Morrison v. Work,
266 U.S. 481 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Morrison v. Work, 266 U.S. 481 (1925)

Morrison v. Work

No. 112

Argued October 24, 1924

Decided January 5, 1925

266 U.S. 481


1. A suit to enjoin the Secretary of the Interior and other executive officers from carrying out acts of Congress upon the ground that they unconstitutionally deprive the plaintiff and the other members of an Indian tribe of property held for them as individuals by the United States cannot be entertained in the face of a substantial defense that the property is, in truth, tribal property subject to control by the United States as guardian of Indians, since, for the adjudication of this issue, the United States is an indispensable party, and it cannot be sued without consent of Congress. P. 266 U. S. 485.

2. Under Act of January 14, 1889, and by agreement with the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, reservation land was ceded to

Page 266 U. S. 482

the United States, which undertook to sell it, deposit the proceeds in the Treasury to the credit of those Indians, pay interest in specified ways to them and on their behalf, and ultimately divide the principal among the Indians then entitled. Held that one of the Indians has no standing to maintain a class suit to restrain executive officials from alleged excess of their powers in disposing of the funds and interest, since the trust is the obligation of the United State, and the right of the Indians is merely to have the United States administer it properly. P. 266 U. S. 486.

3. Courts have no power, under such circumstances, to interfere with the performance of the functions committed to an executive department of the government by a suit to which the United state is not, and cannot be made, a party. Id.

4. A mandatory injunction is granted not as a matter of right, but in the exercise of a sound legal discretion. P. 266 U. S. 490.

53 App.D.C. 331, 290 F. 306, affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, affirming a decree of the Supreme Court of the District which granted a motion to dismiss appellant's amended bill for an injunction.

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