Zschernig v. Miller,
389 U.S. 429 (1968)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Zschernig v. Miller, 389 U.S. 429 (1968)

Zschernig v. Miller

No. 21

Argued November 7, 1967

Decided January 15, 1968

389 U.S. 429


Appellants, residents of East Germany, are the heirs of an American citizen who died intestate in Oregon, leaving personal property. Appellees include members of the State Land Board who petitioned the Oregon probate court for the escheat of the personalty pursuant to Ore.Rev.Stat. § 111.070. That section provides for escheat where a nonresident alien claims personalty unless (1) there is a reciprocal right of a United States citizen to take property on the same terms as the citizen of a foreign nation, (2) American citizens have the right to receive payment here of funds from estates in the foreign country, and (3) foreign heirs have the right to receive the proceeds of Oregon estates without confiscation. The Oregon Supreme Court held that appellants could not take the personalty, because the reciprocity required by § 111.070 was not present.

Held: As applied by Oregon, each of the three provisions of § 111.070 involves the State in foreign affairs and international relations, matters which the Constitution entrusts solely to the Federal Government. Clark v. Allen, 331 U. S. 503, distinguished. Pp. 389 U. S. 432-441.

243 Ore. 567, 592, 412 P.2d 781, 415 P.2d 15, reversed.

Page 389 U. S. 430

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