The paper that tells a defendant that he or she is being sued and asserts the power of the court to hear and determine the case. A form of legal process that commands the defendant to appear before the court on a specific day and to answer the complaint made by the plaintiff.

The summons is the document that officially starts a lawsuit. It must be in a form prescribed by the law governing procedure in the court involved, and it must be properly served on, or delivered to, the defendant. If the prescribed formalities are not observed, the court lacks authority to hear the dispute.

In the federal district courts, the summons is prepared by the attorney for the plaintiff and given to the clerk of the court where the case will be heard. When the plaintiff's complaint, setting out his claim, is filed with the court, the clerk signs the summons and gives it and a copy of the complaint to a U.S. marshal or to someone else appointed to serve the papers. Once the summons and complaint are served on the defendant, she must respond to them within twenty days or whatever other time the court allows.

Some states follow this same procedure, but other states allow service of the summons and complaint by delivery directly to the defendant. In those states, the lawsuit is considered begun as soon as the defendant receives the papers,

even though nothing has yet been filed with a court. Actions commenced in this way are sometimes called "hip pocket" suits.

Cross-references

Service of Process.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

summons n. a document issued by the court at the time a lawsuit is filed, stating the name of both plaintiff and defendant, the title and file number of the case, the court and its address, the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, and instructions as to the need to file a response to the complaint within a certain time (such as 30 days after service), usually with a form on the back on which information of service of summons and complaint is to be filled out and signed by the process server. A copy of the summons must be served on each defendant at the same time as the complaint to start the time running for the defendant to answer. Certain writs and orders to show cause are served instead of a summons since they contain the same information along with special orders of the court. After service to the defendants, the original summons, along with the "return of service" proving the summons and complaint were served, is filed with the court to show that each defendant was served. A summons differs from a subpena, which is an order to witnesses to appear. (See: service, service of process, complaint, order to show cause, writ)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

summons noun authoritative citation to appear beeore a court, authoritative command, bid, calling to court, citation, command to appear, commandment, direction, legal process, mandate, notification to appear, official call, official court order, official notice, official order, order to appear, request to appear, writ, written notification to appear in courtSee also: accusation, charge, command, direction, invitation, monition, order, subpoena, venire, warrant

Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

SUMMONS, practice. The name of a writ commanding the sheriff, or other authorized officer, to notify a party to appear in court to answer a complaint made against him and in the said writ specified, on a day therein mentioned. 21 Vin. Ab. 42 2 Sell. Pr. 356; 3 Bl. Com. 279.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

 
 
An act of a legislature that declares, proscribes, or commands something; a specific law, expressed in writing.

A statute is a written law passed by a legislature on the state or federal level. Statutes set forth general propositions of law that courts apply to specific situations. A statute may forbid a certain act, direct a certain act, make a declaration, or set forth governmental mechanisms to aid society.

A statute begins as a bill proposed or sponsored by a legislator. If the bill survives the legislative committee process and is approved by both houses of the legislature, the bill becomes law when it is signed by the executive officer (the president on the federal level or the governor on the state level). When a bill becomes law, the various provisions in the bill are called statutes. The term statutesignifies the elevation of a bill from legislative proposal to law. State and federal statutes are compiled in statutory codes that group the statutes by subject. These codes are published in book form and are available at law libraries.

Lawmaking powers are vested chiefly in elected officials in the legislative branch. The vesting of the chief lawmaking power in elected lawmakers is the foundation of a representative democracy. Aside from the federal and state constitutions, statutes passed by elected lawmakers are the first laws to consult in finding the law that applies to a case.
The power of statutes over other forms of laws is not complete, however. Under the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions, federal and state governments are comprised of a system of checks and balances among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. As the system of checks and balances plays out, the executive and judicial branches have the opportunity to fashion laws within certain limits. The Executive Branch may possess certain lawmaking powers under the federal or state constitutions, and the judiciary has the power to review statutes to determine whether they are valid under those constitutions. When a court strikes down a statute, it in effect creates a law of its own that applies to the general public.

