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Opinion of the Court.
What obstacle was in the way of legislation to supply the omission to make provision for such cases in the original act? If it comes within the category of retrospective legislation, as has been argued, we find nothing in the Constitution limiting the power of Congress to amend or correct omissions in previous acts. It is well settled that where there is no direct constitutional prohibition, a State may pass retrospective laws, such as, in their operation, may affect suits pending, and give to a party a remedy which he did not previously possess, or modify an existing remedy, or remove an impediment in the way of legal proceedings.
Such acts are of a remedial nature, and are the peculiar subject of legislation. They are not liable to the imputation of being assumptions of judicial power.”
The power of a legislature to pass laws giving validity to past deeds which were before ineffectual is well settled. Thus in Watson v. Mercer, 8 Pet. 100, the title to land in controversy was originally in Margaret Mercer, the wife of James Mercer. For the purpose of transferring the title to the husband, they conveyed to a third person, who immediately conveyed to James Mercer. The deed of Mercer and wife bore date of May 30, 1785. It was fatally defective as to the wife, in not having been acknowledged by her in conformity with the provisions of the statute of Pennsylvania of 1770, touching the conveyance of real estate by femmes covert. She died without issue. James Mercer died leaving children by a former marriage. After the death of both parties, her heirs sued his heirs in ejectment for the premises, and recovered. The Supreme Court of the State affirmed the judgment. In 1826 the legislature passed an act which cured the defective acknowledgment of Margaret Mercer, and gave the same validity to the deed as if it had been well executed originally on her part. The heirs of James Mercer thereupon sued her heirs and recovered back the same premises. This judgment was also affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State, and that judgment of affirmance was affirmed by this court.
Watson v. Mercer was cited and followed by this court in Randall v. Kreiger, 23 Wall. 137, where it was held that it was
Opinion of the Court.
competent for the legislature to validate a defective power of attorney to convey land.
Similar principles were recognized in Terry v. Anderson, 95 U. S. 628; Freeland v. Williams, 131 U. S. 405; Baker's Executors v. Kilgore, 145 U. S. 487; Louisiana v. New Orleans, 109 U. S. 285. The case of Green v. Abraham, 43 Ark. 420, was cited in the opinion of the Circuit Court of Appeals. There a mortgage improperly acknowledged had been placed of record, which by reason of the defective acknowledgment was not notice to subsequent purchasers or lienors. Afterwards the mortgaged property was attached under a writ against the mortgagor, and thereafter the legislature validated the record of the mortgage. The mortgagee having proceeded in replevin to recover the attached property from one who claimed it under the attachment, it was held by the Supreme Court of Arkansas that the interest of the attaching creditor in the attached property was not vested, but could be, and that it was in fact displaced by the subsequent enactment validating the record of the mortgage.
Without pursuing the subject further, our conclusion is that no property rights of the plaintiffs in error were impaired by the act of February 3, 1897. Their judgment against Blocker remained unaffected, and the lien of the writ of attachment was not destroyed, but continued to hold any surplus that might have remained after the satisfaction of the mortgage liens. They have no just ground in constitutional law to complain of the action of Congress in giving legal effect to the equitable lien of the mortgages.
Approving the careful opinion of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, reported in vol. 105 Fed. Rep. 293, the judgment of that court is
MR. JUSTICE GRAY and MR. JUSTICE WHITE took no part in the decision.
See volume 186 for decisions without opinions for the time covered by this volume.
ments of the Government, to be regulated by treaty or by act of Con-
ilege of transit across the territory of the United States could only be
tinue, proceeded on the ground of its existence and continuance under
it into effect. Ib.
fusing transit cannot be interfered with by the courts. Ib.
state that the bill was dismissed for want of jurisdiction, no separate
CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.
in the Court of Claims that its opinion might well be adopted as that
of this court. United States v. Borcherling, 223.
shown, to recover from the United States the sum of seven thousand
that court were correct and affirms the judgment. Ib.
of office of all commissioners of the Circuit Courts heretofore appointed
missioners shall then deposit all the records and other official papers
ment of inspectors of mines and the payment of their foes by the
owners of the mines. St. Louis Coal Company v. Illinois, 203.
by reason of its limitation to mines where more than five men aro
employed at any one time. Ib.
times a year, it was held not to be objectionable by reason of the fact
deem it necessary and proper. Ib.
six nor more than ten dollars is not rendered unconstitutional by tho
the inspector. Ib.
did not operate to deprive the lessors of coal mines in the Choctaw
it by the Supreme Court of that State, wbich this court is bound to do,
tution of the United States. Stockard v. Morgan, 27.
to tax people representing owners of property outside the State for the
property to be shipped to persons within the State. Ib.
within its jurisdiction, yet it has no power to tax interstate commerce,
even in the person of a resident of the State. Ib.
follows: "That in all cases where no payment, claim, or demand shall
stitution of the United States. Wilson v. Iseminger, 55.
provide for the erection and maintenance of a system of waterworks
in the contract. Vicksburg Waterworks Co. v. Vicksburg, 65.
pate and prevent a threatened injury, where the damages would be
tution of the United States as to give the Circuit Court jurisdic-
of controversies raised by collision between them were withdrawn from
able by that instrument. Kansas v. Colorado, 125.
rights as an individual owner files a bill against another State to obtain
original jurisdiction of this court may be exercised. Ib.