United States v. Bellingham Bay Boom Co.
176 U.S. 211 (1900)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Bellingham Bay Boom Co., 176 U.S. 211 (1900)

United States v. Bellingham Bay Boom Company

No. 21

Submitted December 18, 1899

Decided January 29, 1900

176 U.S. 211

Syllabus

The power of Congress to pass laws for the navigation of public rivers and to prevent any and all obstructions therein cannot be questioned.

When the Attorney General acts under the authority conferred by the River and Harbor Act of September 19, 1890, c. 907, he has the right to call upon the court, upon proper proofs' being made, to enjoin the continuance of any obstruction not authorized by statute, and the court has jurisdiction, and it is its duty to decide whether the existing obstruction is or is not affirmatively authorized by law.

In such inquiry, the court is bound to decide whether the boom, as existing, is authorized by any law of the state, when such law is claimed to be a justification for its creation or continuance.

There is no doubt that the boom in question in this case violates the statute under which it was built, because it does not allow free passage between the boom and the opposite shore for boats or vessels as provided for in the state law.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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