Withers v. BuckleyAnnotate this Case
61 U.S. 84 (1857)
U.S. Supreme Court
Withers v. Buckley, 61 U.S. 20 How. 84 84 (1857)
Withers v. Buckley
61 U.S. (20 How.) 84
This Court has no jurisdiction, under the 25th section of the Judiciary Act of 1789, of the question whether or not a law of a state is in opposition to the Constitution of that state.
Therefore, where it is alleged that the constitution of a state declares that private property shall not be taken for public uses, and that the highest court of the state has sustained the validity of a law which violates this constitutional provision, this Court has no power to review that decision.
The fifth article of the amendments of the Constitution of the United States was intended to prevent the government of the United States from taking private property for public uses without just compensation, and was not intended as a restraint upon the state governments.
A law of the State of Mississippi for improving the navigation of a river which empties itself into the Mississippi is not in conflict with the act of Congress providing for the admission of that state into the Union, which act guarantees the free navigation of the Mississippi River.
Being admitted upon a footing of equality with the other states, the State of Mississippi had the rightful power to change the channels or courses of rivers within the interior of the state for purposes of internal improvement.
And moreover, the law in question does not propose to affect the navigation of the Mississippi River, but only a small stream running into it.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.