Work v. Louisiana,
269 U.S. 250 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Work v. Louisiana, 269 U.S. 250 (1925)

Work v. Louisiana

No. 5

Argued October 6, 1925

Decided November 23, 1925

269 U.S. 250


1. A suit by a state to restrain the Secretary of the Interior from rejecting the state's claim under the Swamp Land Acts upon an unauthorized ruling of law illegally requiring the state, as a condition precedent, to show that the lands are not mineral in character, is not objectionable as being premature and as invading the Secretary's function to adjudicate the title. P. 269 U. S. 254.

2. In such a suit, the United States, and homestead entrymen claiming the lands, are not indispensable parties defendant. Id.

3. The grants of the Swamp Land Acts of 1849 and 1850 were in praesenti, and gave the grantee states an inchoate title that became perfect, as of the dates of the Acts, when the granted lands had been identified as required and the legal title had passed by approval of the Secretary under the Act of 1849 or the issuing of a patent under the Act of 1850. P. 269 U. S. 255.

4. Neither of these act contains any exception or reservation of mineral lands, and none is to be implied, since, at the time of their enactment, the public policy of withholding mineral lands for disposition only under laws specially including them was not established. Id.

5. The Secretary of the Interior cannot be required by injunction to recognize a state's title under the Swamp Land Acts when he has not as yet determined whether the lands claimed were "swamp or overflowed." P. 269 U. S. 260.

53 App.D.C. 22, 287 Fed. 999, modified and affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia affirming an injunction awarded by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia against the Secretary of the Interior.

Page 269 U. S. 251

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