Payne v. Central Pacific Ry. Co. - 255 U.S. 228 (1921)


U.S. Supreme Court

Payne v. Central Pacific Ry. Co., 255 U.S. 228 (1921)

Payne v. Central Pacific Railway Company

No. 17

Argued October 6, 1920

Decided February 28, 1921

255 U.S. 228

Syllabus

1. A selection duly made and perfected by the proper railroad company, under the California-Oregon Railroad Company land grant act (July 25, 1866, c. 242, 14 Stat. 239) of indemnity lands open at the time to such selection, and in lieu of place land actually lost, is not to be likened to the initial step toward acquiring title under a public land law by future compliance, but rather to the concluding step by which, after full compliance, the right to the title is earned. P. 255 U. S. 234.

2. The ultimate obligation of the government in respect of the indemnity lands is on the same plane as that respecting the lands in place; the only difference is in the mode of identification, lands in place being identified by filing the map of definite location, indemnity lands by selections made in lieu of losses in the place limits. P. 255 U. S. 236.

3. In providing that such selections shall be made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, the act merely subjects them to the general rule that the administrative execution of all public land laws is to be under his supervision and direction, but clothes him with no discretion to enlarge or curtail the rights of the grantee or to substitute his judgment for the will of Congress manifested in the act. P. 255 U. S. 236.

4. The Act of June 25, 1910, c. 421, 36 Stat. 847, applies to "public lands," and does not authorize the withdrawal as a power site of lands duly selected under the California-Oregon Grant, supra. P. 255 U. S. 237.

5. A suit by a railroad company against the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the General Land Office to enjoin them from cancelling such an indemnity selection held not a suit against the United States. P. 255 U. S. 238.

6. The decree should require the defendants to dispose of the selection on its merits, without reference to the power site withdrawal, rather than forbid cancellation of the selection. P. 255 U. S. 238.

46 App.D.C. 374 affirmed with a modification.

Page 255 U. S. 229

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 255 U. S. 231



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