Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States,
269 U.S. 55 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 55 (1925)

Old Dominion Land Company v. United States

No. 55

Argued October 16, 1925

Decided November 16, 1925

269 U.S. 55


1. The general purpose of a statute to authorize acquisition of property only to carry out existing agreements of the government will not control a specific provision therein for the acquisition of property specifically mentioned, as to which there was no agreement. Act of March 8, 1922, c. 100, § 1, 42 Stat. 418. P. 269 U. S. 63.

2. The United States erected costly buildings on land which it leased during the war, and, after expiration of the term, began proceedings to condemn the land on the last day of a period allowed by the lease for removing improvements. Held that the buildings were the property of the United States, and not to be considered in fixing the land owners' compensation. P. 269 U. S. 65.

3. Therefore, the Act of March 8, 1922, supra, in excluding compensation for such improvements on the land in question, is not unconstitutional. Id.

4. Whether the purpose of saving the loss of buildings erected on leased land by the government may be a public purpose justifying condemnation of the land is not here decided. P. 269 U. S. 66.

5. Although the purpose moving the Secretary of War to request condemnation proceedings may not be a public one, yet, if the authorizing Act import an implied declaration of purpose by Congress to acquire the land for military uses, which are public, this must be accepted, if not shown to involve an impossibility. P. 269 U. S. 66.

Page 269 U. S. 56

6. Jurisdiction over a condemnation suit brought at the request of the Secretary of War under the Act of August 1, 1888, is not dependent upon the precise shade of opinion expressed by him in his letter of request to the Attorney General concerning the necessity or advantage to the government of procuring the land in question. P. 269 U. S. 66.

296 F. 20 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a judgment of the district court condemning land in a proceeding brought by the United States.

Page 269 U. S. 63

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