Ward v. Love County
253 U.S. 17 (1920)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ward v. Love County, 253 U.S. 17 (1920)

Ward v. Board of Commissioners of Love County

No. 224

Submitted March 11, 1920

Decided April 25, 1920

253 U.S. 17

Syllabus

The jurisdiction of this Court to review a judgment of a state court the effect of which is to deny a federal right cannot be avoided by placing such judgment on nonfederal grounds which are plainly untenable. P. 253 U. S. 22.

Certain allotments belonging to Indians in Oklahoma, which by federal right were exempt from taxation, were assessed by county officials, while suits, of which they had full knowledge and in one of which they were defendants, were being litigated in behalf of all such allottees, to maintain the exemption (Choate v. Trapp, 224 U.S.

Page 253 U. S. 18

665), and, in response to demands, accompanied by threats of advertisement and sale which were carried out in other case, the allottees paid the taxes to avoid such sales and the imposition of heavy penalties, but did so under protest, denying the validity of the taxation. Held:

(1) That the payment were clearly made under compulsion, and that no statutory authority was necessary to enable or require the county to refund the money (p. 253 U. S. 23).

(2) The fact that part of the money, after collection, was paid over by the county to the state and other municipalities, and the absence of a state statute making the county liable for taxes so paid, did not alter the county's obligation to restore the full sums to the allottees. P. 253 U. S. 24.

The application of the state statute of limitations, not having been discussed by the state court, is not dealt with here or affected by the decision. P. 253 U. S. 25.

68 Okla. ___ reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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