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UNITED STATES V. OREGON, 366 U. S. 643 (1961)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Oregon, 366 U.S. 643 (1961)

United States v. Oregon

No. 329

Argued April 25, 1961

Decided May 29, 1961

366 U.S. 643


An Oregon resident died in a United States Veterans' Administration Hospital in Oregon without a will or legal heirs, leaving a net estate of personal property. He had not entered into a contract with the United States concerning such property, and was mentally incompetent to do so. Oregon claimed such property under its escheat law, and the United States claimed it under 38 U.S.C. (1952 ed.) § 17, which provides that, when a veteran dies in such a hospital without a will or legal heirs, his personal property "shall immediately vest in and become the property of the United States as trustee for the sole use and benefit of the General Post Fund."

Held: the United States was entitled to the property as such trustee. Pp. 366 U. S. 643-649.

(a) The federal statute operates automatically, and does not require that the veteran shall have entered into a contract with the United States. Pp. 366 U. S. 645-648.

(b) The statute is within the power of Congress, and it does not violate the Tenth Amendment. Pp. 366 U. S. 648-649.

222 Ore. 40, 352 P. 2d 539, reversed.

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