Republican River Bridge Company v. Kansas Pacific Railroad Company
92 U.S. 315 (1875)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Republican River Bridge Company v. Kansas Pacific Railroad Company, 92 U.S. 315 (1875)

Republican River Bridge Company v. Kansas Pacific Railroad Company

92 U.S. 315

Syllabus

1. The decision of the highest state court in which such decision could be had, adverse to a right under an act of Congress set up in a chancery suit or in any other case, where all the evidence becomes a part of the record in that court, the same record being brought here, can be reexamined upon the law and the facts, as far as may be necessary to determine the validity of

Page 92 U. S. 316

that right. In a common law action, where the facts are passed upon by a jury, or by a state court, or by a referee, to whom they have been submitted by waiving a jury, where the finding is by the state law conclusive, this Court has the same inability to review those facts as it has in a case coming from a circuit court of the United States.

2. Congress, by joint resolution, granted to the defendant, subject to the approval of the President, "fractional section one" on the west side of a military reservation, provided the usefulness of the latter would not, in his opinion, be impaired for military purposes. The President, by an executive order, set aside to the defendant said fractional section as designated on a map of survey accompanying the letter of the Secretary of the Interior. The court which tried the facts having found that the fractional section was inside of the reservation, was in the possession of the defendant, and was the land claimed in this action, held that the title thereto was vested in the defendant. Held: 1. That the finding being upon a mixed question of law and fact, and largely depending for its correctness on surveys not produced here, and there being no plat in the record, was not open to inquiry; 2. that looking to the manifest intent of the joint resolution, and to the fact that the grant was not to be consummated until the President had determined that the usefulness of the reservation would not be thereby impaired, the description in the joint resolution meant such a fractional section within the reservation on its west side; 3. that the title of the defendant became absolute on the issue of the President's order, and had relation back to the date of the passage of the joint resolution.

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