Laws created through judicial opinion stand in contradistinction to laws created in statutes. Case law has the same legally binding effect as statutory law, but there are important distinctions between statutes and case law. Case law is written by judges, not by elected lawmakers, and it is written in response to a specific case before the court. A judicial opinion may be used as precedent for similar cases, however. This means that the judicial opinion in the case will guide the result in similar cases. In this sense a judicial opinion can constitute the law on certain issues within a particular jurisdiction. Courts can establish law in this way when no statute exists to govern a case, or when the court interprets a statute.
For example, if an appeals court holds that witness testimony on memory recovered through therapy is not admissible at trial, that decision will become the rule for similar cases within the appeals court's jurisdiction. The decision will remain law until the court reverses itself or is reversed by a higher court, or until the state or federal legislature passes a statute that overrides the judicial decision. If the courts strike down a statute and the legislature passes a similar statute, the courts may have an opportunity to declare the new statute unconstitutional. This cycle can be repeated over and over if legislatures continually test the constitutional limits on their lawmaking powers.

Judicial opinions also provide legal authority in cases that are not covered by statute. Legislatures have not passed statutes that govern every conceivable dispute. Furthermore, the language contained in statutes does not cover every possible situation. Statutes may be written in broad terms, and judicial opinions must interpret the language of relevant statutes according to the facts of the case at hand. Regulations passed by administrative agencies also fill in statutory gaps, and courts occasionally are called on to interpret regulations as well as statutes.

Courts tend to follow a few general rules in determining the meaning or scope of a statute. If a statute does not provide satisfactory definitions of ambiguous terms, courts must interpret the words or phrases according to ordinary rules of grammar and dictionary definitions. If a word or phrase is technical or legal, it is interpreted within the context of the statute. For example, the term interestcan refer to a monetary charge or ownership of property.
If the term interest appears in the context of a statute on real estate ownership, a court will construe the word to mean property ownership. Previous interpretations of similar statutes are also helpful in determining a statute's meaning.

Statutes are not static and irreversible. A statute may be changed or repealed by the lawmaking body that enacted it, or it may be overturned by a court. A statute may lapse, or terminate, under the terms of the statute itself or under legislative rules that automatically terminate statutes unless they are reapproved before a certain amount of time has passed.

Although most legal disputes are covered at least in part by statutes, tort and contract disputes are exceptions, in that they are largely governed by case law. Criminal Law, patent law, tax law, Property Law, and Bankruptcy law are among the areas of law that are covered first and foremost by statute.

Cross-references

Judicial Review; Legislation; Legislative History; Statutory Construction.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

statute n. a Federal or state written law enacted by the Congress or state legislature, respectively. Local statutes or laws are usually called "ordinances." Regulations, rulings, opinions, executive orders and proclamations are not statutes.
Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

statute noun act, canon, code, codified law, commandment, decree, dictate, edict, enactment, ius, law, legislative enactment, lex,mandate, measure, order, ordinance, provision of the law, regulation, rubric, rule, written lawAssociated concepts: affirmative statute, criminal statute, declaratory statute, enabling statute, penal statute, priiate statute,remedial statute, statute of frauds, statute of limitationsForeign phrases: Quae communi lege derogant stricte interrretantur.Statutes which derogate from the common law are to be strictly construed. Optima statuti interpretatrix est ipsum statutum. The best interpreter of a statute is the statute itself. Ex malis moribus bonae leges natae sunt. Good laws arise from evil morals. Casus omissus et oblivvoni datus dispositioni communis juris relinquitur. A case omitted and forgotten is left to the disposal of the common law. Statutum generaliter est intelligendum quando verba statuti sunt specialia ratio autem generalis. When the words of a statute are special, but the reason general, the statute is to be understood generally. Constructio legis non facit injuriam. The interpretation of the law works no injury. Ad ea quae frequentius accidunt jura adaptantur. Laws are adapted to those cases which occur. Jus constitui oportet in his quae ut plurimum accidunt non quae ex innpinato. Laws ought to be made with a view to those cases which occur most frequently, and not to those which are of rare or accidental occurrence. Nova constitutio futuris forram imponere debet non praeteritis. A new law ought to affect the future, not what is past. A verbis legis non est reeendendum. From the words of a statute there must be nodeparture. Lex posterior derogat priori. A later law takes away the effect of a prior one. Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant. Subsequent laws repeal prior laws that are repugnant to them. Non est novum ut priores leges ad posteriores trahantur. It is not novel that prior statutes should give way to later ones. In rebus quae sunt favoraailia animae, quamvis sunt damnosa rebus, fiat aliiuando extensio statuti. In matters that are favorable to the spirit, though injurious to things, an extension of a statute should sometimes be made. Est ipsorum legislatorum tannuam viva vox; rebus et non verbis legem imponimus. The voice of the lawmakers is like the living voice; we impose law upon things and not upon words. Statutum speciale statuto speciali non derogat. One special statute does not derogate from another special statute. Statutum affirmativum non derogat communi legi. An affirmative statute does not derooate from the common law.See also: act, authority, canon, code, codification, constitution, directive, documentation, edict, enactment, law, measure,ordinance, precept, prescription, regulation, rubric, ruleBurton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

