King v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Criminal District Court, Parish of New Orleans

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 379 US 329 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 19, 1964
DECIDED: Dec 14, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for King v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 19, 1964 in King v. United States

Earl Warren:

Elizabeth Simonson King et cetera, Petitioner, versus United States.

Mr. Bate.

David S. Bate:

Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Supreme Court, may it please the Court.

The point that petitioners wish to emphasize on oral argument is point number four in the petitioner's brief and the only point that is really thoroughly discussed.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Bate, may I interrupt you just a moment --

David S. Bate:


Earl Warren:

-- to say that the orders of the Court has been certified by the Chief Justice and filed with the clerk would not be (Inaudible).

You may proceed now.

David S. Bate:


The point that the petitioners wish to emphasize on oral argument is point four in the petitioner's brief and the only point which the brief of the United States gives any emphasis to at all.

The point is that the court below ordered Mr. King, the distributing agent to distribute as he did.

He had no other duty by his orders than to distribute as he was told.

The Government's claim was a priority claim but it was not liquidated, it further was disputed at the time that the Court made its order of distribution.

This action is against King as a distributing agent only.

It is not against him in any other capacity.

Therefore this order that we are speaking of is the only order that is important that the only -- this principle fact that is important.

Mr. King is not being sued here or charge in any other capacity.

He was obliged to and he did follow orders.

He is not like therefore like a trustee in bankruptcy, an executor and assignee for the benefit of creditors that is one who examines claims and advices the Court and then distributes as either before -- without the court order or as the Court directs.

He certainly is not as the trustees in bankruptcy, the assignees or the executors that are incited in the cases in the Government's brief.

He is not a person as all those are who has distributed either without prior Court order or in -- yes without prior court order who never -- were obliged to get a court order at all.

Is there any dispute between your(Inaudible)

David S. Bate:

Mr. Justice Harlan, there is no dispute at all as to the priority.

The Government had a priority claim.

It was unliquidated and disputed at the time that the referee made his order.

Earl Warren:

Well, may I ask if you preserve the question with the applicability of Section 191 to the present case for review in this Court?

David S. Bate:

Your Honor, in other words in my preserving points one, two, and three of the brief, is that the --

Earl Warren:

The applicability of 191, I don't know just how you'll express it but --

David S. Bate:

Oh, well we are saying that --

Earl Warren:

The reason I asked you is because I understood that this case was tried on the theory below that 191 did apply.