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RABINOWITZ V. KENNEDY, 376 U. S. 605 (1964)

U.S. Supreme Court

Rabinowitz v. Kennedy, 376 U.S. 605 (1964)

Rabinowitz v. Kennedy

No. 287

Argued March 2, 1964

Decided March 30, 1964

376 U.S. 605


1. An attorney who performs legal services, including the handling of litigation, for a foreign government must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended. The work of a lawyer in litigating for a foreign government cannot, within the meaning of the exemption section of the Act, be characterized as only "financial or mercantile" activity, for those terms are used in the Act to describe conduct of an ordinary private commercial character. Furthermore, since the interest of a foreign government in litigation, even if relating to financial or mercantile matters, cannot be deemed only "private and nonpolitical," an attorney engaged in such litigation cannot, under any construction of the Act, qualify within the exemption section. Pp. 376 U. S. 609-610.

2. Where petitioners have made no attempt to determine which questions on the government registration form must be answered, and where the Government admits that some of the questions are wholly or partially inapplicable, the issue as to the extent of the disclosure to be required of attorneys under the Foreign Agents Registration Act is not ripe for adjudication. Pp. 376 U. S. 601-611.

115 U.S.App.D.C. 210, 318 F.2d 181, affirmed on other grounds.

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