Minidoka & Southwestern R. Co. v. United States,
235 U.S. 211 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Minidoka & Southwestern R. Co. v. United States, 235 U.S. 211 (1914)

Minidoka & Southwestern Railroad Company v. United States


Argued October 29, 30, 1914

Decided November 30, 1914

235 U.S. 211


Under the policy of the government to encourage the building of railroads in the western states, Congress has in some cases granted land to aid in construction and has also provided the means by which those companies not having such grants can, under reasonable conditions, acquire rights of way over public lands.

While the right of way statute only applies to public lands, and therefore does not apply to lands segregated from the public domain by homestead entries, settlers may, under § 2288, Rev.Stat., grant rights of way over land before final proof.

Nothing in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, 32 Stat. 388, affects the provision of 2288, Rev.Stat., permitting a homesteader without patent, but in lawful possession, to grant to a railroad company a right of way across his claim.

The privileges for granting to railroad companies rights of way over homesteaders' land under entry were renewed and extended by the Act of March 3, 1905, c. 1424, 33 Stat. 991.

In this case, held that the various acts of Congress in effect operated to give the consent of the United States to the construction of a railroad as an instrumentality of commerce across the lands of those homesteaders within the limits of the Minidoka Irrigation Project in Idaho who gave deeds for the right of way to the railroad company.

190 F. 491 reversed, and 176 F. 762 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of acts of Congress regarding railroad rights of way and the right of entrymen within the reclamation projects to deed rights of way for railroads, are stated in the opinion.

Page 235 U. S. 215

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