Cameron v. United States, 205

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation40 S.Ct. 410,64 L.Ed. 659,252 U.S. 450
Docket NumberNo. 205,205
PartiesCAMERON et al. v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date19 April 1920

252 U.S. 450
40 S.Ct. 410
64 L.Ed. 659
CAMERON et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 205.
Argued January 29 and 30, 1920.
Decided April 19, 1920.

Page 451

Messrs. Wm. C. Prentiss, of Washington, D. C., and Joseph E. Morrison, of Phoenix, Ariz., for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 451-454 intentionally omitted]

Page 454

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Nebeker, for appellee.

Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit by the United States to enjoin Ralph H. Cameron and others from occupying, using for business purposes, asserting any right to, or interfering with the public use of, a tract of land in Arizona, approximately 1,500 feet long and 600 feet wide, which Cameron is claiming as a lode mining claim, and to require the defendants to remove therefrom certain buildings, filth and refuse placed thereon in the course of its use by them as a livery stable site and otherwise. In the District Court there was a decree for the United States, and this was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 250 Fed. 943, 163 C. C. A. 193.

The tract is on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, is immediately adjacent to the railroad

Page 455

terminal and hotel buildings used by visitors to the canyon and embraces the head of the trail,1 over which visitors descend to and ascend from the bottom of the canyon. Formerly it was public land and open to acquisition under the public land laws. But since February 20, 1893, it has been within a public forest reserve2 eatablished and continued by proclamations of the President under the Acts of March 3, 1891, § 24, 26 Stat. 1095, 1103 (Comp. St. § 5121), and June 4, 1897, c. 2, 30 Stat. 34-36 (Comp. St. §§ 5123-5134), and since January 11, 1908, all but a minor part of it has been within a monument reserve3 establish by a proclamation of the President under the act of June 8, 1906, c. 3060, 34 Stat. 225 (Comp. St. §§ 5278-5281). The forest reserve remained effective after the creation of the monument reserve, but in so far as both embraced the same land the monument reserve became the dominant one. 35 Stat. 2175. The inclusion of the tract in the forest reserve withdrew it from the operation of the public land laws, other than the mineral land law; and the inclusion of the major part of it in the monument reserve withdrew that part from the operation of the mineral land law, but there was a saving clause in respect of any 'valid' mining claim theretofore acquired. The United States still has the paramount legal title to the tract, and also has the full beneficial ownership if Cameron's asserted mining claim is not valid.

The defendants insist that the monument reserve should be disregarded on the ground that there was no authority for its creation. To this we cannot assent. The act under which the President proceeded empowered him toe stablish reserves embracing 'objects of historic or scientific interest.' The Grand Canyon, as stated in his proclamation, 'is an object of unusual scientific interest.'

Page 456

It is the greatest eroded canyon in the United States, if not in the world, is over a mile in depth, has attracted wide attention among explorers and scientists, affords an unexampled field for geologic study, is regarded as one of the great natural wonders, and annually draws to its borders thousands of visitors.

The defendants also insist that in holding the United States entitled to the relief sought the courts below gave undue effect and weight to decisions of the Secretary of the Interior dealing with Cameron's asserted claim and pronouncing it invalid. Rightly to appreciate and dispose of this contention requires a further statement.

The claim in question is known as the Cape Horn lode claim and was located by Cameron in 1902 after the creation of the forest reserve and before the creation of the monument reserve. To make the claim valid, or to invest the locator with a right to the possession, it was essential that the land be mineral in character and that there be an adequate mineral discovery within the limits of the claim as located, Rev. Stat. § 2320 (Comp. St. § 4615); Cole v. Ralph, 252 U. S. 286, 40 Sup. Ct. 321, 64 L. Ed. ——; and to bring the claim within the saving clause in the withdrawal for the monument reserve the discovery must have preceded the creation of that reserve.

