United States v. Title Ins. & Trust Co. - 265 U.S. 472 (1924)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Title Ins. & Trust Co., 265 U.S. 472 (1924)
United States v. Title Insurance & Trust Company
Argued February 28, 1924
Decided June 9, 1924
265 U.S. 472
1. Where there are two grounds upon either of which an appellate court may rest its decision, and it adopts both, the ruling on neither is obiter dictum, but each is the judgment of the court, and of equal validity. P. 265 U. S. 486.
2. A longstanding decision of a doubtful question, which has become a rule of property affecting many land titles, should not be disturbed. Id.
3. The United States sued to establish a perpetual right of Mission Indians to use, occupy, and enjoy part of a confirmed Mexican land grant in California, claiming that the right originated before the grant was made, and had been asserted by open, notorious, and adverse occupancy ever since. The grant had long before been confirmed, and patented by the United States to defendants' predecessors, under the Act of March 3, 1851, c. 41, 9 Stat. 631, which provided for adjudication of private land claims by a commission, with review by the district court and this Court, and declared that claims not presented to the commission within two years should be deemed abandoned and that patents issued on confirmed claims should be conclusive between the United States and the claimants,l but should not "affect the interests of third persons." The claim of the Indians was never presented to the commission by them or by the United States on their behalf. Held, on the authority of Barker v. Harvey, 181 U. S. 481, that the claim of the Indians was abandoned. Id.
288 F. 821 affirmed.
Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court dismissing a bill to quiet title brought by the United States on behalf of certain Indians.