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the system under which the powers of Wheaton, 279, it is stated, that the Suthis tribunal are exercised.
preme Court unisormly acts under a deIt may be proper to examine in what sire to conform its decisions to those of light the decision of the State Courts, in the State Courts, on their local laws.' giving a construction to their own stat- The Supreme Court holds in the highutes have been considered by this Court. est respect decisions of state courts upon
In the case of McKeen vs. Delancy's local laws forming rules of property 2 Lessee, reported in 5 Cranch, 22, this Wheaton, 316. in constructing local Court held, that the acknowledgment of statutes respecting real property, the a deed before a justice of the Supreme courts of the Union are governed by the Court, under a statute which required decisions of the state tribunals, 6 Wheathe acknowledgment to be made before ton, 119. The Court say in the case of a Justice of the Peace, having been Elmandorf vs. Taylor et al, 10 Wheaton, long practised in Pennsylvania, and 152, that the courts of the United sanctioned by her tribunals, must be States in cases depending on the laws of considered as within the statute.
a particular state, will in general, adopt The Chief Justice in giving the opin- the construction which the courts of the ion of the Court in the case of Bodley state have given to those laws.' This vs. Taylor 5 Cranch, 221, says, in refere course is founded upon the principle supence to the jurisdiction of a court of posed to be universally recognised that equity had this been a case of the the judicial department of every governfirst impression, some contrariety of ment, where such department exists, is opinion would perhaps have existed on the appropriate organ for construing the this point. But it has been sufficiently legislative acts of that government. shown, that the practice of resorting to In 7 Wheaton, 361, the Court again dea Court of Chancery in order to set up an clared that the statute laws of the states equitable against the legal title, received must furnish the rule of decision to the in its origin the sanction of the Court of federal courts, as far as they comport Appeals, while Kentucky remained a with the constitution of the United part of Virginia, and has been so con- States, in all cases arising within the refirmed by an uninterrupted series of de- spective states; and a fixed and receiycisions, as to be incorporated into their ed construction of their respective stalsyste in, and to be taken into view in the ute laws, in their own courts, makes a consideration of every title to lands in part of such statute law. The Court that country. Such a principle cannot again say, in 12 Wheaton, 153, that this now be shaken.
Court adopts the local law of real propIn the case of Taylor vs. Brown, 5 erty as ascertained by the decisions of Cranch, 255, the Court say, in reference the state courts, whether these decisions to their decision in the case of Bodley are grounded on the construction of the vs. Taylor “this opinion is still thought statutes of the state, or form a part of the perfectly correct in itself. Its applica- unwritten law of the state which has tion to particular cases, and indeed its become a fixed rule of property.' Quobeing considered as a rule of decision tations might be multiplied, but the above on Kentucky titles, will depend very
will that this court have uniformly adoptmuch on the decisions of that country. ed the decisions of the state tribunals, For in questions respecting title to respectively in the construction of their real estate, especially, the same rule statutes. That this has been done as a oghi certainly to prevailin both courts.' matter of principle, in all cases where
This Court in laying down the requi- the decision of a state court has become sitez of a valid entry in the case of Mas. a rule of property. sie os. Watts, 6 Cranch, 165, say, these In a great majority of the causes principles have been laid down by the brought before the federal tribunals, courts, and must be considered as expo- they are called to enforce the laws of sitions of the statute. A great propor
the states. The rights of parties are tion of the landed property of the coun.
determined under those laws, and it try depends on adhering to them. would be a strange perversion of princi
In 9 Cranch, 87, the Court say, that, ple, if the judicial exposition of those in cases depending on the statute of a laws, by the state tribunals, should be state, and more especially in those re- disregarded. These expositions constispecting titles to lands, the federal tute the law and fix the rule of property. courts adopt the construction of the Rights are acquired under this rule, and State, where that construction is settled it regulates all the transactions which and can be ascertained. And in 5 come within its scope.
