Webster v. Fall,
266 U.S. 507 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Webster v. Fall, 266 U.S. 507 (1925)

Webster v. Fall

No. 149

Argued December 11, 1924. Decided January 5, 1925

266 U.S. 507


1. A suit lacking a necessary party defendant should be dismissed on that ground without deciding the merits. P. 266 U. S. 510.

Page 266 U. S. 508

2. Under the Act of March 3, 1921, § 4, c. 120, 41 Stat. 1249, the power and responsibility in respect of the making of payments to incompetent Osage Indians are with the Secretary of the Interior, and neither the Superintendent of the agency nor a disbursing agent has any primary authority in the matter. P. 266 U. S. 510.

3. Therefore, the Secretary is a necessary party to a suit by a member of the Osage Tribe to compel payments and attacking as unconstitutional a statute and orders and regulations of the Secretary under which payment was withheld. Id., Gnerich v. Rutter, 265 U. S. 388.

4. Questions which lurk in the record, neither ruled upon nor brought to the attention of the Court, are not to be considered as having been so decided as to constitute precedents. P. 266 U. S. 511.


Appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing, for want of equity, a bill for a mandatory injunction to compel payments of money to the plaintiff, an incompetent Osage Indian.

Page 266 U. S. 509

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