WEYERHAEUSER V. HOYT, 219 U. S. 380 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Weyerhaeuser v. Hoyt, 219 U.S. 380 (1911)

Weyerhaeuser v. Hoyt

No. 24

Argued April 27, 28, 1910

Restored to docket for reargument December 19, 1910

Reargued January 19, 20, 1911

Decided February 20, 1911

219 U.S. 380


It was the purpose of Congress, as evidenced by the original Northern Pacific Land Grant Act of July 2, 1864, c. 217, 13 Stat. 365, and the joint resolution of May 31, 1870, 16 Stat. 378, extending the indemnity limits, to confer substantial rights to the lands within the indemnity limits in lieu of those lost within place limits.

The right of the company to lieu lands lawfully embraced in selections filed with the Secretary of the Interior excluded lands to which rights of others had attached before the selection and also excluded

Page 219 U. S. 381

the right of others to appropriate lands so embraced in such selections pending action by the Secretary.

The power of the Secretary to approve selections is judicial in its nature, and implies the duty to determine as of the time of filing the selection, and the doctrine of relation applies to decisions as to validity of such selections.

In this case, held that the company's rights to lieu lands embraced in a selection were superior to those of a purchaser under the Timber and Stone Act who filed pending final decision by the Secretary and between the time of decision of the Secretary holding that the selections were unlawful and the subsequent reversal of that decision, and that the final decision related back to the date of the original selection. Sjoli v. Dreschel, 199 U. S. 564, distinguished.

General expressions in every opinion are to be taken in connection with the case in which those expressions are used. If they go beyond the case, they may be respected, but they are not controlling when the very point is presented in a subsequent case.

General expressions in an opinion such as those in Sjoli v. Dreschel, 199 U. S. 564, will not be made the basis for overthrowing a uniform rule of the Land Department, involving destructive effects upon property rights existing under different conditions.

The contention in this case, overruled by the Secretary, that the company was not entitled to lieu lands within indemnity limits because not on the same side of railroad as the place lands lost, held to be without merit.

Where a matter regarding selection of lieu land is wholly within the jurisdiction of the Secretary deciding it, this Court will assume that the facts on which the decision rested were properly proved.

Humbird v. Avery, 195 U. S. 485, followed as to construction of provisions of Sundry Civil Act of July 1, 1898, c. 546, 30 Stat. 597, 620, and decision of Secretary in this case sustained; but quaere, and not decided, as to effect of such provisions on purchasers under the Timber and Stone Act.

Where the object of the bill is to charge the defendant as trustee of land included in lieu limits of a railway grant for the complainant, if it appears that a valid selection was made, proof that defendant's grantor never acquired title to the land would not establish complainant's right to it.

161 F.3d 4 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Northern Pacific Land Grant Acts, are stated in the opinion.

Page 219 U. S. 382

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