover the assets of a New York branch of a Russian insurance company. Respondent, the state of New York, lay claim to the assets under its state law after the revolutionary Russian government nationalized the insurance company.

DISCUSSION
  • The Court held that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution preempted respondent from deciding questions affecting international foreign relations. 
  • The Court recognized a declaration by the Soviet Commissariat that the extraterritorial assets of former Russian insurance companies constituted the property of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. 
  • The president of the United States had the power to conduct foreign affairs without the consent of the Senate, as he did in this case by negotiating the Litvinov Agreement to settle liability claims between American and Soviet nationals by passing the Soviet government's vested rights to the insurance company's property to petitioner. 
  • Therefore, respondent had no right to the assets. 
  • The Court reversed.

CONCLUSION
The Court reversed the lower court's judgment, holding that respondent, the state of New York, was barred by the Supremacy Clause of the constitution from seizing the assets of a state branch of a nationalized Russian insurance company because, under the terms of an international agreement negotiated by the president of the United States, rights to such assets were vested in the federal government.


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