This case arises from the civil forfeiture of ancient Cypriot and Chinese coins under the Cultural Property Implementation Act (“CPIA”), 19 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. The coins are of types that appear on “designated lists” subject to import restrictions. Congress limited the reach of such import restrictions to archaeological objects “first discovered within” and “subject to export control by” a specific State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, and further placed the burden of proof on the Government to establish that such designated material was listed in accordance with these criteria. 19 U.S.C. §§ 2601, 2604, 2610. Congress also ensured such import restrictions are entirely prospective. They only apply to designated archaeological material illicitly exported from the State Party after the effective date of the implementing regulations. Id. § 2606. The questions presented are:
1. Did the courts below violate the Guild’s 5th Amendment Due Process Rights when they authorized the forfeiture of the Guild’s private property without any showing that the Guild’s coins were illicitly exported from Cyprus or China after the effective date of import restrictions?
2. In a civil forfeiture action implicating the Guild’s 5th Amendment Due Process Rights, did a prior decision upholding import restrictions under a highly deferential ultra vires standard of review “foreclose” consideration of legislative history, judicial admissions, and other information relevant to the Government’s burden of proof?
The Guild's Petition for Certiorari in its entirety can be found here.