An excellent illustration of the vertical conflict of laws problem involves the ability of nonresident aliens to receive property under American wills. Traditionally, under the American federal system,the acquisition and transmission of property located within a state has been controlled by state law. Yet article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution imposes strict limitations on a state's power to deal with matters having a bearing on international relations, such matters being within the ambit of the national government. The supremacy of the national government in the general field of foreign affairs has been given continuous recognition by the United States Supreme Court.' The issue, then, is whether a state statute governing the capacity of a non-resident alien to inherit property under an American will is unconstitutional as an intrusion by the state into the area of foreign affairs.
Richard N. Hale,
Conflict of Laws -- Constitutionality of State Statutes Governing Ability of Nonresident Aliens to Receive Property Under American Wills: Zschernig v. Miller,
21 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol21/iss4/4