UNITED STATES V. HAMMERS, 221 U. S. 220 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hammers, 221 U.S. 220 (1911)

United States v. Hammers

No. 314

Argued April 12, 13, 1911

Decided May 15, 1911

221 U.S. 220


Under the Desert Land Act of March 3, 1877, c. 107, 19 Stat. 377, as added to by the Act of March 3, 1891, c. 561, 26 Stat. 1096, a desert land entry is assignable.

Where a statute is so ambiguous as to render its construction doubtful, the uniform practice of the officers of the department whose duty has been to construe and administer the statute since its enactment and under whose constructions rights have been acquired is determinatively persuasive on the courts.

There is confusion between the original Desert Land Act of 1877 and the act as amended in 1891 as to whether entries can be assigned, and the Court turns for help to the practice of the Land Department in construing the act, and that has uniformly been since 1891 that entries were assignable.

Page 221 U. S. 221

The facts, which involve the construction of Desert Land Acts of 1877 and 1891 and the assignability thereunder of entries of desert lands, are stated in the opinion.

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