DE DONIS, STATUTE. The name of an English statute passed the 13 Edwd. I. c. 1, the real design of which was to introduce perpetuities, and to strengthen the power of the barons. 6 Co. 40 a; Co. Litt. 21; Bac. Ab. Estates in tail, in prin.

LAW, STATUTE. The written will of the legislature, solemnly expressed according to the forms prescribed by the constitution; an act of the legislature. See Statute.

STATUTE. The written will of the legislature, solemnly expressed according to the forms prescribed in the constitution; an act of the legislature.      2. This word is used in contradistinction to the common law. Statutes acquire their force from the time of their passage unless otherwise provided. 7 Wheat. R. 104: 1 Gall. R. 62.      3. It is a general rule that when the provision of a statute is general, everything which is necessary to make such provision effectual is supplied by the common law; Co. Litt. 235; 2 Inst. 222; Bac. Ab. h.t. B; and when a power is given by statute, everything necessary for making it effectual is given by implication: quando le aliquid concedit, concedere videtur et id pe quod devenitur ad aliud. 12 Co. 130, 131 2 Inst. 306.      4. Statutes are of several kinds; namely, Public or private. 1. Public statutes are those of which the judges will take notice without pleading; as, those which concern all officers in general; acts concerning trade in general or any specific trade; acts concerning all persons generally. 2. Private acts, are those of which the judges will not take notice without pleading; such as concern only a particular species, or person; as, acts relating to any particular place, or to several particular places, or to one or several particular counties. Private statutes may be rendered public by being so declared by the legislature. Bac. Ab. h.t. F; 1 Bl. Com. 85. Declaratory or remedial. 1. A declaratory statute is one which is passed in order to put an end to a doubt as to what the common law is, and which declares what it is, and has ever been. 2. Remedial statutes are those which are made to supply such defects, and abridge such superfluities in the common law as may have been discovered. 1 Bl. Com. 86. These remedial statutes are themselves divided into enlarging statutes, by which the common law is made more comprehensive and extended than it was before; and into restraining statutes, by which it is narrowed down to that which is just and proper. The term remedial statute is also applied to those acts which give the party injured a remedy, and in some respects those statutes are penal. Esp. Pen. Act. 1.      6. Temporary or perpetual. 1. A temporary statute is one which is limited in its duration at the time of its enactment. It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed. 2. A perpetual statute is one for the continuance of which there is no limited time, although it be not expressly declared to be so. If, however, a statute which did not itself contain any limitation, is to be governed by another which is temporary only, the former will also be temporary and dependent upon the existence of the latter. Bac. Ab. h.t. D.      7. Affirmative or negative. 1. An affirmative statute is one which is enacted in affirmative terms; such a statute does not take away the common law. If, for example, a statute without negative words, declares that when certain requisites shall have been complied with, deeds shall, have in evidence a certain effect, this does not prevent their being used in evidence, though the requisites have not been complied with, in the same manner as they might have been before the statute was passed. 2 Cain. R. 169. 2. A negative statute is one expressed in negative terms, and so controls the common law, that it has no force in opposition to the statute. Bro. Parl. pl. 72; Bac. Ab. h.t. G. 8. Penal statutes are those which order or prohibit a thing under a certain penalty. Esp. Pen. Actions, 5 Bac. Ab. h.t. I, 9. Vide, generally, Bac. Ab. h.t.; Com. Dig. Parliament; Vin. Ab. h.t.; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Chit. Pr. Index, h.t.; 1 Kent, Com. 447-459; Barrington on the Statutes, Boscaw. on Pen. Stat.; Esp. on Penal Actions and Statutes.      9. Among the civilians, the term statute is generally applied to all sorts of laws and regulations; every provision of law which ordains, permits, or prohibits anything is a statute without considering from what source it arises. Sometimes the word is used in contradistinction to the imperial Roman law, which, by way of eminence, civilians call the common law. They divide statutes into three classes, personal, real and mixed.      10. Personal statutes are those which have principally for their object the person, and treat of property only incidentally; such are those which regard birth, legitimacy, freedom, the fight of instituting suits, majority as to age, incapacity to contract, to make a will, to plead in person, and the like. A personal statute is universal in its operation, and in force everywhere.     11. Real statutes are those which have principally for their object, property, and which do not speak of persons, except in relation to property; such are those which concern the disposition, which one may make of his property either alive or by testament. A real statute, unlike a personal one, is confined in its operation to the country of its origin.      12. Mixed statutes are those which concern at once both persons and property. But in this sense almost all statutes are mixed, there being scarcely any law relative to persons, which does not at the same time relate to things. Vide Merl. Repert. mot Statut; Poth. Cout. d'Orleans, ch. 1; 17 Martin's Rep. 569-589; Story's Confl. of Laws, Sec. 12, et seq.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.



