Ex Parte Curtis,
106 U.S. 371 (1882)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Curtis, 106 U.S. 371 (1882)

Ex Parte Curtis

Decided December 18, 1882

106 U.S. 371


The sixth section of the Act of Aug. 16, 1876, c. 287, prohibiting, under penalties therein mentioned, certain officers of the United States from requesting, giving to, or receiving from any other officer money or property or other thing of value for political purposes, is not unconstitutional.

The sixth section of the act of Aug. 15, 1876, c. 287, entitled "An Act making appropriations for the legislative, executive, and judicial expenses of the government," provides

"That all executive officers or employees of the United States not appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, are prohibited from requesting, giving to, or receiving from, any other officer or employee of the government, any money or property or other thing of value for political purposes, and any such officer or employee who shall offend against the provisions of this section shall be at once discharged from the service of the United States, and he shall also be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars."

Curtis, the petitioner, an employee of the United States, was indicted in the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York and convicted under this act for receiving money for political purposes from other employees of the government. Upon his conviction, he was sentenced to pay a fine and stand committed until payment was made. Under this sentence, he was taken into custody by the marshal, and on his application a writ of habeas corpus was issued by one of the Justices of this Court in vacation, returnable here at the present term, to inquire into the validity of his detention. The important question presented on the return to the writ so issued is whether the act under which the conviction was had is constitutional.

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