the Constitution

Civil Forfeiture


Civil forfeiture occurs when the government seizes property under suspicion of its involvement in illegal activity. Such a proceeding is conducted in rem, or against the property itself, rather than in personam, or against the owner of the property; by contrast, criminal forfeiture is an in personam proceeding. For this reason, civil forfeiture case names often appear strange, such as United States v. Eight Rhodesian Stone Statues,

Emoluments Clause

Also known as the Title of Nobility Clause, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits any person holding a government office from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title from any "King, Prince, or foreign State," without congressional consent.

Fourteenth Amendment


The Fourteenth Amendment contains a number of important concepts, most famously state action, privileges & immunities, citizenship, due process, and equal protection—all of which are contained in Section One.  However, the Fourteenth Amendment contains four other sections.  Section Two deals with the apportionment of representatives to Congress.  Section Three forbids a


United States v. Wong Kim Ark

169 U.S. 649 (1898)

The Supreme Court held that citizenship as prescribed in the Fourteenth Amendment extends to U.S.-born children of foreign subjects or citizens who, at the time of the child’s birth, are permanent residents and are carrying on business in the United States. Such children acquire U.S. citizenship at birth, but this does not apply if the parents are in the United States in any diplomatic or official capacity. (Read the opinion here.)

Shaughnessy v. United States ex rel. Mezei

345 U.S. 206 (1953)

The Supreme Court held that the continued exclusion of an entrant noncitizen without hearing does not amount to unlawful detention, because a noncitizen seeking entry does not possess constitutional rights. The Court also held that courts may not temporarily admit a such a noncitizen into the United States pending arrangements for his departure abroad. (Read the opinion here.)


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