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STATE OKLAHOMA v. GULF

decided: April 3, 1911.

STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ON THE RELATION OF WEST, ATTORNEY GENERAL
v.
GULF, COLORADO & SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY.



BILL IN EQUITY.

Author: Harlan

[ 220 U.S. Page 291]

 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

The State of Oklahoma, by the present suit, invokes the original jurisdiction of this court for its protection against certain acts, alleged to have been done or threatened to be done by the respective defendants in derogation of its rights as a State. The case has been heard upon demurrers filed by the several defendants. Some of the demurrers proceed upon the specific ground that this court cannot take jurisdiction of the cause, while others add the general ground that the bill does not show any facts entitling the State to the relief sought by the bill.

As the case involves some questions of a grave character, it is proper to set forth with some fullness the grounds upon which the State bases its claim for relief.

It is alleged in the bill that the defendant companies are corporations of States other than Oklahoma, except that the American Express Company is a partnership, composed of individuals who are citizens and residents of New York; that what were formerly the Territory of Oklahoma and the Indian Territory constitute the present State of Oklahoma; that the lands in the Indian Territory, owned by various Indian tribes, were, by agreement or treaties with the United States, to be allotted in severalty among the members of such tribes, with certain exceptions named in the treaties, which it is not necessary to set out here; that by said agreement or treaties the United States agreed to maintain strict laws in said Territory, particularly in the allotted lands, against the introduction, sale, barter or the giving away of liquors and intoxicants of any kind or quality; and, that pursuant to said agreement and treaties Congress, by the act of June 16, 1906, 34 Stat., Pt. 1, 267, c. 3335, ยง 3, made it a condition of the admission of Oklahoma into the Union as a State that it should provide by its constitution that "the manufacture, sale, barter, giving away or otherwise

[ 220 U.S. Page 292]

     furnishing, except as therein provided, of intoxicating liquors within those parts of the proposed State then known as the Indian Territory and the Osage Reservation and within any other parts of the proposed State which existed as an Indian reservation on the first day of January, 1906, should be prohibited for twenty-one years from the date of the admission of the State into the Union, and that in said act no reservation or exception was made whereby any one of the defendants might import into the said named portion of said State or in any other manner furnish any intoxicating liquors whatsoever, and the power to regulate interstate commerce in intoxicating liquor was thereby surrendered to the State of Oklahoma as to said portions of said State; and by the said act it was not provided that intoxicating liquor should be furnished to any person in what was formerly the Indian Territory, including the Osage Reservation and any other parts of the State which existed as Indian reservations on the first day of January, 1906, in the manner and form that the same is now furnished and imported by said defendants, as hereinafter more fully set forth, or in any other manner or form."

The bill also alleged that, by ordinance irrevocable, Oklahoma had accepted the terms and conditions of the act of June 16, 1906, including the provision relating to intoxicating liquors; and thereby the State was obligated in place of the United States, so far as the power was lodged in it, to carry out the treaties and agreements made with the said Indian tribes against the introduction, sale, or in any manner the furnishing of intoxicating liquors in what was formerly the Indian Territory; but that defendants, in violation of the law and the rights of said Indian tribes therein, and to the injury of the State of Oklahoma and its inhabitants have, since November 16, 1867, and up to this time, continuously violated all said provisions against furnishing, carrying and conveying beer, ale,

[ 220 U.S. Page 293]

     wine and intoxicating liquors into Indian Territory; that such violation of law deeply injures and irreparably destroys the good citizenship and property of the State and its inhabitants, and the defendants threaten to continue the same unless restrained; and that in continuing so to do, the defendants and each of them have committed acts that amount to the surrender and abandonment of their corporate right to be engaged and doing business in interstate commerce between the States, and against such acts the plaintiff has no adequate remedy according to the course of the common law.

The State also complains that various persons, about two hundred in number, within its limits (the names of such persons being all set forth in a list made part of the bill) have made payment of the special tax required of liquor dealers under the laws of the United States; that by the above act of Congress of June 16, 1906, it was made a condition precedent to the admission of Oklahoma into the Union that "in its constitution it should provide that the payment of the special tax required of liquor dealers by the United States, of any person within those parts of the proposed State then known as the Indian Territory and the Osage Reservation, and within any other parts of said proposed State which existed as Indian reservations on the first day of January, 1906, should constitute prima facie evidence of the intention of such persons to violate that provision of the act of June 16, 1906, in reference to the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, barter, giving away, or otherwise furnishing intoxicating liquors which it was provided as a condition precedent that the constitution of said proposed State should provide for."

The bill further shows that the State, through its Constitutional Convention, submitted to the popular vote the question of adopting a provision prohibiting the manufacture, ...


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