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Whitney v. Robertson

Brief Fact Summary. The claim which Whitney (P) brought before the court was that a treaty between the U.S and the Dominican Republic guaranteed that no higher duty would be assessed on goods from the Dominican Republic than was assessed on goods from any other country and that duties had been wrongfully assessed on his sugar imports.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where a treaty and an act of legislation conflict, the one last in date will control.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

So far as a treaty made by the United States with any foreign nation can become the subject of judicial cognizance in the courts of this country, it is subject to such acts as Congress may pass for its enforcement, modification or repeal.

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Facts. The claim which Whitney (P) brought before the court was that a treaty between the U.S and the Dominican Republic guaranteed that no higher duty would be assessed on goods from the Dominican Republic than was assessed on goods from any other country and that duties had been wrongfully assessed on his sugar imports.

Issue. Where a treaty and an act of legislation conflict, will the one last in date control?

Held. (Field, J.). Yes. The one with a later date will control where a treaty and an act of legislation conflict. The act of congress under which the duties were collected was passed after the treaty and therefore is controlling. Affirmed.

Discussion. A later inconsistent statute does not abrogate or repeal a treaty. The treaty still exists as an international obligation although the terms of the treaty may not be enforceable.


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