Markham v. Cabell
326 U.S. 404 (1945)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Markham v. Cabell, 326 U.S. 404 (1945)

Markham v. Cabell

No. 76

Argued October 19, 1945

Decided December 10, 1945

326 U.S. 404

Syllabus

1. Section 9(a) of the Trading with the Enemy Act allows

"Any person not an enemy or ally of enemy . . . to whom any debt may be owing from an enemy or ally of enemy whose property or any part thereof shall have been conveyed, transferred, assigned, delivered, or paid to the Alien Property Custodian"

to sue the Custodian or the Treasurer of the United States in the federal courts. Section 9(e) provides that no debt shall be allowed under § 9 "unless it was owing to and owned by the claimant prior to October 6, 1917," nor

"unless notice of the claim has been filed, or application therefor has been made, prior to the date of the enactment of the Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928."

Held:

(a) The Trading with the Enemy Act became effective again automatically at the outbreak of World War II. P. 326 U. S. 407.

The Act was designed to operate not only in World War I, but also, unless repealed or superseded, in any future war. P. 326 U. S. 409.

Page 326 U. S. 405

(b) The right to sue on a debt, granted by § 9(a), has not been wholly withdrawn. P. 326 U. S. 412.

(c) The time limitations in § 9(e) relate to claim against property seized during World War I. P. 326 U. S. 412.

(d) Allowance of suit on a debt as prescribed by § 9(a) is not inconsistent with the power granted the Executive by the 1941 amendment of § 5(b) to vest the property of any foreign country or national thereof and to make of seized property any use which the national interest in wartime might require. P. 326 U. S. 412.

2. Resort to the policy of a law may be had to ameliorate its seeming harshness or to qualify its apparent absolutes. Holy Trinity Church v. United States,143 U. S. 457. P. 326 U. S. 409.

3. A less literal reading which effectuates a statute is preferred to a strict reading which would render it ineffectual. P. 326 U. S. 409.

4. Where Congress amends only one section of a law, leaving another untouched, the normal assumption is that the two were designed to function as an integrated whole. P. 326 U. S. 411.

148 F.2d 737 affirmed.

Certiorari, 325 U.S. 847, to review the reversal of a judgment dismissing the complaint in a suit under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

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