On Feb. 19, 2019, the Supreme Court denied the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild’s petition for certiorari. See https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/DocketFiles/html/Public/18-767.html
That petition asked the Court to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision that treats import restrictions on ancient Cypriot and Chinese coins under the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) as embargoes. The Guild had argued the plain meaning of the statute and the Guild’s Fifth Amendment Takings and Due Process rights require the CPIA to be read to only apply to coins of types on designated lists proven to be illicitly exported from Cyprus or China after the effective date of government regulations. The Fourth Circuit instead approved the forfeiture of Cypriot and Chinese coins of types on designated lists imported into the United States after the effective date of the applicable regulations, i.e., an embargo of all coins of restricted types rather than targeted, prospective import restrictions that do not impact the purchase of coins from the legitimate marketplace abroad.
Denials of certiorari have no precedential value. The Fourth Circuit’s opinion is only binding within its jurisdiction (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina). Nevertheless, the decision will likely be cited as precedent elsewhere, and the archaeological lobby and the US cultural bureaucracy will likely pitch it as approving broad executive authority in the area.
CPO finds it frustrating that broad declarations of executive authority that find little support in statutory language and raise constitutional concerns only seem to provoke public outrage and judicial scrutiny selectively. That in turn also raises the fundamental question whether Fifth Amendment Takings and Due Process rights are as jealously guarded today as other constitutional rights. Or, maybe this is just another example where private property rights-- which were of great importance to the "Founding Fathers" -- are being eroded further without much notice from the general public and the media.