The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States


The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States

Infobox SCOTUS case
Litigants=The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States
ArgueDateA=January 16
ArgueDateB=18
ArgueYear=1889
DecideDate=May 19
DecideYear=1890
FullName= The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints et al v. United States; Romney et al v. United States
Citation=10 S. Ct. 792; 34 L. Ed. 478; 1890 U.S. LEXIS 2199
USVol=136
USPage=1
Prior=Edmunds-Tucker Act provisions authorizing disincorporation of LDS Church upheld in "U.S. v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". 5 Utah 361, 15 P. 473 (Utah.Terr. 1887). Appeal from the Supreme Court of the Utah Territory
Holding=Congress has supreme authority over territories, including power to dissolve the LDS Church's corporation and seize its property. Under parens patriae principals, congress may redirect assets to charitable purposes within Utah Territory. Property was properly not transferred to church members because they were using it to further outlawed polygamy.
SCOTUS=1890-1891
Majority=Bradley
JoinMajority=Harlan, Gray, Blatchford, Brewer
Dissent=Fuller
JoinDissent=Lamar, Field
LawsApplied=U.S. Const. amend. I; Edmunds-Tucker Act

"The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States", ussc|136|1|1890 was a Supreme Court case that upheld the Edmunds-Tucker Act on May 19, 1890. Among other things, the act disincorporated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church; see also Mormon).

Chief Justice Fuller's dissent asserted that though Congress has the power to criminalize polygamy, "it is not authorized under the cover of that power to seize and confiscate the property of persons, individuals, or corporations, without office found, because they may have been guilty of criminal practices." [ussc|136|67|1890]

The ruling in "Late Corporation" would have directed federal escheat of substantially all the property of the legally disincorporated LDS Church, which was estimated at $3 million. Following the decision, the U.S. Attorney for Utah Territory reported seizing only $381,812 in assets. [Paul G. Kauper & Stephen C. Ellis, "Religious Corporations and the Law," 71 Mich. L. Rev. (1972-1973), 1499, 1517. This figure includes seized stock and cash in bank accounts as well as $10,000 "credits due on sheep."] Real property, including LDS temples, was never seized although the ruling authorized it. Within five months, the LDS Church officially renounced polygamy in the 1890 Manifesto. On October 25, 1893, a congressional resolution authorized the release of assets seized from the LDS Church because, "said church has discontinued the practice of polygamy and no longer encourages or gives countenance to any manner of practices in violation of law, or contrary to good morals or public policy." [Jt. Res 11., 53d Cong., 1st Sess., 28 Stat. 980]

See also

*Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act (1862)
*Poland Act (1874)
*"Reynolds v. United States" (1879)
*Edmunds Act (1882)
*Edmunds-Tucker Act (1887)
*1890 Manifesto
*Smoot Hearings (1903-1907)
*Second Manifesto (1904)
*History of civil marriage in the U.S.
*List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 136

References

* [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=136&invol=1 U.S. Supreme Court MORMON CHURCH v. UNITED STATES, 136 U.S. 1 (1890)] .


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