Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Alaska

Recently, a new fad has started where one buys a square foot of land in Scotland, and then becomes a legal "lord". However, the United States Constitution seems to forbid any titles of nobility under the Title of Nobility clause. Can Americans still legally become a "lord", or are they forbidden by their government?

Asked on 1/21/11, 7:24 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Terrence Thorgaard Thorgaard Law Firm

Article I, Section 9 states that "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any ... Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State." This doesn't prohibit a citizen, other than a Federal official, from accepting a title. Instead, it does two things and two things only:

1. It prohibits the U.S. government (not a foreign government) from granting a title of nobility.

2. It prohibits a federal official from accepting such a title (without congressional approval).

Section 10 states that "No State shall ... grant any Title of Nobility." Similarly, this doesn't prohibit a private citizen from accepting such a title, it merely prohibits a state (as opposed to a foreign government) from granting one.

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Answered on 1/26/11, 12:55 pm

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