The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Reasons To Hate Lawyers #94: the Malolo Doctrine

A delicious piece of serenditipity, this.

Looking at a couple of pieces on the FDR court-packing farrago of 1937 - of which more later, hopefully - I come across the tale of the SS Malolo and the doctrine concocted thereon by Attorney-General Homer Cummings and Solicitor-General Stanley Reed with a view to bilking the holders of gold obligations [1].

Thus, in Perry v US 294 US 330, a guy holding Liberty Bonds whose terms included a gold clause sued for breach of contract when USG refused to hand over the gold dollars contracted for. The Court said that USG had indeed broken the contract; but that the holder had suffered no loss because, had he received the gold dollars he was due, he could not legally hold, sell or export them!

Makes Catch-22 look like Sesame Street!

  1. The tale is told in a whimsically structured lecture by former A-G Seth Waxman.

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