Alabama v. Schmidt - 232 U.S. 168 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
Alabama v. Schmidt, 232 U.S. 168 (1914)
Alabama v. Schmidt
Argued January 12, 1914
Decided January 26, 1914
232 U.S. 168
The Act of March 2, 1819, c. 47, § 6, 3 Stat. 489, under which Alabama became a state, vested the legal title of section 16 of every township in the state absolutely, although the statute declared that it was for the use of schools.
While the trust created by a compact between the states and the United States that section 16 be used for school purposes is a sacred obligation imposed on the good faith of the state, the obligation is honorary, and the power of the state where legal title has been vested in it is plenary and exclusive. Cooper v. Roberts, 18 How. 173.
Statutes of limitation providing for title by adverse possession against the state after a specified period are a valid exercise of the power of the state, and apply to lands conveyed to the state absolutely by the United States although for the use of schools. Nor. Pac. Railway Co. v. Townsend, 190 U. S. 267, distinguished.
A statute passed by a state disposing of lands conveyed in the Enabling Act by the United States to be used by the state for school lands
held not to impair the obligation of the contract created by the acceptance of the enabling act. The state has the right to subject such lands in its hands to the ordinary incidents of title. Cooper v. Roberts, 18 How. 173.
The facts are states in the opinion.