United States v. State of Louisiana, No. 12

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation339 U.S. 699,70 S.Ct. 914,94 L.Ed. 1216
PartiesUNITED STATES v. STATE OF LOUISIANA. riginal
Docket NumberNo. 12,O
Decision Date05 June 1950

339 U.S. 699
70 S.Ct. 914
94 L.Ed. 1216
UNITED STATES

v.

STATE OF LOUISIANA.

No. 12, Original.

Argued on Motion for Judgment March 27, 1950.

Decided June 5, 1950.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 16, 1950.

See 71 S.Ct. 75.

Page 700

Sol. Gen. Philip B. Perlman, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff.

Mr. Cullen R. Liskow, Lake Charles, La., L. H. Perez, New Orleans, La., for defendant.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The United States by its Attorney General and its Solicitor General brought this suit against the State of Louisiana, invoking our jurisdiction under Art. III, § 2, Cl. 2 of the Constitution which provides 'In all Cases * * * in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.'

Page 701

The complaint alleges that the United States was and is 'the owner in fee simple of, or possessed of paramount rights in, and full dominion and power over, the lands, minerals, and other things underlying the Gulf of Mexico, lying seaward of the ordinary low-water mark on the coast of Louisiana and outside of the inland waters, extending seaward twenty-seven marine miles and bounded on the east and west, respectively, by the eastern and western boundaries of the State of Louisiana.'

The complaint further alleges that Louisiana, claiming rights in that property adverse to the United States, has made leases under her statutes to various persons and corporations which have entered upon said lands, drilled wells for the recovery of petroleum, gas and other hydrocarbon substances, and paid Louisiana substantial sums of money in bonuses, rent, and royalties, but that neither Louisiana nor its lessees have recognized the rights of the United States in said property.

The prayer of the complaint is for a decree adjudging and declaring the right of the United States as against Louisiana in this property, enjoining Louisiana and all persons claiming under it from continuing to trespass upon the area in violation of the right of the United States, and requiring Louisiana to account for the money derived by it from the area subsequent to June 23, 1947.

Louisiana opposed the motion for leave to file the complaint, contending that the States have not consented to be sued by the Federal Government and that United States v. State of Texas, 143 U.S. 621, 12 S.Ct. 488, 36 L.Ed. 285, which held that Art. III, § 2, Cl. 2 of the Constitution, granting this Court original jurisdiction in cases 'in which a State shall be Party,' includes cases brought by the United States against a State should be overruled. We heard argument on the

Page 702

motion for leave to file and thereafter granted it. 337 U.S. 902, 69 S.Ct. 1040, 93 L.Ed. 1716, rehearing denied 337 U.S. 928, 69 S.Ct. 1490, 93 L.Ed. 1736.

Louisiana then filed a demurrer asserting that the Court has no original jurisdiction of the parties or of the subject matter. She moved to dismiss on the ground that the lessees are indispensable parties to the case; and she also moved for a more definite statement of the claim of the United States and for a bill of particulars. The United States moved for judgment. The demurrer was overruled, Louisiana's motions denied, and the motion of the United States for judgment was denied, Louisiana being given 30 days in which to file an answer. 338 U.S. 806, 70 S.Ct. 36.

In her answer Louisiana admits that 'the United States has paramount rights in, and full dominion and power over, the lands, minerals and other things underlying the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the coast of Louisiana, to the extent of all governmental powers existing under the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States,' but asserts that there are no conflicting claims of governmental powers to authorize the use of the bed of the Gulf of Mexico for the purpose of searching for and producing oil and other natural resources, on which the relief sought by the United States depends, since the Congress has not adopted any law which asserts such federal authority over the bed of the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana therefore contends that there is no actual justiciable controversy between the parties. Louisiana in her answer denies that the United States has a fee simple title to the lands, minerals, and other things underlying the Gulf of Mexico. As affirmative defenses Louisiana asserts that she is the holder of fee simple title to all the lands, minerals, and other things in controversy; and that since she was admitted into the Union in 1812, she has exercised continuous, undisturbed and unchallenged sovereignty and possession over the property in question.

