Guillermo Alverez Sanchez v. United States, No. 69

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHarlan
Citation54 L.Ed. 432,216 U.S. 167,30 S.Ct. 361
PartiesGUILLERMO ALVEREZ Y SANCHEZ, Appt., v. UNITED STATES
Docket NumberNo. 69
Decision Date21 February 1910

216 U.S. 167
30 S.Ct. 361
54 L.Ed. 432
GUILLERMO ALVEREZ Y SANCHEZ, Appt.,

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 69.
Submitted January 11, 1910.
Decided February 21, 1910.

Mr. S. Mallet-Prevost for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 167-170 intentionally omitted]

Page 170

Assistant Attorney General Thompson and Mr. Franklin W. Collins for appellee.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 170-171 intentionally omitted]

Page 171

Mr. Justice Harlan delivered the opinion of the court:

The appellant, an inhabitant and citizen of Porto Rico, seeks to recover from the United States the value of a certain office held by him in that island before and during the war with Spain, of which office, it is alleged, he was illegally deprived by the United States. A demurrer to the complaint was sustained and judgment given for the United States, the

Page 172

opinion of the court of claims being delivered by Chief Justice Peelle. 42 Ct. Cl. 458, 472.

The complaint, which, on demurrer, was adjudged to be bad, presents—using substantially the words of the complaint—the following case:

In the year 1878, the claimant, Sanchez, purchased from one Florenzio Berrios y Lopez, for a valuable consideration, the office known as 'numbered procurador [solicitor] of the courts of first instance of the capital of Porto Rico,' at Guayamo, in perpetuity, and in the same year the governor general of Porto Rico issued a provisional patent in his favor. In 1881, the claimant's tenure of the office was approved and confirmed, and a final patent therefor was issued by the King of Spain, in accordance with the laws, practice, and custom of Spain and Porto Rico governing the sale, surrender, and transfer of such an office. The claimant, it is alleged, thereby became vested with all the legal rights and privileges appertaining to the office.

From the date of the provisional patent issued to him until, as will be presently stated, he was deprived of his office, August 31st, 1899, the claimant exercised all the rights and privileges belonging to the office of procurador or solicitor. Under the laws of Spain and Porto Rico, it will be assumed, the office was transferable in perpetuity, and vested the incumbent with exclusive rights and privileges, and, as a consequence thereof, the claimant was entitled, under the laws of Spain in force in Porto Rico, during all the time he held the office, to perform its duties and receive its fees and emoluments, which, prior to August 31st, 1899, averaged, it is alleged, more than $200 per month, of which he could not be legally deprived except by due process of law.

On the 10th day of December, 1898, [30 Stat. at L. 1754], a treaty of peace between the United States and Spain was concluded, and having been duly ratified by the respective countries, was duly proclaimed April 11th, 1899. The treaty contained these provisions: 'Spain cedes to the United States the island of

Page 173

Porto Rico and other islands now under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies, and the island of Gaum in the Marianas or Ladrones.' Art. 2. 'And it is hereby declared that the relinquishment or cession, as the case may be, to which the preceding paragraph refers, cannot in any respect impair the property or rights which by law belong to the peaceful possession of property of all kinds, of provinces, municipalities, public or private establishments, ecclesiastical or civic bodies, or any other associations having legal capacity to acquire and possess property in the aforesaid territories renounced or ceded, or of private individuals, of whatsoever nationality such individuals may be.' Art. 8.

A military government was organized in Porto Rico and was maintained there from October, 1898, up to and after April 30th, 1900. On the latter date, General Davis, as military...

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register June 25, 2008
    • June 25, 2008
    ...prior acts of Congress. See Foster v. Neilson, 27 U.S. 253 (1829); Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190 (1888); Alvarez y Sanchez v. U.S., 216 U.S. 167 (1910). Finally, the agency cites a more recent unpublished OLC opinion, which concluded that certain deliberations, decisions and actions (i......
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Williams, No. 36718.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 9, 1940
    ...City v. Coon, 296 S.W. 90, 316 Mo. 542; Taylor v. Beckham, 178 U.S. 549, 44 L. Ed. 1200; Guillermo Alvarez Y Sanchez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167, 56 L. Ed. 435. (7) The evidence in the instant case shows overwhelmingly that respondent wilfully neglected to enforce the criminal laws in Ja......
  • Nation v. Dalley, Case. No.15-cv-00799
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 3, 2016
    ...treaty may supersede a prior act of Congress, and an act of Congress may supersede a prior treaty."); Alverez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167, 176 (1910) ("an act of Congress, passed after a treaty takes effect, must be respected and enforced, despite any previous or existing treat......
  • Matter of Crounse Corp., No. 94-3066-D/A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Western District of Tennessee
    • February 20, 1997
    ...argues that it could not erect a protective cell upriver of the tower, even had it wanted to. Cf. Monongahela Bridge, 216 U.S. at 195, 30 S.Ct. at 361 (Congress, through its appropriate agent, has authority to declare what must be done to maintain free navigable Finally, TVA asserts that th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Williams, No. 36718.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 9, 1940
    ...City v. Coon, 296 S.W. 90, 316 Mo. 542; Taylor v. Beckham, 178 U.S. 549, 44 L. Ed. 1200; Guillermo Alvarez Y Sanchez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167, 56 L. Ed. 435. (7) The evidence in the instant case shows overwhelmingly that respondent wilfully neglected to enforce the criminal laws in Ja......
  • Nation v. Dalley, Case. No.15-cv-00799
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 3, 2016
    ...treaty may supersede a prior act of Congress, and an act of Congress may supersede a prior treaty."); Alverez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167, 176 (1910) ("an act of Congress, passed after a treaty takes effect, must be respected and enforced, despite any previous or existing treat......
  • Matter of Crounse Corp., No. 94-3066-D/A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Western District of Tennessee
    • February 20, 1997
    ...argues that it could not erect a protective cell upriver of the tower, even had it wanted to. Cf. Monongahela Bridge, 216 U.S. at 195, 30 S.Ct. at 361 (Congress, through its appropriate agent, has authority to declare what must be done to maintain free navigable Finally, TVA asserts that th......
  • Amaya v. Stanolind Oil & Gas Co., Civil Action No. 236.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • August 4, 1945
    ...constitution, or institutions of the substituted sovereign, lose their force, is also plain. Alvarez y Sanchez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167, 30 S.Ct. 361, 54 L.Ed. 432. But it is equally settled in the same public law that that great body of municipal law which regulates private and domes......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT