Totten v. United States

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Totten v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Decided April 10, 1876
Full case name Totten, Administrator, v. United States
Citations 92 U.S. 105 (more)
23 L. Ed. 605; 1875 U.S. LEXIS 1732; 2 Otto 105
Prior history Appeal from the Court of Claims
Holding
Courts cannot hear cases in disputes involving spying contracts, because it might do harm to make public the details of the enterprise and embarrass the government.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Field, joined by unanimous

Totten v. United States, 92 U.S. 105 (1876), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the court ruled on judicial jurisdiction in espionage cases. The court deemed an oral contract between a deceased spy and President Lincoln was unenforceable because courts cannot hear cases in disputes involving spying contracts, because it might do harm to make public the details of the enterprise and embarrass the government.

This case was later referenced by the court in a similar context in the 2005 case of Tenet v. Doe.

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