Morris v. Hitchcock
194 U.S. 384 (1904)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Morris v. Hitchcock, 194 U.S. 384 (1904)

Morris v. Hitchcock

No. 272

Submitted April 29, 1904

Decided May 16, 1904

194 U.S. 384

Syllabus

The constitutionality of the Curtis Act, 30 Stat. 495, for the protection of the Indian Territory, has been settled by this Court, and is not now open to question. Stephens v. Cherokee Nation,174 U. S. 445; Cherokee Nation v. Hitchcock,187 U. S. 294.

The Act of the Chickasaw Nation, approved by the Governor May 5, 1902, and by the President of the United States May 15, 1902, prescribing privilege or permit taxes, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Interior of June 3, 1902, governing the introduction by noncitizens of livestock in the Chickasaw Nation are valid, and not an exercise of arbitrary power, and they do not in any respect violate the Constitution of the United States.

This is an equity suit, begun in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia by Edwin T. Morris and nine other persons, all averred to be citizens of the United States, and not Indians, against Ethan A. Hitchcock, as Secretary of the Department of the Interior, William A. Jones, as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, J. George Wright, as Indian inspector, and J. Blair Shoenfelt, as United States Indian agent, resident at the City of Muscogee, in the Indian Territory. Certain of the complainants were averred to be residents either of the State of Texas or of the State of Missouri, and others were averred to be residents of the Indian Territory.

It was alleged that each complainant was the owner in his own right of not less than five hundred head of cattle and horses, of the value of not less than fifteen dollars per head, which were grazing upon land in the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, under contracts with individual members of said tribe, holding such lands as their approximate shares

Page 194 U. S. 385

upon allotments to be made. The purpose of the suit was to obtain a decree perpetually enjoining said defendants from seizing, molesting, or removing the cattle and horses of plaintiffs from the Indian Territory, as it was averred they threatened to do under the pretended authority of an act of the Legislature of the Chickasaw Nation and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior, which were averred to be repugnant to the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The statute and regulations referred to are copied in the margin. *

Page 194 U. S. 386

The bill of complaint was demurred to upon the grounds following: (a) want of jurisdiction in equity because of adequate

Page 194 U. S. 387

right to relief at law; (b) defect of necessary parties, in that neither the Chickasaw Nation or tribe, or any member

Page 194 U. S. 388

or representative thereof, was joined as a defendant, and (c) want of equity.

After argument, the court overruled the first and second grounds of demurrer, and sustained the third ground. The complainants elected to stand upon their bill of complaint, and a decree was consequently entered dismissing the bill. On appeal, the decree was affirmed by the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia. 21 App.D.C. 565. The cause was then brought to this Court.

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