« AnteriorContinuar »
Opinion of the Court.
plaintiffs in error represented that the land was being acquired for and was to be owned by the children of Ikada, who are natives of the United States and entitled to take and hold such lands. See Estate of Tetsubumi Yano, 188 Cal. 645, 649. The court included in its charge to the jury the above quoted provisions of section 9. Plaintiffs in error assert that the rule of evidence so declared violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and also the treaty between the United States and Japan.
It is not, and could not reasonably be, suggested that the statute is repugnant to the due process clause. It does not operate to preclude any defense. The inference that payment of the purchase price by one from whom the privilege of acquisition is withheld and the taking of the land in the name of one of another class are for the purpose of getting the control of the land for the ineligible alien is not fanciful, arbitrary or unreasonable. There is a rational connection between the facts and the intent authorized to be inferred from them. The statute involves no attempt to relieve the prosecution of the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It merely creates a presumption which may be overcome by evidence sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt. See Yee Hem v. United States, ante, p. 178; Mobile, J. & K. C. R. R. v. Turnipseed, 219 U. S. 35, 43; People v. Rodriguez, 182 Cal. 197.
The statute is not repugnant to the equal protection clause. The rule of evidence applies equally and without discrimination to all persons—to citizens and eligible aliens as well to the ineligible. In the application of the law at the trial, no distinction was made between the citizen and the Japanese. Plaintiffs in error maintain that invalidity results from the fact that, where payment of the purchase price is made by an ineligible alien, the law creates a presumption of a purpose to pre
Opinion of the Court.
vent, evade or avoid escheat, while no such presumption arises where such payment is made by a citizen or eligible alien. But there are reasonable grounds for the distinction. Conveyances to ineligible Japanese are void as to the State and the lands conveyed escheat. Payment by such aliens for agricultural lands taken in the names of persons not of that class reasonably may be given a significance as evidence of intent to avoid escheat not attributable to like acts of persons who have the privilege of owning such lands. The equal protection clause does not require absolute uniformity, or prohibit every distinction in the laws of the State between ineligible aliens and other persons within its jurisdiction. The State has a wide discretion and may classify persons on bases that are reasonable and germane having regard to the purpose of the legislation. Truax v. Corrigan, 257 U. S. 312, 337. This is well illustrated by the Alien Land Laws. Terrace v. Thompson, supra, 218; Porterfield v. Webb, supra, 233; Webb v. O'Brien, supra, 324; Frick v. Webb, supra, 333. The fact that in California all privileges in respect of the acquisition, use and control of the land for agricultural purposes are withheld from ineligible Japanese constitutes a reasonable and valid basis for the rule of evidence.
It is the third paragraph of Article I of the treaty that plaintiffs in error contend is violated. The treaty provision is, “ The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall receive, in the territories of the other, the most constant protection and security for their persons and property, and shall enjoy in this respect the same rights and privileges as are or may be granted to native citizens or subjects, on their submitting themselves to the conditions imposed upon the native citizens or subjects.” It is plain that the treaty does not furnish any protection to Japanese subjects in this country against the application of a rule of evidence created
Statement of the Case.
by state enactment that is not given them by the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. As the law does not contravene these constitutional provisions, it must be held not to violate the treaty.
SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY v. UNITED
APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.
No. 285. Argued November 19, 20, 1924.-Decided May 11, 1925.
1. Where a railroad, for transporting applicants for enlistment in
the Army, discharged, retired and furloughed soldiers, and civilian employees of the War Department, rendered its bills at land-grant rates, knowing that according to a ruling of the Comptroller of the Treasury such persons were to be regarded as “troops of the United States " for whose transportation only land-grant rates could be paid by disbursing officers, and accepted payment of its bills on that basis without protest, held that, though the Comptroller's ruling was erroneous, the railroad was bound by acquiescence and could not recover the difference between the amount received and the larger amount which it would have been lawfully
entitled to charge under its tariff. P. 268. 2. But aliter where the bills, though rendered at land-grant rates,
bore a short form of protest; "Amounts claimed in this bill accepted under protest "; or a form more extended and explanatory; since by these the government officers were sufficiently notified that payment at the lower rates would not be accepted in final
settlement. P. 268. 3. Where, however, the railroad rendered most of its bills with in
dorsed protests, but a considerable number during the same period without them, as to these latter it was bound by its acceptance of
the land-grant rates. P. 270. 59 Ct. Cls. 36, reversed.
APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of Claims rejecting the appellant's claim for the difference between
Opinion of the Court.
amounts paid by the Government for transportation at land-grant rates and the lawful tariff charges.
Mr. William R. Harr, with whom Mr. Charles H. Bates was on the briefs, for appellant.
Mr. Merrill E. Otis, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, with whom the Solicitor General was on the brief, for the United States.
MR. JUSTICE SANFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Southern Pacific Company, having carried certain persons as passengers at the request of the Government and received payment for such transportation at landgrant rates, brought this action to recover the difference between the rates thus paid and the full tariff rates. The Court of Claims, on its findings of fact, being of opinion that the claimant by its course of proceeding and acceptance of the land-grant rates was precluded from the recovery of the balance of the full tariff rates, entered judgment dismissing the petition. 59 Ct. Cls. 36.
The facts found, shortly stated, are as follows: The claimant in 1911 became a party to the so-called “landgrant equalization agreements” with the Quartermaster General, by which it agreed (subject to certain exceptions not here material) to transport troops of the United States at the net rates effective over land-grant lines, that is, at fifty per cent. of the rates charged private parties. Thereafter, between March 1, 1912, and June 18, 1916,the claimant transported, upon Government requests, a number of applicants for enlistment in the Army, discharged, retired and furloughed soldiers, and civilian employees in the War Department.
See United States v. Union Pacific Railroad, 249 U. S. 354, note 1.
The date on which the so-called “ interterritorial military arrangement” became effective as to the claimant and the other railroads.
It had been previously ruled by the Comptroller of the Treasury that such persons were to be regarded as troops of the United States and that their transportation could be paid for only at land-grant rates; and disbursing officers, as the claimant knew, were authorized to make payments on that basis only. Because of this ruling the claimant presented its bills for all such transportation on the form of voucher prescribed for transportation at landgrant rates,' in which it stated in appropriate columns the
gross amount ” of the regular fares, the "amount to be deducted on account of land-grant,” and, in the final column, the "amount claimed ” (the gross amount less the land-grant deduction); and certified the accounts to be correct. All these vouchers were presented to the Disbursing Quartermaster at San Francisco, and were paid by him in the amounts claimed; and all these payments were accepted by the claimant.
Prior to January 1, 1914, the claimant, except in one instance, accepted payment of these bills without protest or other objection.
After January 1, 1914, however, there was written, typewritten or stamped by the claimant upon a part of the land-grant vouchers, before they were paid, a socalled short form of protest, reading as follows: "Amounts claimed in this bill accepted under protest.” This form of protest was understood by the clerk who handled these bills in the office of the Disbursing Quartermaster as being " addressed to the matter of land-grant rates," for the purpose of reserving the claimant's right to present a further claim for full commercial fares to the accounting officers or the courts. The claimant used this form of protest on 201 vouchers between January 1 and October 1, 1914;- but 303 of the vouchers presented and paid during this period bore no protest.
* See 14 Comp. Dec. 967.