Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the national law, nor relieve the locator each mining claim, recognizing, however, the from the obligation of performing, in good essential features of the rules framed by faith, those acts which are declared by it to miners, and, among others, that which rebe essential to the maintenance and per- quired work on the claim for its development petuation of the estate acquired by location. as a condition of its continued ownership." Within these limits the state may legislate.” See also Erhardt v. Boaro, 113 U. S. 527,

What is the ground upon which the va- 28 L. ed. 1113, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 560, in which lidity of these supplementary regulations (p. 535, L. ed. p. 1116, Sup. Ct. Rep. p. 564,) prescribed by a state is challenged ? It is is this declaration: insisted that the disposal of the public lands “And although since 1866 Congress has, is an act of legislative power, and that it is to some extent, legislated on the subject, not within the competency of a legislature prescribing the limits of location and approto delegate to another body the exercise of priation and the extent of mining ground its power; that Congress alone has the right which one may thus acquire, miners are still to dispose of the public lands, and cannot permitted, in their respective districts, to transfer its authority to any state legisla- make rules and regulations not in conflict ture or other body. The authority of Con- with the laws of the United States or of the gress over the public lands is granted by state or territory in which the districts are § 3, article 4, of the Constitution, which situated, governing the location, manner of provides that "the Congress shall have recording, and amount of work necessary to power to dispose of and make all needful hold possession of a claim." rules and regulations respecting the terri- Now, if Congress has power to delegate to tory or other property belonging to the a body of miners the making of additional United States." In other words, Congress regulations respecting location, it cannot be is the body to which is given the power to doubted that it has equal power to delegate determine the conditions upon which the similar authority to a state legislature. public lands shall be disposed of. The na- Finally, it must be observed that this leg. tion is an owner, and has made Congress islation was enacted by Congress more than the principal agent to dispose of its prop- thirty years ago. It has been acted upon as erty. Is it inconceivable that Congress, hav- valid through all the mining regions of the ing regard to the interests of this owner, country. Property rights have been built shall, after prescribing the main and sub- up on the faith of it. To now strike it stantial conditions of disposal, believe that down would unsettle countless titles and those interests will be subserved if minor work manifold injury to the great mining and subordinate regulations are intrusted interests of the Far West. While, of course, to the inhabitants of the mining district or consequences may not determine a decision, state in which the particular lands are sit-yet, in a doubtful case, the court may well uated? While the disposition of these lands pause before thereby it unsettles interests so is provided for by congressional legislation, many and so vast,-interests which have such legislation savors somewhat of mere been built up on the faith, not merely of conrules prescribed by an owner of property gressional action, but also of judicial decifor its disposal. It is not of a legislative sions of many state courts sustaining it, character in the highest sense of the term, and of a frequent recognition of its validity and, as an owner may delegate to his prin- by this court. Whatever doubts might excipal agent the right to employ subor- ist if this matter was wholly res integra, dinates, giving to them a limited discretion, we have no hesitation in holding that the so it would seem that Congress might right question must be considered as settled by fully intrust to the local legislature the de-prior adjudications, and cannot now be retermination of minor matters respecting the opened. disposal of these lands.

The Montana statute (Montana Codes AnFurther, $ 2324 distinctly grants to the notated, § 3612), among other suppleminers of each mining district the power to mentary regulations, provided that the demake regulations, and the validity of this claratory statement filed in the office of the grant has been expressly affirmed by this clerk of the county in which the lode or court. In Jackson v. Roby, 109 U. S. 440, claim is situated must contain “the di441, 27 L. ed. 990, 991, 3 Sup. Ct. Rep. 301, mensions and location of the discovery shaft, we said:

or its equivalent, sunk upon lode or placer “The act of Congress of 1866 gave the claims," and "the location and description sanction of law to these rules of miners, so of each corner, with the markings thereon." far as they were not in conflict with the laws A failure to comply with these regulations of the United States. 14 Stat. at L. 251, was the ground upon which the supreme chap. 262, § 1. Subsequent legislation spec- court of Montana held the location invalid. ified with greater particularity the modes of It is contended that these provisions are too location and appropriation and extent of stringent, and conflict with the liberal pur

0.

pose manifested by Congress in its legisla enforcement of a lien upon the proceeds of tion respecting mining claims. We do not two policies of insurance in the hands of a think that they are open to this objection. trustee in bankruptcy. The district court They certainly do not conflict with the let-filed findings of fact and its conclusions of ter of any congressional statute; on the con law, in pursuance to the third subdivision trary, are rather suggested by $ 2324. It of General Order in Bankruptcy 36; and an may well be that the state legislature, in its appeal was taken upon the question of jurisdesire to guard against false testimony in diction alone, under the supposed authority respect to a location, deemed it important of the 5th section of the judiciary act of that full particulars in respect to the dis- March 3, 1891 [26 Stat. at L. 827, chap. 517, covery shaft and the corner posts should be, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 549]. at the very beginning, placed of record. In substance the pertinent facts stated in Even if there were no danger of false tes- the findings were as follows: timony, it was not unreasonable to guard D. D. Lucius, a resident citizen of Alaagainst the resurrection of incomplete loca- bama, was, in voluntary proceedings, adtions when, by subsequent explorations, min-judged a bankrupt, and the case was sent ing claims of great value have been un- to a referee. In

