Goldstein v. Cox

LOCATION: Holmes County Board of Education

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)

CITATION: 396 US 471 (1970)
ARGUED: Nov 17, 1969
DECIDED: Jan 26, 1970

Facts of the case


Media for Goldstein v. Cox

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 17, 1969 in Goldstein v. Cox

Warren E. Burger:

Number 66, Goldstein against Cox.

John R. Vintilla:

Mr. Chief Justice --

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Vintilla.

John R. Vintilla:

May it please the Court.

We have here before the Court today a problem, which this Court had occasion approximately two years ago to review the pass judgment on it.

We have in review here, the so-called Iron Curtain Statute for the State of New York known as the New York Surrogate's Procedure Act to formerly Section 269-a and now for the reason amendment of June of '68 known as Section 2218.

Now, this statute in substance provides that an heir legatee or beneficiary of funds from the state or other source in New York who happens to reside in one of so-called Iron Curtain countries that the State of New York will protect this particular citizen national of that country by withholding the transmittal of his distributive share to funds that he is entitled to.

If he would not have the benefit or use for control of the money or other property to him or if there are other special circumstances that make a desirable of such payment it should be withheld.

Now, this law of New York is substantially identical to one of the three provisions of the Oregon statute, which this Court struck down as an impermissible interference with federal power over foreign affairs.

Potter Stewart:

Is there any escheat provision in the New York law?

John R. Vintilla:

Your Honor, the New York law is a custodial in nature that provides -- does not provide for escheat.

Potter Stewart:

Under any circumstances.

John R. Vintilla:

Under any circumstances.

The money is placed in all appellates, its placed in the deposit in one of the banks in New York until such time as the particular heir or beneficiary is representing and could come in and satisfy the court that he will have the use benefit or that circumstances of change and then the Court could reconsider the matter.

As a practical matter funds belonging to Romania nationals of been brought in excess of 25 years as the matter now stands.

There was one challenge to the statute by Romania heirs the Greenburg case, which we mentioned in our brief and in that case the heir sought to establish to the satisfaction onto a surrogate of New York county that they do have to use benefit and control in that circumstances are such in Romania that that to be permitted to have their money.

And, the surrogate there found that the evidence was in such an issue to convince him that they would have to use benefit in control or the circumstance of change.

Now, this matter was appealed to the Court of Appeals of New York and they denied leave to appeal allow the surrogate's decision and the Appellate Court which affirm and allow that decision to stand.

Now, in our case, citizens who are entitled to have been or are entitled to funds which are bring withheld from them challenged the New York Statute by filing an action in the United States District Court for the southern district of New York.

Challenged the constitutionality of that statute then sought to have its application enjoined and so far as the rights of Romania national are concerned.

At the same time, they asked for the convening of a three-judge court to hear the Congressional challenges to the New York Statute.

The district judge initially denied the convening of a three-judge court on the ground that he thought the constitutional challenges were frivolous and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals.

The Court right from the bench affirmed the district judge in holding that the constitutional challenge is not serious enough to convene a court in upon certiorari granted by this Court.

Now, this Court some merely reversed and remanded the case back to the United States Court of Appeals for further conservation in the light of Zschernig v. Miller which this Court had decided while the petition for certiorari was pending initially.

Now, at that stage, we had thought upon reading discerning decision that because of the swiping rational of the majority in the concurring opinion that -- and the New York statute being so similar to the Oregon's statute that, that question would put to rest.

That similar statutes which such as New York were unconstitutional because they were enacted in such a fashion that they compel the courts to intrude into an area.

That is the exclusive domain of the federal government.

Upon hearing by the three-judge court, -- the three-judge court found otherwise, the matter was heard in -- before the three-judge court in June of 25th, 1968 and sure that before that the New York Court of Appeals had occasion for the first time since Zschernig to review the New York law in the light of the Zschernig decision.

And that was the case which is mentioned in both brief the matter of liken, and in that case, New York Court of Appeals felt that under record of that case, there was no showing that the New York courts have engaged in any of the activities that were proscribe by Zschernig.

And, felt that the statute of New York is not unconstitutional.