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Silverthorne Lumber Company v. United States

United States Supreme Court
251 U.S. 385 (1920)


Facts

The two owners of Silverthorne Lumber Company (Silverthorne) (defendant) were arrested. While detained, federal officers went to Silverthorne’s office and, without a warrant or any authority, collected books, papers and documents. The district court held that all the materials had been seized in violation of Silverthorne’s constitutional rights. While recognizing the illegality of its actions, the government seeks to copy the materials so it may avail itself of all the information.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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