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National Bank of Commerce v. Downie, 218 U.S. 345 (1910)

National Bank of Commerce v. Downie

Nos. 31, 32

Argued November 3, 1910

Decided November 28, 1910

218 U.S. 345


The prohibition of § 3477, Rev.Stat., against assignment of claims against the United States which have not been allowed and warrant issued therefor is of universal application. It covers all unallowed claims and all voluntary assignments thereof, including assignments made in good faith, as security for advances in course of business, of undisputed claims on contracts being performed by the assignor, and held that assignments of such claims so made by a bankrupt are null and void not only as against the United States, but also as against other creditors, and the claims pass by operation of law to the trustee in bankruptcy.

Section 3477, Rev.Stat., does not embrace the transfer of unallowed claims against the United States when the transfer is by operation of law, and not voluntary.

To hold that an act making all assignments of claims against the government null and void does not embrace claims and assignments of the nature of those involved in this action would effect a repeal of the statute by judicial legislation in disregard of its plain intent.

The facts, which involve the validity of transfers of unallowed claims against the United States, are stated in the opinion.

Page 218 U. S. 349

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