Page 703

Louisiana also moved for trial by jury. She asserts that this suit, involving title to the beds of tide waters, is essentially an action at law and that the Seventh Amendment and 62 Stat. 953, 28 U.S.C. § 1872, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1872, require a jury.1

The United States then moved for judgment on the ground that Louisiana's asserted defenses were insufficient in law. We set the case down for argument on that motion.

The territory out of which Louisiana was created was purchased by the United States from France for $15,000,000 under the Treaty of April 30, 1803, 8 Stat. 200. In 1804 the area...

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106 practice notes
  • Rogers v. Loether, No. 71-1145.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 29, 1972
    ...7 The district court also cited United States v. Louisiana, which holds that the Seventh Amendment is "applicable only to actions at law." 339 U.S. 699, 706, 70 S.Ct. 914, 917, 94 L.Ed. 1216. 8 Hayes v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 46 F.R.D. 49 (S.D.Ga.1970); Cheatwood v. South Central Bell Te......
  • Ten Taxpayer Citizens Group v. Cape Wind Assocs., No. 03-2323.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 28, 2004
    ...waters off its coast. See United States v. Texas, 339 U.S. 707, 719-20, 70 S.Ct. 918, 94 L.Ed. 1221 (1950); United States v. Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 705-06, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216 (1950); United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, 29-39, 67 S.Ct. 1658, 91 L.Ed. 1889 (1947). Together, t......
  • United States v. States of Louisiana, Texas Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, No. 10
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1960
    ...to the United States for all sums derived from natural resources in those areas after that date. United States v. State of Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216; 340 Page 6 U.S. 899, 71 S.Ct. 275, 95 L.Ed. 651; United States v. State of Texas, 339 U.S. 707, 70 S.Ct. 918, 94 L......
  • Mid Valley Bank v. North Valley Bank, No. Civ. S-88-1691 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • May 21, 1991
    ...Since the Amendment deals only with suits at common law, it has no application to suits in equity. United States v. State of Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216 (1950). The question becomes whether a CERCLA private cause of action for reimbursement of response costs is lega......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
105 cases
  • Rogers v. Loether, No. 71-1145.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 29, 1972
    ...7 The district court also cited United States v. Louisiana, which holds that the Seventh Amendment is "applicable only to actions at law." 339 U.S. 699, 706, 70 S.Ct. 914, 917, 94 L.Ed. 1216. 8 Hayes v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 46 F.R.D. 49 (S.D.Ga.1970); Cheatwood v. South Central Bell Te......
  • Ten Taxpayer Citizens Group v. Cape Wind Assocs., No. 03-2323.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 28, 2004
    ...waters off its coast. See United States v. Texas, 339 U.S. 707, 719-20, 70 S.Ct. 918, 94 L.Ed. 1221 (1950); United States v. Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 705-06, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216 (1950); United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, 29-39, 67 S.Ct. 1658, 91 L.Ed. 1889 (1947). Together, t......
  • United States v. States of Louisiana, Texas Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, No. 10
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1960
    ...to the United States for all sums derived from natural resources in those areas after that date. United States v. State of Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216; 340 Page 6 U.S. 899, 71 S.Ct. 275, 95 L.Ed. 651; United States v. State of Texas, 339 U.S. 707, 70 S.Ct. 918, 94 L......
  • Mid Valley Bank v. North Valley Bank, No. Civ. S-88-1691 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • May 21, 1991
    ...Since the Amendment deals only with suits at common law, it has no application to suits in equity. United States v. State of Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 70 S.Ct. 914, 94 L.Ed. 1216 (1950). The question becomes whether a CERCLA private cause of action for reimbursement of response costs is lega......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Overcoming Impediments to Offshore CO2 Storage: Legal Issues in the United States and Canada
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 49-7, July 2019
    • July 1, 2019
    ...United States v. Louisiana, 100 S. Ct. 1618 (1980), 420 U.S. 529 (1975), 394 U.S. 11 (1969), 389 U.S. 155 (1967), 363 U.S. 1 (1960), 339 U.S. 699 (1950). 46. 43 U.S.C. §1311(a)(1). he term “natural resources” is deined to include, without limitation, “oil, gas, and all other minerals, and i......

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