Elder v. Wood - 208 U.S. 226 (1908)
U.S. Supreme Court
Elder v. Wood, 208 U.S. 226 (1908)
Elder v. Wood
Argued January 9, 1908
Decided January 27, 1908
208 U.S. 226
A valid subsisting mining location, such as the Comstock lode, or an interest therein, is property distinct from the land itself, vendible, inheritable, and taxable as such by the state, notwithstanding the land may be unpatented by the United States.
When the collection of a tax on such an interest is enforced by sale, the tax deed conveys merely the right of possession, and does not affect any interest of the United States, and the construction of the state statutes, and the conformity thereto of the tax levy and sale, are matters exclusively for the state court to determine, and this Court is without jurisdiction to review its decision.
Sections 340, 341 of the laws of Colorado of 1881, taxing interests in unpatented mining claims and making the right of possession the subject of levy and sale, are not in conflict with § 4 of the Colorado Enabling Act of March 3, 1870, 18 Stat. 474, providing that no tax shall be imposed on lands or property of the United States.
Where the federal question below was whether a tax sale deprived the owner of his property without due process of law because the notice, being published on Sunday, was insufficient, and the state court did not pass on that question, but sustained the tax title under the state statutes making tax deeds prima facie evidence and of limitations, the nonfederal grounds are adequate to support the judgment, and this Court is without jurisdiction to review it on writ of error under § 709, Rev.Stat.
37 Colo. 174 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the right of a state to tax the possessory right in unpatented mining claims, are stated in the opinion.