Jefferson v. Fink
247 U.S. 288 (1918)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jefferson v. Fink, 247 U.S. 288 (1918)

Jefferson v. Fink

No. 242

Argued March 22, 25, 1918

Decided June 3, 1918

247 U.S. 288

Syllabus

The policy and legislation of Congress respecting the descent of Indian allotments, particularly in the Five Civilized Tribes, reviewed.

An allotment made under the Supplemental Creek Agreement (Act of June 30, 1902, c. 1323, 32 Stat. 500) before the admission of the State of Oklahoma, to a Creek Freedman who died after the state's admission, descends (as among claimants who are all members of the Creek Tribe) according to the law of that state.

The Oklahoma Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, substituted in this respect the law of the state -- i.e., the law of the Territory of Oklahoma as extended to, and as it might be changed by, the state -- for the law of Arkansas, Mansfield's Digest, c. 49, which had been adopted provisionally in the Supplemental Agreement (§ 6) and in prior acts, and this substitution is recognized by the Act of May 27, 1908, c. 199, 35 Stat. 312, § 9.

In designating the Arkansas law as the rule of descent, the Supplemental Agreement was not intended and did not operate to confer any vested right of inheritance in respect of allotments made and deeded while such designation remained in force.

A prospective heir acquires no vested right in the land before the death of the ancestor, and the rules of descent are subject to be changed meanwhile by the lawmaking power.

53 Okl. 272 affirmed.

Page 247 U. S. 289

The case is stated in the opinion.

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