It is admitted in the argument, that why may not the same effect be given this court in giving a construction to a to the last exposition of a local law by local law, will be influenced by the de. the state court? The exposition forms cisions of the local tribunals : but it is part of the local law and is bindiog or contended, that when such a construc- all the people of the state, and its idle. tion shall be given in conformity to rior judicial tribunals. It is emphatical. those decisions, it must be considered ly the law of the state ; which the fedfinal. That is the state shall change the eral court, while sitting within the state, rule, it does not comport either with the and this court, when a case is brought consistency or dignity of this tribunal to belore them, are called to enforce. If adopt the change. Such a course it is the rule as settled, should prove inconinsisted, would recognise in the state venient or injurious to the public intercourts a power to revise the decisions of ests, the legislature of the state may this couri and 10 fix the rule of property modify the law or repeal it. differently from its solemn adjudications. If the construction of the highest ju. That the federal court when sitting with- dicial tribunal of a state form a part of in a state, is the court of that state, be- its statute law, as much as an enactment ing so constituted by the constitution by the legislature, how can this Court and the laws of the Union: and as such, make a distinction between them? has an equal right with the state courts There could be no hesitation in so modo to fix the construction of the local law. ifying our decisions as to conform to any
On all questions arising under the legislative alteration in a statute; and constitution and laws of the Union, this why should not the same rule appls, court may exercise a revising power, where the judicial branch of the state and its decisions are final and obligatory government, in the exercise of its & on all other judicial tribunals, state as knowledged functions, should by cutwell as federal. A state tribunal has a struction, give a different effect to a stát. right to examine any such questions and ute, from what had at first been given to to determine them, but its decision must it. The charge of inconsistency might conform to that of the Supreme Court, or be made with more force and propriety the corrective power may be exercised against the federal tribunals for a disreBut the case is very different where a gard of this rule, than by contorining question arises under a local law. The to it. We profess to be bound by the decision of this question by the highest local law, and yet they reject the espo. judicial tribunal of a state, should be sition of that law which forms a part of considered as final by this Court: not it. It is no answer to this objection, because the state tribunal, in such a that a different exposition was formerly case, has any power to bind this Court; given to the act which was adopted by but because in the language of the Court, the federal court. The inquiry is, what in the case of Shilby et al. vs. Guy, 11 is the settled law of the state at the time Wheaton, 361, "a fixed and received the decision is made. This constitutes construction by a state in its own courts, the rule of property within the state, by makes a part of the statute law.' which the rights of litigant parties must
The same reason which influences this be determined. Court to adopt the construction given to As the federal tribunals profess to be the local law, in the first instance, is governed by this rule, they can never not less strong in favor of following it in act inconsistently by enforcing it. li the second, if the state tribunal should they change their decision, it is because change the construction. A reference the rule on which that decision was is here made, not to a single adjudica- founded has been changed. tion, but to a series of decisions which The case under consideration illus. shall settle the rule. Are not the inju- trates the propriety and necessity of this rious effects on the interests of the citi- rule. It is now the settled law of Tenzens of a state, as great, in refusing to nessee, that an adverse possession of seradopt a change of construction, as in re. en years under a deed for land that has fusing to adopt the first construction. A been granted, will give a valid title. refusal in the one case as well as in the But by the decision, such a possession, other, has the effect to establish, in the under such evidence of right, will not state, two rules of property.
give a valid title. In addition to the Would not the change in the construc- above requisites, this court have decided tion of a law of the United States, by that the tenant must connect his deed this tribunal, be obligatory on the state with a grant. It therefore follows, that courts? The statute as last expounded, the occupant whose title is protected would be the law of the Union : and under the statutes, before a state tribu.
nal is unprotected by them, before the from a state where the construction of federal court. The plaintiff in eject- the saine words had been long settled ment, after being defeated in his action to mean literally • beyond seus,' would before a state court, on the above con- not this Court conform to it? And might struction, to insure success has only to not the same arguments be used in such bring an action in the federal court. a case, as are now urged against conThis may be easily done by a change of forining to the local construction of the his residence, or a bona fide conveyance law of Tennessee. Apparent inconsis. of the land.
tences in the construction of the statule Here is a judicial conflict, arising laws of the states, may be expected to from two rules of property in the same arise from the organization of our judistate, and the consequences are not only cial systems: but an adherence by the deeply injurious to the citizens of the federal courts to the exposition of the state, but calculated to engender the local law, as given by the courts of the most lasting discontents. It is there- state, will greatly tend to preserve harfore essential to the interests of the inony in the exercise of the judicial country, and to the harmony of the ju- power in the state and federal tribunals. dicial action of the federal and state This rule is not only recommended by governments, that there should be but strong considerations of propriety, growone rule of property in a state.
ing out of our system of jurisprudence, In several of the States, the English but it is sustained by principle and austatule of limitations has been allopted, thority. with various moditications; but in the As it appears to this Court, that the saving clause, the expression beyond construction of the statutes of limitations the seas,' is retained. These words in is now well settled, ditterently from some of the states are construed to mean what was supposed to be rule at the out of the State,' and in others a literal time this Court decided the case of Patconstruction has been given them. ton's Lessee vs. Easton, and the case of
In the case of Murray's Lessee vs. Ba- Powell's Lessce vs. Green; and as the inker, et al, 3 Wheaton, 510, this court de- structions of the circuit court were gove cided, that the expressions, • beyond erned by these decisions, and not by the seas' and out of the state are analo- settled law of the state, the judginent gous; and are to have the sanie must be reversed, and the cause remandstruction. But suppose the same ques- ed for further proceedings. tion should be brought before this Court, Mr Justice Baldwin dissented.
The State of New Jersey, vs. the People of the Stute of New
At January Term, 1831, an order was er filed in this case by the Attorney made giving the state of New York General of New York, as being an apleave to appear in this case on the sec- pearance for the state, he being a pracond day of this term and answer the jitioner in this court: and therefore that coinplainants' bill; and if there should the demurrer is regularly filed. If the be no appearance, that the Court world Attorney General did not so mean it, it proceed to hear the cause on the part of is not a paper which can loe considered as the complainants, and to decree on the in the cause, or be placed on the files of matter of the bill. On the first day of the Court. We say this now, that the the term, a demurrer to the complai. Attorney General may have due notice nants' bill was filed, which was signed if he did not intend to enter any appear• Green C. Bronson, attorney general ance for the state : it being otherwise a of New York. No other appearance
paper not to be received. was entered on the part of the defend- The demurrer then being admitted as ants. Mr Chief Justice delivered the containing an appearance by the State, opinion of the Court. The Court have the Court is of opinion, that it amounts had the return made in this case under to a compliance with the order at the consideration. It considers the demurr. last term. In that order the word ' an
swer,' is not used in a technical sense, as an answer to the charges in the bill under oath : but an answer, in a more general sense, to the bill. A demurrer is an answer in law to the bill, though not in a techpical sense an answer ac
cording to the common language of practice.
The Court, therefore, direct the de. murrer to be set down for argument, on the first Monday of March of this term, according to the motion of the plaintiffs.
THE CHEROKEE CASE.
OPINION OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, AT JANUARY
TERM, 1832, DELIVERED BY MR CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL, TOGETHER WITH THE OPINION OF MR JUSTICE MCLEAN, IN THE CASE OF SAMUEL A. WORCESTER, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR, VS. THE STATE OF GEORGIA: WITH A STATEMENT OF THE CASE, EXTRACTED FROM THE RECORDS OF THE SU. PREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Samuel A. Worcester, Plaintiff in Error, vs. The State of Georgia.
A writ of error was issued from the Georgia, Gwinnett county, ss. supreme court of the United States, di
1, John G Park, clerk of the superior rected to the honorable the judges of court for the county of Guinnett, and the superior court for the county of
state aforesaid, do certify that the annex• Gwinnett, in the state of Georgia,' com
ed and foregoing is a full and complete manding them to send to the said su
exemplification of the proceedings and preme court of the United States, the judgment had in said court, againsi Sam. record and proceedings in the said supe- uel A. Worcester, one of the defendants rior court in the county of Gwinnett, in the case therein mentioned as of rec. between the state of Georgia, plaintifi, ord in the said superior court. and Samuel A. Worcester, defendant, Given under my hand, and the seal of on an indictment in that court.'
the court, this 28th day of Nov. 1831. This writ of error was returnable on the second Monday of January, 1832,
JOHN G. PARK, clerk. and was attested by the honorable Hen. ry Baldwin, one of the associate justices
The following is a copy of the record · of the supreme court of the United States. Georgia, Gwinnett county : A citation was issued, directed to the
The grand jurors, sworn, chosen, and state of Georgia,' dated October 27,
selected for the county of Gwiunett, 1831, and signed by the honorable Hen. In the name and behalf of the citi. ry Baldwin, by which the said state
zens of Georgia, charge and accuse Eliwas cited to show cause why the error zur Buller, Samuel A. Worcester, James in the judgment against Samuel A Wor- Trott, Samuel Mays, Surry Eaton, Auscester, in the writ of error mentioned,
tin Copeland, and Edward D. Losure, if there was any error, should not be ar- white persons of said county, with the rested, and why speedy justice should
offence of residing within the limits of not be done to the parties in that behalf. the Cherokee nation, without a liThe citation was served on his excel
cense : '
For that the said Elizur But. lency Wilson Lumpkin, yovernor of the ler, Samuel A. Worcester, James Troit, state of Georgia, on the 24th November, Samuel Mays, Surry Eaton, Austin 1831, and on Charles J. Jenkins, Esq. Copeland, and Edward D. Losure, white attorney general of the said state, on
persons as aforesaid, on the filteenth day the 220 November, 1831.
