A Lament of Many Judges

“This is one of those cases which too frequently occur, in which the court is called upon to interpret legislative expressions of doubtful import, without a clue to ascertain, with precision, what was the real intention of the framers of the law. After the closest examination of the point on which the controversy hangs, we can truly say, that our mind rather inclines to the opinion which we shall deliver, than that we feel a full confidence in its correctness.”

Goodwin v. United States (1811) (Washington, J., Circuit Justice).

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2 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Is United States v. [John] Goodwin, 11 U.S. 108 (1812), opinion delivered by Justice Washington, related to this case?


  2. No clear answers says:


    Thus, whether a foreign nation is entitled to sue for treble damages depends upon whether it is a “person” as that word is used in § 4. There is no statutory provision or legislative history that provides a clear answer; it seems apparent that the question was never considered at the time the Sherman and Clayton Acts were enacted. [9]