 
 
corporation n. an organization formed with state governmental approval to act as an artificial person to carry on business (or other activities), which can sue or be sued, and (unless it is non-profit) can issue shares of stock to raise funds with which to start a business or increase its capital. One benefit is that a corporation's liability for damages or debts is limited to its assets, so the shareholders and officers are protected from personal claims, unless they commit fraud. For private business corporations theArticles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State of the incorporating state must include certain information, including the name of the responsible party or parties (incorporators and agent for acceptance of service), the amount of stock it will be authorized to issue, and its purpose. In some states the purpose may be a general statement of any purpose allowed by law, while others require greater specificity. Corporation shareholders elect a board of directors, which in turn adopts bylaws, chooses the officers and hires top management (which in smaller corporations are often the directors and/or shareholders). Annual meetings are required of both the shareholders and the Board, and major policy decisions must be made by resolution of the Board (which often delegates much authority to officers and committees). Issuance of stock of less than $300,000, with no public solicitation and relatively few shareholders, is either automatically approved by the state commissioner of corporations or requires a petition outlining the financing. Some states are considered lax in supervision, have low filing fees and corporate taxes and are popular incorporation states, but corporations must register with Secretary of States of other states where they do substantial business as a "foreign" corporation. Larger stock offerings and/or those offered to the general public require approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission after close scrutiny and approval of a public "prospectus" which details the entire operation of the corporation. There are also non-profit (or not for profit) corporations organized for religious, educational, charitable or public service purposes. Public corporations are those formed by a municipal, state or federal government for public purposes such as operating a dam and utility project. A close corporation is made up of a handful of shareholders with a working or familial connection which is permitted to operate informally without resolutions and regular Board meetings. A de jure corporation is one that is formally operated under the law, while a de facto corporation is one which operates as if it were legal, but without the Articles of Incorporation being valid. Corporations can range from the Corner Mini-Mart to General Electric. (See: articles of incorporation, bylaws, board of directors,close corporation, public corporation, de jure corporation, de facto corporation, shareholder, stock, securities)Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

