CourtSpeak: De Geofroy v. Riggs Alien Inheritance Case (1890)

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Chapter The Fuller Court (1888–1910)

Justice Stephen Field (unanimous): “A right which the government of the United States apparently desires that citizens of France should enjoy in all the states, it would hardly refuse to them in the District embracing its capital…. To insure reciprocity in the terms of the treaty, it would be necessary to hold that by ‘states of the Union’ is meant all the political communities exercising legislative powers in the country, embracing, not only those political communities which constitute the United States, but also those communities which constitute the political bodies known as ‘territories’ and the District of Columbia.”


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