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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


Vartelas v. Holder

132 S. Ct. 1479 (2012)

In 1996, Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) that held that legal permanent residents who had been convicted of a crime and had travelled abroad were eligible to face permanent removal proceedings. The question that the Court faced in Vartelas v. Holder was whether the IIRIRA applies retroactively to lawful permanent residents who were convicted of a crime and left the United States before enactment of the 1996 law. The Court held that the governing law at the time of conviction and not the IIRIRA applies.

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.)


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