California v. Arizona - 440 U.S. 59 (1979)
U.S. Supreme Court
California v. Arizona, 440 U.S. 59 (1979)
California v. Arizona
No. 78, Orig.
Argued January 9, 1979
Decided February 22, 1979
440 U.S. 59
To resolve a dispute over the ownership of certain lands, California seeks to invoke this Court's original jurisdiction in an action to quiet title against Arizona and the United States, both of which contend that the United States has not consents to be a defendant and that therefore California's motion for leave to file a bill of complaint must be denied. Title 28 U.S.C. § 209a(a) permits the United States to be named as a defendant in an action to adjudicate a disputed title to real property in which the United States claims an interest other than a security interest or water rights; and 28 U.S.C. § 1346(f) gives the federal district courts "exclusive original jurisdiction" of actions under § 2409a to quiet title to real property in which an interest is claimed by the United States.
Held: Under § 2409a(a), the United States has waived its sovereign immunity to suit in this case, and hence there is no bar to the suit. The legislative history of § 1346(f) shows no intent by Congress to divest this Court of jurisdiction over such actions in cases otherwise within its original jurisdiction, an attempt that would raise grave constitutional questions. The section did no more than assure that such jurisdiction was not conferred upon the courts of any State. Pp. 440 U. S. 65-68.
STEWART, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.