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The Elizabeth Morgan Act is an act of the 104th United States Congress. It was originally introduced as H.R. 1855, by Rep. Thomas M. Davis. It was passed as part of the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1997 (H.R. 3675), Pub.L. 104–205. The Elizabeth Morgan Act was declared unconstitutional as a bill of attainder in 2003.[1][2]


In 1989, Rep. Frank Wolf introduced the bill that became the District of Columbia Civil Contempt Imprisonment Limitation Act, H.R. 2136. That legislation was proposed to change a feature of District of Columbia law that permitted indefinite detention for civil contempt, such as had been experienced by Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, who was in contempt for refusing to allow her daughter unsupervised visitation with the child's father.[3] He again involved himself in the Elizabeth Morgan case when he co-sponsored the bill that became the Elizabeth Morgan Act.[4]

Passed in 1996, the Elizabeth Morgan Act permitted Hilary Foretich, who by then called herself Ellen Morgan, to decide whether or not to see her father. The 14-year-old returned with her mother to the United States, but declined to see her father. The father, Eric Foretich, sued in 1997, and the law was overturned as a bill of attainder by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2003. This had no practical effect on Hilary, who was by then 21 and could choose for herself whether or not to see her father.[4][5][6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Doris R. Foretich, et al. v. United States, 351 F.3d 1198 (D.C.App. 2003)
  2. ^ Leonning, Carol D. (December 17, 2003). "Appeals Court Rules Against Morgan Law". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ H. Rpt. 101-98, Report to Accompany H.R. 2136, p.3
  4. ^ a b "Court strikes down law passed for mother who hid daughter". CNN. Associated Press. December 16, 2003. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2004.
  5. ^ Henry, Emily (February 4, 2009), "Morgan vs. Foretich Twenty Years Later", LA Weekly, Los Angeles, retrieved June 30, 2016
  6. ^ Carbone, June (June 1, 2007). "Family Law Armageddon: The Story of Morgan v. Foretich". Social Science Research Network. SSRN 983770. Retrieved June 10, 2010
  7. ^ Sanger, Carol (2007). Family Law Stories. Foundation Press. ISBN 978-1599410203.