Confiscation and the Courts: Constitutionality and Duration

John Syrett

in The Civil War Confiscation Acts

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780823224890
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240852 | DOI:

Series: Reconstructing America

Confiscation and the Courts: Constitutionality and Duration

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The Supreme Court's decisions on substantive confiscation issues were important for several reasons. The Court's decisions implied, in other words, that had Congress explicitly enacted confiscation beyond the life of the offender, it would have received a sympathetic hearing. James G. Randall, the most important scholar on the history of confiscation, was very critical of Strong's argument and praised Field's dissent. The question of duration of forfeiture was almost as important an issue as that of the second act's constitutionality and was certainly more complicated. The first significant confiscation case involving pardon was perhaps the most remarkable. The Supreme Court's decisions on pardon under the second act were more logical than Chase's in Armstrong, and they generally weakened the goal of those who supported confiscation. The Court could not interpret what Congress had not provided for in the laws.

Keywords: Supreme Court; confiscation; James G. Randall; Strong; Field; Armstrong; pardon

Chapter.  7889 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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