Collins v. Yosemite Park Curry Co

Decision Date31 May 1938
Docket NumberNo. 870,870
Citation304 U.S. 518,58 S.Ct. 1009,82 L.Ed. 1502
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California.

[Syllabus from pages 518-520 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Seibert L. Sefton and U.S. Webb, both of San Francisco, Cal., for appellants.

Mr. James S. Moore, Jr., of San Francisco, Cal., for appellee.

Mr. Justice REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

Appellee, the Yosemite Park and Curry Co., brought this suit to enjoin the State Board of Equalization and the State Attorney eneral from enforcing the 'Alcoholic Beverage Control Act' of the State of California,1 within the limits of Yosemite National Park. Appellee is engaged in operating, within the Park, hotels, camps, and stores, under a contract with the Secretary of the Interior, leasing portions of the Park to appellee for a 20-year term. The contract, expressly intended to implement the Congressional desire to make the Park a resort and playground for the benefit of the public, places upon appellee the duty of furnishing visitors with sundry facilities and accommodations. If it pays dividends in excess of 6% on its investment it must pay to the Secretary of the Interior a sum equal to 25% of the excess during the first ten years, and 22 1/2% of any excess over six per cent. earned during the second ten years. Appellee sells liquors, beer and wine to Park visitors for prices approved by the Secretary of the Interior. In the ordinary course of business, it imports from places outside of California beer, wine, and distilled spirits, which it stores and sells within the Park.

According to the allegations of appellee's bill, appellants (defendants below) assert that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act applies within the Park and that appellee is obligated to apply for permits for importation and sale; that appellee is subject to provisions of the Act prohibiting the issuance of importer's licenses to persons holding on-sale retail licenses, and vice versa; that appellee must pay fees and taxes imposed by the Act or be subject to penalties. Allegation was made that appellants threaten to seize beverages on or being transported to appellee's premises, demand rendition of reports and keeping of accounts, and threaten to institute civil and criminal proceedings against appellee for violation of the Act. On the other hand, appellee's allegations continue, the Secretary of the Interior, under the contract of lease, has approved prices making no allowance for taxes, and has instructed appellee to apply for no license and to pay no tax under the California Act, and that payment of such license fees or taxes will not be allowed as an operating expense under the contract.

Appellee brought this suit to restrain enforcement of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act within Yosemite Park, on the theory that the Park is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. The suit being one to restrain the enforcement of a State statute as applied to a specific situation, a three-judge court was convened under section 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380. The case was heard below upon motion to dismiss the complaint. The District Court denied this motion. It granted a temporary injunction (20 F.Supp. 1009), and later granted the final injunction prayed for by the complaint, restraining appellants (a) from entering upon appellee's premises, examining its records, seizing its beverages, or interfering with its importation and sales of beverage within the Park; (b) from interfering with shipments to appellee from outside the State; (c) from instituting any actions based on alleged violations of the Act with respect to the importation, possession, or sale of liquors; (d) from requiring reports thereon; (e) from enforcing the Act as to transactions within the Park.

The District Court, after noting that Yosemite National Park consists of Yosemite Valley and considerable surrounding territory, first discussed what it conceived to be the situation in the Valley.2 It reviewed the history of the land; the United States acquired it in 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,3 reserved proprietary rights when California became a State in 1850, Act Sept. 9,4 and on June 30, 1864, gave the Valley to California in trust for public park and recreational purposes.5