In his schedules, Lucius covered.

claimed as exempt drugs to the value of We see no error in the rulings of the Su- $1,000 and $1,000 of a balance of $1,150 due preme Court of Montana, and its judgment upon the aforementioned policies of insuris affirmed.

ance. The policies subsequently came into the possession of the trustee in bankruptcy.

The Cawthon-Coleman Company were (196 U. S. 149)

creditors of Lucius for about the sum of D. D. LUCIUS, Appt.,

$1,000, evidenced by a note containing a

waiver of exemption of personal property, CAWTHON-COLEMAN COMPANY.

and secured by a mortgage upon the home

stead of Lucius, which mortgage contained Direct appeal from district court when a stipulation for insurance for the benefit jurisdiction is in issue.

of the mortgagees. The two policies above

referred to were obtained in consequence of A decision of a court of bankruptcy upholding the stipulation referred to, and while in

its jurisdiction to adjudicate the validity of force, and before the adjudication in bankan alleged equitable lien upon property which ruptcy, the dwelling insured was destroyed it decided to be an asset of the estate in by fire. Claiming, by reason of the facts bankruptcy, and not exempt property of the just stated, an equitable lien upon the probankrupt, does not create a question of ju- ceeds of the insurance, the Cawthon-Colerisdiction which will sustain a direct appeal to the Federal Supreme Court under the act man Company filed a petition in the bankof March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. at L. 827, chap. ruptcy proceedings to establish and enforce 517, U. s. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 549), since their alleged lien. During the pendency of by the express terms of the bankruptcy act this proceeding the trustee in bankruptcy of 1898 (30 Stat. at L. 546, chap. 541, U. S. collected the balance due upon the policies. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 3421), § 2, subd. 11, The trustee reported an allowance of the jurisdiction is conferred upon courts of bankruptcy to determine all claims of bankrupts exemption out of such proceeds, as claimed to their exemptions.

by the bankrupt, and shortly afterwards the

bankrupt filed a plea denying jurisdiction [No. 110.]

in the court to hear and determine the claim

of lien. This plea was overruled by the refSubmitted December 13, 1904. Decided eree, who also refused to confirm the allowJanuary 3, 1905.

ance of the exemption claimed by the bank

rupt, and an order was made by the referee A

PPEAL from the District Court of the directing the trustee to pay to the Cawthon

United States for the Southern District Coleman Company on the mortgage indebtof Alabama to review a decree enforcing a edness the sum of $1,001.40 out of the insurlien on property in the hands of the trus-ance proceeds. Thereafter, to quote from tee in bankruptcy. Dismissed for want of the findings, “upon a review by the district jurisdiction.

judge sitting in bankruptcy, of the referee's See same case below, 124 Fed. 455. decision, the judge affirmed it, and rendered

a decree asserting that the bankruptcy court Statement by Mr. Justice White: had jurisdiction to hear and determine this

This is an appeal from a decree of the dis- matter, and granted the relief prayed by the trict court of the United States for the petition of Cawthon-Coleman Company." southern district of Alabama, sitting in This appeal on the question of jurisdiction bankruptcy, establishing and directing the was then taken direct to this court.

Messrs. Harry Pillans, William James | bankruptcy court, while subject to correcJohnson, and Pillans, Hanaw, & Pillans for tion in the mode appropriate for the correcappellant.

tion of errors (Lockwood v. Exchange Bank, No counsel opposed.

190 U. S. 294, 47 L. ed. 1061, 23 Sup. Ct.

Rep. 751), does not create a question of juMr. Justice White, after making the risdiction proper to be passed upon by this foregoing statement, delivered the opinion court by a direct appeal under the provisions of the court:

of the act of March 3, 1891. By the express terms of subdivision 11 of First Nat. Bank v. Klug, 186 U. S. 203, § 2 of the bankruptcy act of 1898 [30 Stat. 204, 46 L. ed. 1127, 1128, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. at L. 546, chap. 541, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, 899, and cases cited. It necessarily results p. 3421], jurisdiction is conferred upon from the foregoing that, as the bankruptcy courts of bankruptcy to determine all claims court determined that the proceeds of the of bankrupts to their exemptions. When, insurance policies in the hands of the trustherefore, as in the case at bar, property of tee were assets of the estate in bankruptcy, the bankrupt has come into the possession and not exempt property of the bankrupt, of the trustee in bankruptcy, and the bank- the jurisdiction existed to proceed to adjudirupt has asserted in the bankruptcy court a cate the validity of an alleged equitable lien claim to be entitled to a part or the whole upon such property. Hutchinson v. Otis, of such property, as exempt property, the 190 U. S. 552, 555, 47 L. ed. 1179, 1181, 23 bankruptcy court necessarily is vested with Sup. Ct. Rep. 778. jurisdiction to determine, upon the facts be- As, therefore, upon the record before us, fore it, the validity of the claimed exemp- the jurisdiction of the court was not in istion. An erroneous decision against an as- sue within the meaning of the act of March serted right of exemption, and a conse-3, 1891, the direct appeal to this court was quently erroneous holding that the property not properly brought, and the order must forms assets of the estate in bankruptcy, to be appeal dismissed. be administered under the direction of the

[ocr errors]

IN

(196 U. S. 93) A. L. SMALLEY and F. McLellan, Plffs. in | 1899, execution was issued on the judgment Err.,

and levied on the land mentioned, under

which, after due advertisement, it was sold GEORGE F. LAUGENOUR and Jane at public auction to the respondents for the Laugenour.

sum of $532.15, being the amount then due

on the judgment. Thereafter the sale was Error to state court-Federal question. confirmed by the court, and after the time

for redemption had expired, a sheriff's deed d decision of a state court sustaining a home- was executed and delivered to the pur

stead exemption claimed under the state stat-chasers, which they caused to be recorded. utes, which rests on the effect, as res judicata, on May 10, 1899, three days before the exof an order of a court of bankruptcy sustaining such exemption in proceedings begun prior ecution sale took place, the appellant Geo. to a sale of the property to satisfy the lien F. Laugenour filed in the United States disof a general judgment, cannot be reviewed in trict court for the district of Washington the Federal Supreme Court, where the only his voluntary petition in bankruptcy, in the Federal right specially claimed, if any, was schedule to which he listed the land in conone of immunity from the discharge in bankruptas.

troversy, claiming the same as exempt un

der the bankruptcy act. On May 11, 1899, [No. 97.]

the referee in bankruptcy, to whom the proceedings had been referred, adjudged the pe

titioner a bankrupt, and thereupon gave to Submitted November 28, 1904. Decided

the creditors of the bankrupt shown in the January 3, 1905.

schedule attached to the petition, among

whom were the respondents, the formal noN ERROR to the Supreme Court of the tice required by the bankruptcy act, notify

State of Washington to review a judging them of the adjudication of bankruptcy, ment which reversed a judgment of the Su of the time and place fixed for the first perior Court of Lincoln County, in that meeting of the creditors, that they might State, in favor of plaintiffs in an action of attend at such meeting, prove their claims, ejectment, and remanded the cause, with di- examine the bankrupt, and transact such rections to enter judgment for defendants. other business as should properly come beDismissed for want of jurisdiction.

fore the meeting. None of the creditors apSee same case below, 30 Wash. 307, 70 peared at the time fixed for the meeting, viz., Pac. 786.

June 5, 1899, and no trustee was elected or

appointed, the referee finding that no necesStatement by Mr. Chief Justice Fuller: sity existed therefor. On August 9, 1899,

This was an action of ejectment com- the bankruptcy court entered an order dismenced in the superior court of Lincoln charging the bankrupt from all debts and county, Washington, by A. F. Smalley and F. claims made provable against the bankrupt’s McLellan against George F. Laugenour and estate; and on August 12 ‘regularly made Jane Laugenour (with two others, who sub- an order in said bankruptcy proceedings, sequently ceased to be parties), to recover setting aside to said bankrupt, as exempt possession of certain real estate situated in under the act of Congress relating to banko that county. The action was tried by the ruptcy, the real estate hereinbefore decourt without a jury, which filed findings of scribed, and awarding said reai estate to the fact and conclusions of law, and rendered said bankrupt.' The court further found judgment for plaintiffs, whereupon defend that since the execution sale the appellants ants Laugenour carried the case by appeal had been in possession of the real estate, to the supreme court of Washington. The claiming to be the owners of the same; and judgment was there reversed and the cause for several years last past had resided in remanded with directions to enter judgment Spokane county, Washington, and that the for appellants, defendants below. 30 Wash. real property, during the time, had been oc307, 70 Pac. 780. This writ of error was cupied by the defendant Harry Gilliland as then brought.

their tenant. On the facts so found it ruled The facts were stated by that court in that the respondents were the owners and brief as follows:

entitled to the possession of the premises, “The appellants are husband and wife, and and entered judgment accordingly." acquired the land in controversy as early as the year 1885. On March 16, 1895, the re- Il essrs. Charles S. Voorhees, Reese H. spondents and one L. J. Hutchings, as part- Voorhees, H. A. P. Myers, and W. T. Warners, recovered a judgment in the superior ren for plaintiffs in error. court of Lincoln county on a community Messrs. W. C. Keegin, Herman D. Crow, debt against the appellant Geo. F. Laugen- and James A. Williams for defendants in our for the sum of $363.45. On April 12, 'error.

Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the ruptcy court as having been rendered in the opinion of the court:

exercise of the jurisdiction with which it The state supreme court, after calling at- was vested. tention to the statute of the state permit- Plaintiffs in error were notified of the ting a head of a family to select from his proceedings in bankruptcy, as provided by or her real property a homestead of limited the bankruptcy act, and, if they had desired value, and exempting it from the liens of to contest the claim to exemption, they general judgments and from execution or might have done so, or could have invoked forced sale thereunder (Ballinger's Code, $ $ the supervision and revision of the order by 5214 et seq.), and to previous rulings of the the circuit court of appeals; but they did court that the selection might be made at not do that, and could not question its vaany time before sale (Wiss v. Stewart, 16 lidity in the state courts, unless, indeed, it Wash. 376, 47 Pac. 736), and that an ex- were absolutely void, which is not and could ecution sale thereof after such selection was not be pretended. ineffectual to pass title to the purchaser The bankruptcy court is expressly vested (Wiss v. Stewart; Asher v. Sekofsky, 10 with jurisdiction "to determine all claims of Wash. 379, 38 Pac. 1133), said: “If, there- bankrupts to their exemptions.” ($ 2, cl. fore, the property in question was exempt | 11.) Where there is a trustee, he sets apart from execution at the time the sale was made the exemptions, and reports thereon to the under the execution issued on the respond court ($ 47, cl. 11); where no trustee has ents' judgment, the respondents acquired no been appointed, under general order XV. the title thereto by their purchase at the execu- court acts in the first instance. tion sale, and consequently have no title Section 6 of the bankruptcy act provided : on which they can maintain the present ac- "This act shall not affect the allowance to tion."

bankrupts of the exemptions which are preAnd the court held that the order of the scribed by the state laws in force at the time district judge of the United States for the of the filing of the petition in the state district of Washington, sitting in bank- wherein they have had their domicil for the ruptcy, awarding the property to Lauge- six months or the greater portion thereof nour as property exempt from the claims of immediately preceding the filing of the pehis creditors, and which related back to the tition.” [30 Stat. at L. 548, chap. 541, U. time of the filing of the petition in bank- S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 3424.] ruptcy, which was prior to the date of the The rights of a bankrupt to property as attempted sale, was a judgment conclusive exempt are those given him by the state as between the parties that the property was statutes, and if such exempt property is not so exempt at that date.

subject to levy and sale under those statThe state court was of opinion that utes, then it cannot be made to respond unLaugenour and his wife might have pleaded der the act of Congress. and proved facts showing that the property In one of the paragraphs of the reply of was exempt from execution at the time of plaintiffs in error (plaintiffs in the court the sale, making the issue directly in the of original jurisdiction) to the answer of state court; but, as they chose to rely on defendants it was asserted that, on the day the principle of res judicata, that is, or their judgment was recovered, Laugenour the adjudication by the bankruptcy court, and his wife were the owners of the real eshaving jurisdiction of person and estate, in tate in question, and the judgment became a proceeding in bankruptcy in which the a lien thereon, and that "said lien, which judgment of Smalley and McLellan was culminated in the aforesaid sale of real esprovable, the court gave due force and ef- tate to plaintiffs, was obtained and created fect to that adjudication.

pursuant to said suit, and more than four The jurisdiction of this court to review months prior to the filing of the alleged pethe final judgments and decrees of a state tition in bankruptcy;" and it is argued that court rests on § 709 of the Revised Statutes this amounted to a special assertion of an (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 575), and in immunity under the bankruptcy act. But this instance must be derived from the third immunity from what? Nothing more, at division of that section, if it exist at all. the best, than immunity from the discharge And on the face of this record we cannot in bankruptcy; not from the exemptions aufind that plaintiffs in error specially set thorized by the state statute. And so Ful- . up or claimed any title, right, privilege, or lerton, J., speaking for the state supreme immunity under the Constitution, or any court, said: “Lastly, it is said that the orstatute of, or authority exercised under, the der of the court setting apart the property United States, which was decided against by as exempt does not purport to, nor does it the state court. What seems to be com- in law, affect existing liens upon the propplained of is that the state supreme court erty set apart as exempt, and, unless the accepted the judgment of the Federal bank- 'liens thereon be such as the law avoids of

« AnteriorContinuar »