Pennington v. United States
231 U.S. 631 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennington v. United States, 231 U.S. 631 (1914)

Pennington v. United States

No. 582

Submitted December 15, 1913

Decided January 5, 1914

231 U.S. 631


The proviso in the back pay and bounty provision in the Sundry Civil Appropriation Act of March 4, 1907, c. 2918, 34 Stat. 1295, 1356, directing accounting officers to follow decisions of this Court and of the Court of Claims without regard to former settlements, did not confer a new cause of action upon the holders of other claims against the United States which had been adversely ruled upon theretofore and remove the bar of the statute of limitations from such claims.

The back pay and bounty provision in the Sundry Civil Appropriation Act of 1907 related to certain enumerated claims and the proviso also related exclusively to those claims, and is not to be regarded as independent legislation.

This Court will not construe a provision in an appropriation act in regard to an enumerated class of claims as expressing the intent of Congress to unsettle past administrative action as to all claims against the government; such a radical intent would not be expressed in an obscure and uncertain manner.

Even though it may have become a modern practice in Congress to adopt independent legislation by attaching "riders" to appropriation bills, the judiciary is not relieved from the old duty of correctly interpreting the statute when enacted.

A claim of an officer of the United States for extra per diem rations under the Act of July 5, 1838, and which had been disallowed in 1890 by the accounting officers, was not reinstated by the proviso in the back pay and bounty provision of the Sundry Civil Appropriation Act of March 4, 1907.

48 Ct.Cl. 408 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of statutes regulating pay and allowances of officers of the army of the United States, are stated in the opinion.

Page 231 U. S. 632

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