Work v. Braffet,
276 U.S. 560 (1928)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Work v. Braffet, 276 U.S. 560 (1928)

Work v. Braffet

No. 344

Argued March 8, 1928

Decided April 9, 1928

276 U.S. 560


1. Under Rev.Stats. § 2347, and Rule I of the Regulations of the Land Department of March 6, 1903, an application to purchase coal

Page 276 U. S. 561

lands within a previously surveyed school section conferred upon the applicant merely the status of a contestant endeavoring to overcome the presumptive title of the state upon the ground (in this case) that the mineral character of the land was known before the school grant attached. P. 276 U. S. 565.

2. This amounted to no more than a privilege of seeking to restore the land applied for to the public domain, and success in the contest would not have brought the contestant a preferential right of entry, there being no statute or regulation securing him such a preference. Id.

3. Such a privilege was subject to withdrawal by the United States pending the contest, and was withdrawn by the Act of February 25, 1920, which provides that coal lands shall be disposed of only by lease, excepting only (§ 37)

"valid claims existent at the date of the passage of this Act and thereafter maintained in compliance with the laws under which initiated, which claims may be perfected under such laws,"

etc. Id.

4. The exception in the Leasing Act above quoted embraces only such substantial claims as would, on compliance with the provisions of the former law, ripen into ownership. P. 276 U. S. 566.

57 App.D.C.192 reversed.

Certiorari, 275 U.S. 514, to a judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia sustaining a mandamus to the Secretary of the Interior directing him to issue a patent for coal lands applied for by the present respondent upon payment of the purchase price.

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