Coyle v. Smith,
221 U.S. 559 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Coyle v. Smith, 221 U.S. 559 (1911)

Coyle v. Smith

No. 941

Argued April 15, 16, 1911

Decided May 29, 1911

221 U.S. 559


The power to locate its own seat of government, to change the same, and to appropriate its public money therefor, are essentially state powers beyond the control of Congress.

The power given to Congress by Art. IV, § 3, of the Constitution is to admit new States to this Union, and relates only to such States as are equal to each other in power and dignity and competency to exert the residuum of sovereignty not delegated to the Federal Government.

The constitutional duty of Congress of guaranteeing to each State a republican form of government does not import a power to impose upon a new State, as a condition to its admission to the Union, restrictions which render it unequal to the other States, such as limitations upon its power to locate or change its seat of government.

No prior decision of this court sanctions the claim that Congress, in admitting a new State, can impose conditions in the enabling act, the acceptance whereof will deprive the State when admitted of any attribute of power essential to its equality with the other States.

Congress may embrace in an enabling act conditions relating to matters wholly within its sphere of powers, such as regulations of interstate commerce, intercourse with Indian tribes, and disposition of public lands, but not conditions relating wholly to matters under state control such as the location and change of the seat of government of the State.

The Constitution not only looks to an indestructible union of indestructible States, Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 74 U. S. 725, but to a union of equal States as well.

The legislature of Oklahoma has power to locate its own seat of government, to change the same, and to appropriate money therefor, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, 34 Stat. 267, c. 3335, and the ordinance irrevocable of the convention of the people of Oklahoma accepting the same.

113 Pac.Rep. 944, affirmed.

Page 221 U. S. 560

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a legislative act of Oklahoma, providing for the removal of the capital of the State from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, are stated in the opinion.

Page 221 U. S. 562

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