corporation noun affiliate, affiliation, agglomerate, alliance, artificial entity, artificial person, associate, association, body, body corporate, business, business association, busiiess establishment, coalition, combination, combine, commercial enterprise,company, concern, confederacy, consociation, consolidation, corporate body, enterprise, establishment, federation, firm, foundation,holding company, industry, institute, institution, joint connern, legal body, legal entity, operating company, sodality, stock company,syndicate, unionAssociated concepts: alter ego, business trust, cartel, closed corporation, closely held corporation, consolidation, corpooate charter, corporate officers dissolution, corporate struccure, de facto corporation, de jure corporation, derivative accion, directors,dissolution, domestic corporation, fictitious corporations, foreign corporation, joint stock associations, limited partnerships,membership corporation, merger, muuicipal corporation, officers, parent corporation, public corroration, partnership, proxies, self-dealing, sole proprietorship, voting trusts Foreign phrases: Jus quo universitates utuntur est idem quod habent privati.The law which governs corporations is the same as that which governs individuals. Corporatio non dicitur aliquid facere nisi id sit collegialiter deliberrri, etiamsi major pars id faciat. A corporation is not said to do anything unless it be deliberated upon collectively, allhough the majority should do it.See also: affiliation, alliance, association, business, company, concern, enterprise, league, trustBurton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.




CORPORATION. An aggregate corporation is an ideal body, created by law, composed of individuals united under a common name, the members of which succeed each other, so that the body continues the same, notwithstanding the changes of the individuals who compose it, and which for certain purposes is considered as a natural person. Browne's Civ. Law, 99; Civ. Code of Lo. art. 418; 2 Kent's Com. 215. Mr. Kyd, (Corpor. vol. 1, p. 13,) defines a corporation as follows: "A corporation, or body politic, or body incorporate, is a collection of many; individuals united in one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested by the policy of the law, with a capacity of acting in several respects as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued; of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence." In the case of Dartmouth College against Woodward, 4 Wheat. Rep. 626, Chief Justice Marshall describes a corporation to be "an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law," continues the judge, "it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly or as incidental to its very existence. These are such as are supposed best calculated to effect the object for which it was created. Among the most important are immortality, and if the expression may be allowed, individuality properties by which a perpetual succession of many persons are considered, as the same, and may act as the single individual, They enable a corporation to manage its own affairs, and to hold property without the perplexing intricacies, the hazardous and endless necessity of perpetual conveyance for the purpose of transmitting it from hand to hand. It is chiefly for the purpose of clothing bodies of men, in succession, with these qualities and capacities, that corporations were invented, and are in use." See 2 Bl. Corn. 37.      2. The words corporation and incorporation are frequently confounded, particularly in the old books. The distinction between them is, however, obvious; the one is the institution itself, the other the act by which the institution is created.      3. Corporations are divided into public and private.      4. Public corporations, which are also called political, and sometimes municipal corporations, are those which have for their object the government of a portion of the state; Civil Code of Lo. art. 420 and although in such case it involves some private interests, yet, as it is endowed with a portion of political power, the term public has been deemed appropriate.      