Cameron applied to the Land Department for the issue to him of a patent for the claim and similarly sought patents for other claims embracing other portions of the trail into the canyon. A protest was interposed charging that the land was not mineral, that there had been no supporting mineral discoveries and that the claims were located and used for purposes not contemplated by the mineral land law; and the Secretary of the Interior directed that a hearing be had in the local land office to enable the parties concerned—the protestant, Cameron and the government—to produce evidence bearing on the questions thus presented. Grand Canyon Ry. Co. v. Cameron, 35 Land Dec. 495; Id., 36 Land Dec. 66. After due notice the hearing was had, Cameron fully

Page 457

participating in it. This was shortly after the creation of the monument reserve. In due course the evidence was laid before the Commissioner of the General Land Office and he concluded therefrom that the claims were not valuable for mining purposes, and therefore were invalid. The matter was then taken before the Secretary of the Interior and that officer rendered a decision in which, after reviewing the evidence, he said:

'It is not pretended that the applicant has as yet actually disclosed any body of workable ore of commercial value; nor does the evidence reveal such indications and conditions as would warrant the belief or lead to the conclusion that valuable deposits are to be found, save, apparently, in the case of the Magician lode claim. With that possible exception, the probabilities of such deposits occurring are no stronger or more evident at the present time than upon the day the claims were located. The evidence wholly fails to show that there are veins or lodes carrying valuable and workable deposits of gold, silver, or copper, or any other minerals within the limits of the locations. Sufficient time has elapsed since these claims were located for a fair demonstration of their mineral possibilities.'

And further:

'It follows from the foregoing that each of Cameron's applications for patent * * * must be rejected and canceled, and it is so ordered.

'It is the further result of the evidence, and the department holds, that the several mining locations, with the apparent exception of the Magician lode claim, do not stand upon such disclosures or indications of valuable mineral in rock in place therein, prior to the establishment of the national monument and the withdrawal of the lands therein embraced, as to bring them within the saving clause of the executive order. Th right of Cameron to continue possession or exploration of those claims

Page 458

is hereby denied, and the land covered thereby is declared to be and remain part of the Grand Canyon National Monument, as if such locations had not been attempted.'

Directions were given for a further hearing respecting the Magician claim, but this is of no moment here.

That decision was adhered to on a motion for review, and in a later decision denying a renewed application by Cameron for a patent for the claim here in question the Secretary said:

'As the result of a hearing had after the creation of the national monument the department expressly found that no discovery of mineral had been made within the limits of the Cape Horn location, and that there was no evidence before the department showing the existence of any valuable deposits or any minerals within the limits of the location. * * * So far as the portion of the claim included within the exterior limits of the national monument is concerned, no discovery which would...

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    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 18 Noviembre 2003
    ...may be circumscribed beyond the UUD standard because it is not explicitly protected by the Mining Law.23 See Cameron v. United States, 252 U.S. 450, 460 (1920) (stating that "no right arises from an invalid claim of any kind"); accord Best v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co., 371 U.S. 334, 337 (1......
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    ...the claimant certain exclusive possessory rights .... But no right arises from an invalid claim of any kind. " Cameron v. United States , 252 U.S. 450, 460, 40 S.Ct. 410, 64 L.Ed. 659 (1920) (emphases added); see also Cole v. Ralph , 252 U.S. 286, 296, 40 S.Ct. 321, 64 L.Ed. 567 (1920) ("Lo......
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    ...in an informal adjudication before the agency. The BLM relies primarily on the Supreme Court's decision in Cameron v. United States, 252 U.S. 450, 40 S.Ct. 410, 64 L.Ed. 659 (1920). In that case, the owner of an unpatented mining claim applied to the Land Department (the BLM's predecessor) ......
  • Mineral Policy Center v. Norton, CIV.A.01-00073(HHK).
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 18 Noviembre 2003
    ...may be circumscribed beyond the UUD standard because it is not explicitly protected by the Mining Law.23 See Cameron v. United States, 252 U.S. 450, 460, 40 S.Ct. 410, 64 L.Ed. 659 (1920) (stating that "no right arises from an invalid claim of any kind"); accord Best v. Humboldt Placer Mini......
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  • New Wine in Old Bottles: Distorting the Antiquities Act to Aggrandize Executive Power
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter No. 48-4, April 2018
    • 1 Abril 2018
    ...delegated by the Antiquities Act, there should be no diiculty inding private or state gov- 81. See , e.g. , Cameron v. United States, 252 U.S. 450 (1920); Cappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128, 6 ELR 20540 (1976); Wyoming v. Frank, 58 F. Supp. 890 (D. Wyo. 1945). 82. 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137......
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  • Antiquities Act: Legal Implications for Executive and Congressional Action
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    • 1 Marzo 2018
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