of July, eighteen hundred and thirtyone, The wiit of error was returned to the
did reside in that part of the Cherokee supreme court of the United States, with
nation attached by the laws of said State the record of the proceedings in the to the said county, and in the county court for the county of Gwinnett annexed aforesaid, without a license or permit thereto, and with the following certificate, from his excellency the governor of said under the seal of the court.
state, or from any agent authorised by
his excellency the governor aforesaid to contrary to the laws of said state, the
Jno. W. A. SANFOD, Pros'r.
True bill:- John S. WILSON, Foreman.
Gwinnett SUPERIOR COURT, SEPTEMBER TERM, 1831.
[Indictment for a misdemeanor.]
And the said Samuel A. Worcester, the 24th day of October, 1804 ; at Tel. in his own proper person, comes and lico, on the 25th day of October, 1805 ; says, that this court ought not to take at Tellico, on the 27th day of October, further cognizance of the action and 1805 ; at Washington city, on the 7th prosecution aforesaid, because, he says, day of January, 1805 ; at Washington that, on the fifteenth day of July, in the city, on the 22d day of March, 1816 ; at year 1831, he was, and still is, a resident the Chickasaw council house, on the 14th in the Cherokee nation ; and that the said day of September, 1816 ; at the Cherosupposed crime, or crimes, and each of kee agency, on the 8th day of July, them, were committed, if committed at 1817, and at Washington city, on the all, at the town of New Echota, in the 27th day of February, 1819 ; all which said Cherokee nation, out of the juris- treaties have been duly ratified by the diction of this court, and not in the senate of the United States of America; county of Gwinnett, or elsewhere within and, by which treaties, the United States the jurisdiction of this court. And this of America acknowledge the said Cherdefendant saith, that he is a citizen of okee nation to be a sovereign nation, authe state of Vermont, one of the United thorised to govern themselves, and all States of America, and that he entered persons who have settled within their the aforesaid Cherokee nation in the ca- ierritory, free from any right of legislapacity of a duly authorised missionary tive interference by the several states of the American board of commission composing the United States of Ameriers for foreign missions, under the au- ca, in reference to acts done within their thority of the President of the United own territory; and, by which treaties, States, and has not since been required the whole of the territory now occupied by him to leave it: that he was, at the by the Cherokee nation, on the east of time of his arrest, engaged in preaching the Mississippi, has been solemnly guar. the gospel the Cherokee Indians, and anteed to them; all of which treaties are in translating the sacred scriptures into existing treaties at this day, and in full their language, with the permission and force. By these treaties, and particular approval of the said Cherokee nation, ly by the treaties of Hope well and and in accordance with the humane pol. Holston, the aforesaid territory is acicy of the government of the United knowledged to lie without the jurisdic-' States, for the civilization and improve- tion of the several states composing the ment of the Indians; and that his resi- union of the United States; and, it is dence there, for this purpose, is the res- thereby specially stipulated, that the idence charged in the aforesaid indict- citizens of the United States shall not enment: and this defendant further saith, ter the aforesaid territory, even on a visit, that this prosecution the state of Geor- without a passport from the governor of gia ought not to have or maintain, be- a state, or from some one duly authorcause, he saith, that several treaties have, ised thereto, by the president of the froin tiine to time, been entered into be- United States; all of which will more tween the United States and the Chero- fully and at large appear, by reference kee nation of Indians, to wit : at Hope- to the aforesaid treaties. And this de. well, on the 28th day of November, fendant saith, that the several acts 1785 ; at Holston, on the 2d day of Ju- charged in the bill of indictment, were ly, 1791 ; at Philadelphia, on the 26th done, or omitted to be done, if at all, day of June, 1794; at Tellico, on the within the said territory so recognis2d day of October, 1798; at Tellico, on ed as belonging to the said nation,