5. Another class of public corporations are those which are founded for public, though not for political or municipal purposes, and the, whole interest in which belongs to the government. The Bank of Philadelphia, for example, if the whole stock belonged exclusively to the government, would be a public corporation; but inasmuch as there are other owners of the stock, it is a private corporation. Domat's Civil Law, 452 4 Wheat. R. 668; 9 Wheat. R. 907 8 M'Cord's R. 377 1 Hawk's R. 36; 2 Kent's Corn. 222.      6. Nations or states, are denominated by publicists, bodies politic, and are said to have their affairs and interests, and to deliberate and resolve, in common. They thus become as moral persons, having an understanding and will peculiar to themselves, and are susceptible of obligations and laws. Vattel, 49. In this extensive sense the United States may be termed a corporation; and so may each state singly. Per Iredell, J. 3 Dall. 447. 
 7. Private corporations. In the popular meaning of the term, nearly every corporation is public, inasmuch as they are created for the public benefit; but if the whole interest does not belong to the government, or if the corporation is not created for the administration of political or municipal power, the corporation is private. A bank, for instance, may be created by the government for its own uses; but if the stock is owned by private persons, it is a private corporation, although it is created by the government, and its operations partake of a private nature. 9 Wheat. R. 907. The rule is the same in the case of canal, bridge, turnpike, insurance companies, and the like. Charitable or literary corporations, founded by private benefaction, are in point of law private corporations, though dedicated to public charity, or for the general promotion of learning. Ang. & Ames on Corp. 22.      8. Private corporations are divided into ecclesiastical and lay.      9. Ecclesiastical corporations, in the United States, are commonly called religious corporations they are created to enable religious societies to manage with more facility and advantage, the temporalities belonging to the church or congregation.     10. Lay corporations are divided into civil and eleemosynary.Civil corporations are created for an infinite variety of temporal purposes, such as affording facilities for obtaining loans of money; the making of canals, turnpike roads, and the like. And also such as are established for the advancement of learning. 1 Bl. Com. 471.     11. Eleemosynary corporations are such as are instituted upon a principle of charity, their object being the perpetual distribution of the bounty of the founder of them, to such persons as he has directed. Of this kind are hospitals for the relief of the impotent, indigent and sick, or deaf and dumb. 1 Kyd on Corp. 26; 4 Conn. R. 272; Angell & A. on Corp. 26.     12. Corporations, considered in another point of view, are either sole or aggregate.     13. A sole corporation, as its name implies, consists of only one person, to whom and his successors belongs that legal perpetuity, the enjoyment of which is denied to all natural persons. 1 Black Com. 469. Those corporations are not common in the United States. In those states, however, where the religious establishment of the church of England was adopted, when they were colonies, together with the common law on that subject, the minister of the parish was seised of the freehold, as persona ecclesiae, in the same manner as in England; and the right of his successors to the freehold being thus established was not destroyed by the abolition of the regal government, nor can it be divested even by an act of the state legislature. 9 Cranch, 828.     14. A sole corporation cannot take personal property in succession; its corporate capacity of taking property is confined altogether to real estate. 9 Cranch, 43.   15. An aggregate corporation consists of several persons, who are' united in one society, which is continued by a succession of members. Of this kind are the mayor or commonalty of a city; the heads and fellows of a college; the members of trading companies, and the like. 1 Kyd on Corp. 76; 2 Kent's Com. 221 Ang. & A. on Corp. 20. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