The District Court held that exclusive jurisdiction over the land was acquired again by the United States by virtue of the joint operation of three statutes: an 1891 California law ceding to the United States exclusive jurisdiction over such land as might be ceded to it;6 a 1905 California statute receding the Valley to the United States;7 and the Act of June 11, 1906, 16 U.S.C.A. § 47 et seq. whereby Congress accepted the regrant and constituted the Valley a part of the Yosemite National Park.8 It further held, over appellants' objection, that there was no constitution obstacle to the acquisition by the United States of exclusive jurisdiction over land ceded to it for national park purposes. Jurisdiction over the rest of the Park, it concluded, was in the State until April 15, 1919, when it was offered to the national government (which had always retained the proprietary interest) in a statute saving to the State, inter alia, 'the right to tax persons and corporations, their franchises and property on the lands included in said parks.'9 Ju- risdiction of the Park was assumed by the United States by Act of June 2, 1920, which referred to the state act, including its reservation of a power to tax.10 The District Court held this reservation inapplicable, on the ground that the Alcoholic Beverage Act is chiefly regulatory in nature rather than a revenue measure. Concluding that the United States had exclusive jurisdiction over the land in question, the District Court enjoined the enforcement of the state Act.

From this final decree of injunction, a direct appeal to this Court was taken under sections 238 and 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 345, 380. Several questions were argued on the appeal. At this point, reference may be confined to appellants' contention that the United States has no power under the Constitution to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over land ceded to it by a state for national park purposes. Pursuant to the Act of August 24, 1937, 28 U.S.C.A. § 401, the Court certified to the Attorney General that in this cause was drawn in question the constitutionality of the Acts of June 11, 1906, 34 Stat. 831, 16 U.S.C.A. § 47 et seq., and June 2, 1920, 41 Stat. 731, 16 U.S.C.A. § 57 et seq., accepting exclusive jurisdiction over the areas which embrace the Yosemite National Park. The United States, regarding appellee's argument as adequate, determined that it was not necessary to intervene.

Exclusive jurisdiction. By the Act of March 3, 1905, see note 7, California ceded and granted the United States title to the 'Cleft' or 'Gorge,' known as Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove. As the Act of March 31, 1891, was then in force, see note 6, exclusive jurisdiction, with the exception of right to administer criminal laws and serve civil process, passed to the United States, on its acceptance, unless the United States was without constitutional power to exercise it. By the Act of June 11, 1906, see note 8, the Congress accepted the cession and made the lands conveyed a part of the Yosemite National Park. The other lands composing the Park had been in the proprietorship of the national government since cession by Mexico. Exclusive jurisdiction of them passed from the United States to California by the admittance of that State to the Union. Except for certain rights expressly reserved, exclusive jurisdiction of these lands was granted to the United States by the Act of April 15, 1919, see note 9, and accepted by the Congress on June 2, 1920, see note 10. As this Act granted exclusive jurisdiction over all 'territory which is now or may hereafter be included in * * * 'Yosemite National Park," the language of the cession and acceptance is apt to determine exclusive jurisdiction, with the explicit reservations, of the Gorge also.

Whatever the existing status of jurisdiction at the time of their enactment, the Acts of cession and acceptance of 1919 and 1920 are to be taken as declarations of the agreements, reached by the respective sovereignties, State and Nation, as to the future jurisdiction and rights of each in the entire area of Yosemite National Park. As jurisdiction over the Gorge was created by one set of statutes and that over the rest of the Park by different legislation, this adjustment was desirable. The States of the Union and the National Government may make mutually satisfactory arrangements as to jurisdiction of territory within their borders and thus in a most effective way, cooperatively adjust problems flowing from our dual system of government.11 Jurisdiction obtained by consent or cession may be qualified by agreement or through offer and acceptance or ratification.12 It is a matter of arrangement. These arrangements the courts wil recog nize and respect.

The State urges the constitutional inability of the national government to accept exclusive jurisdiction of any land for purposes other than those specified in clause 17, section 8, Article 1 of the Constitution, U.S.C.A. Const. art. 1, § 8, cl. 17.13 This clause has not been strictly construed. This Court at this term has given full consideration to the constitutional power of the United States to acquire land under Clause 17 without taking exclusive jurisdiction.14 In that case, it was said: 'Clause 17 contains no express stipulation that the consent of the state must be without reservations. We think that such a stipulation should not be implied. We are unable to reconcile such an implication with the freedom of the state and its admitted authority to refuse or qualify cessions...

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