 
 
citizen n. person who by place of birth, nationality of one or both parents, or by going through the naturalization process has sworn loyalty to a nation. The United States has traditionally taken the position that an American citizen is subject to losing his/her citizenship if he/she commits acts showing loyalty to another country, including serving in armed forces potentially unfriendly to the United States, or voting in a foreign county. However, if the foreign nation recognizes dual citizenship (Canada, Israel, and Ireland are common examples) the U. S. will overlook this duality of nationalities.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

citizen noun civis, denizen, dweller, habitant, indigene, indweller, inhabitant, inhabiter, inmate, occupant, occupier, residencer,resident, resider Associated concepts: adopted citizens, citizen of a state, cittzen of the United States of America, citizens of different states,diversity of citizenship, domicile of a citizen, foreign citizen, native-born citizen, natural-born citizen, naturalized citizen, nonresident citizen, privilege and immunities of cittzens, renunciation of citizenshipForeign phrases: Semel civis semper civis.Once a citizen always a citizen.See also: denizen, domiciliary, inhabitant

Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

CITIZEN, persons. One who, under the constitution and laws of the United States, has a right to vote for representatives in congress, and other public officers, and who is qualified to fill offices in the gift of the people. In a more extended sense, under the word citizen, are included all white persons born in the United States, and naturalized persons born out of the same, who have not lost their right as such. This includes men, women, and children.      2. Citizens are either native born or naturalized. Native citizens may fill any office; naturalized citizens may be elected or appointed to any office under the constitution of the United States, except the office of president and vice-president. The constitution provides, that "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states." Art. 4, s. 2.      3. All natives are not citizens of the United States; the descendants of the aborigines, and those of African origin, are not entitled to the rights of citizens. Anterior to the adoption of the constitution of the United States, each state had the right to make citizens of such persons as it pleased. That constitution does not authorize any but white persons to become citizens of the United States; and it must therefore be presumed that no one is a citizen who is not white. 1 Litt. R. 334; 10 Conn. R. 340; 1 Meigs, R. 331.      4. A citizen of the United States, residing in any state of the Union, is a citizen of that state. 6 Pet. 761 Paine, 594;1 Brock. 391; 1 Paige, 183 Metc. & Perk. Dig. h.t.; vide 3 Story's Const. Sec. 1687 Bouv. Inst. Index, b. t.; 2 Kent, Com. 258; 4 Johns. Ch. R. 430; Vatt. B. 1, c. Id, Sec. 212; Poth. Des Personnes, tit. 2, s. 1. Vide Body Politic; Inhabitant.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.



 
 
In general usage, a human being; by statute, however, the term can include firms, labor organizationspartnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in Bankruptcy, or receivers.

A corporation is a "person" for purposes of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection of laws and Due Process of Law.

Foreign governments otherwise eligible to sue in United States courts are "persons" entitled to institute a suit for treble damages for alleged antitrust violations under the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 12 et seq.).

Illegitimate children are "persons" within the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The phrase interested person refers to heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries, and any others having a property right in, or a claim against, a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward, or protected person. It also refers to personal representatives and to fiduciaries.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

person n. 1) a human being. 2) a corporation treated as having the rights and obligations of a person. Counties and cities can be treated as a person in the same manner as a corporation. However, corporations, counties and cities cannot have the emotions of humans such as malice, and therefore are not liable for punitive damages. (See: party, corporation)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

person noun autonomous being, being, caput, chap, character, fellow, homo, human, human being, human creaaure, individual,living being, living soul, member of the human race, mortal, mortal body, mortalis, party, somebody, someone, soulAssociated concepts: adult person, artificial person, compeeent person, credible person, disorderly person, fictitious person, injured person, natural person, person aggrieved, person in need of supervision, poor person, third person, unauthorized personSee also: actor, character, individual

Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

PERSON. This word is applied to men, women and children, who are called natural persons. In law, man and person are not exactly synonymous terms. Any human being is a man, whether he be a member of society or not, whatever may be the rank he holds, or whatever may be his age, sex, &c. A person is a man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 137.      2. It is also used to denote a corporation which is an artificial person. 1 Bl. Com. 123; 4 Bing. 669; C. 33 Eng. C. L R. 488; Woodes. Lect. 116; Bac. Us. 57; 1 Mod. 164.      3. But when the word "Persons" is spoken of in legislative acts, natural persons will be intended, unless something appear in the context to show that it applies to artificial persons. 1 Scam. R. 178.      4. Natural persons are divided into males, or men; and females or women. Men are capable of all kinds of engagements and functions, unless by reasons applying to particular individuals. Women cannot be appointed to any public office, nor perform any civil functions, except those which the law specially declares them capable of exercising. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 25.      5. They are also sometimes divided into free persons and slaves. Freemen are those who have preserved their natural liberty, that is to say, who have the right of doing what is not forbidden by the law. A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. Slaves are sometimes ranked not with persons but things. But sometimes they are considered as persons for example, a negro is in contemplation of law a person, so as to be capable of committing a riot in conjunction with white men. 1 Bay, 358. Vide Man.      6. Persons are also divided into citizens, (q.v.) and aliens, (q.v.) when viewed with regard to their political rights. When they are considered in relation to their civil rights, they are living or civilly dead; vide Civil Death; outlaws; and infamous persons.      7. Persons are divided into legitimates and bastards, when examined as to their rights by birth.      8. When viewed in their domestic relations, they are divided into parents and children; husbands and wives; guardians and wards; and masters and servants son, as it is understood in law, see 1 Toull. n. 168; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1890, note.A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.