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STATE LAWS CANNOT OBSTRUCT NATIONAL USES OF LANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
1. Relative powers of State and Federal Governments.—“In America, the powers of sovereignty are divided between the Government of the Union, and those of the States. They are each sovereign, with respect to the objects committed to it, and neither is sovereign, with respect to the objects committeed to the other.” 1 In these simple, understandable words, Chief Justice Marshall laid down the principle, now universally accepted, that both the State and Federal Governments are sovereign within their respective spheres and that neither can, without the consent of the other, exercise any power that would restrain or obstruct the other in the free exercise of its own exclusive prerogatives under the Constitution. The sovereignty of neither government is absolute and unlimited.
Prior to the adoption of the Federal Constitution the respective States possessed all of the attributes of complete sovereignty, but by means of that instrument they entered into a compact with each other whereby they relinquished certain of their powers to the general government. The sovereignty of the general government is not inherent and complete because it is derived from the States and is limited to the exercise of those functions which are necessary to accomplish the enumerated powers delegated to it by the States.3
2. Implied powers of Congress.---Among the powers delegated to Congress is the right to make all laws which are necessary and proper for carrying into effect the powers expressly delegated. 4 The words “necessary and proper" as thus used have been interpreted as including all means which are conducive and adapted to the end to be accomplished and which in the judgment of Congress would most advantageously effect that end. Commenting upon the extent of this incidental power of Congress, which is the foundation of the doctrine of its implied powers, Chief Justice Marshall said, “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited,
but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.'
(3) Sovereign power of Congress over lands of the United States.Among the implied powers of the Federal Government essential to the accomplishment of its enumerated powers is the right to use its land or other property, without restraint or hindrance on the part of the States, in such manner as to best accomplish the purposes for which it was acquired. This power springs from the fact that the general government must of necessity be permitted to employ all necessary means to protect its property and to accomplish the powers delegated to it by the Constitution; 6 it exists independently of the express provision of the Constitution which empowers Congress to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property of the United States, and without regard to whether the State has by legislative action agreed that the Federal Government may exercise any part of the State's jurisdiction over lands of the United States situated within the State.7
4. State cannot interfere with Federal Government's use of its own lands.—When land is used by the United States as a means of accomplishing some power delegated to it by the Constitution, such use cannot be interfered with or impaired by the State; a State cannot exercise any jurisdiction over such land that would limit the free and adequate use thereof for governmental purposes even though it may have been acquired in the first place without the consent of the State,8
It is not always easy to understand just how far the general government may go to effectuate a full, free and perfect use of its land for constitutional purposes, or, to state it conversely, just what action on the part of a State would amount to an interference with such use. No hard and fast rule can be laid down because of the great diversity of uses for which land is acquired by the Government. What would amount to an obstruction in one case might not do so in another. Each case must be considered according to its peculiar facts.
5. Some illustrative cases. -The State of Arizona was held to be without authority to interfere with the killing of deer by agents of the Federal Government in a manner and at a time contrary to the State game laws, when it was shown that the deer were damaging trees and foliage within Government-owned
5 McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat., 315, 421.
& Ex parte Siebold, 100 U. S. 371; Van Brocklin v. Tennessee, 117 U. S. 151, 6 S. Ct. 670; In re Neagle, 135 U. S. 1, 10 S. Ct. 658.
7 Ex parte Siebold, 100 U. S. 371.
8 Fort Leavenworth Railroad Co. v. Lowe, 114 U. S. 525, 5 S. Ct. 995; Pundt v. Pendleton, 167 Fed. 1001 ; Surplus Trading Co. v. Cook, 281 U. S. 647, 650, 50 S. Ct. 455; Utah Power & Light Co. v. United States, 243 U. S. 389, 37 S. Ct. 387; James v. Dravo Contracting Co., 302 U. S. 134, 147, 149, 58 S. Ct. 208 ; Stewart & Co. v. Sadrakula, 309 U. S. 94, 103, 104, 60 S. Ct. 431.
lands, the court observing that “the power of the United States to thus protect its land and property does not admit of doubt
the game laws or any other statute of the State to the contrary notwithstanding." 9
In Utah the Government sought to restrain a utility company from using lands of the public domain for certain public utility purposes authorized by State law. It was contended by the company that it had the right to use the lands for such purpose so long as they were not devoted to public uses, that when not so used by the Government they were subject to the jurisdiction of the State. The Supreme Court of the United States disagreed, stating that the inclusion within a State of lands of the United States does not take from Congress the power to control their occupancy and use, to protect them from trespass and injury, and to prescribe the conditions upon which others may maintain rights in them, even though this may involve in some manner the exercise of what is commonly known as the police power.10
The United States owned land in the State of Ohio on which was located a national soldiers' home. Jurisdiction over this land was ceded to the United States but was later receded to the State by Congress. The governor of the home was arrested and tried for serving oleomargarine to the inmates in violation of the State law requiring the posting of certain notices where oleomargarine is used. The Supreme Court of the United States held that since Congress had approved the use of oleomargarine by appropriating money pursuant to detailed requisitions for rations of inmates of the home "whatever jurisdiction the State may have over the place or ground where the institution is located, it can have none to interfere with the provision made by Congress for furnishing food to the inmates of the home, nor has it power to prohibit or regulate the furnishing of any article of food which is approved by the officers of the home, by the board of managers and by Congress”. 1.1
The United States Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the right of the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe rules regulating the use of public highways transversing lands of the United States within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Although noting that the United States had jurisdiction over these highways by virtue of the resolution of the State Highway Commission executed by authority of State law, the court predicated its opinion upon the broader ground that the United States has the sovereign right to regulate the use of its property. The court remarked, “We are of the opinion that the power of the Government to regulate the traffic of those highways, as it has done by congressional enactment and rules thereby authorized, rests on the secure footing that it is a valid exercise of control over the property of the Government, even though it is of the nature of police power.” 12
• Hunt v. United States, 278 U. S. 96, 100, 49 S. Ct. 38; see also Camfield v. United States, 167 U. S. 518, 525, 17 S. Ct. 864; McKelvey v. United States, 260 U. S. 353, 359, 43 S. Ct. 132; United States v. Alford, 274 U. S. 264, 47 S. Ct. 597.
10 Utah Light & Power Co. v. United States, 243 U. S. 389, 404, 37 S. Ct. 387; see also Surplus Trading Co. v. Cook, 281 U. S. 647, 50 S. Ct. 455, 647; Camfield v. United States, 167 U. S. 518, 17 S. Ct. 864.
11 Ohio v. Thomas, 173 U. S. 276, 283, 19 S. Ct. 453 ; Ferris v. Wilbur, 27 Fed. (2) 262.
A defendant was charged with murder committeed in a box car on a railroad right-of-way within Fort Robinson Military Reservation in Nebraska. Before the State ceded jurisdiction over the reservation to the United States, the United States had granted this right-of-way to the railroad company. The Court held, however, that the United States had jurisdiction over the right-of-way because “the Federal jurisdiction may be considered to be essential to the appropriate enjoyment of the reservation for the purposes to which it was devoted.” 13
6. Police laws of State cannot interfere with exercise of national powers. The conclusions reached by the courts in the cases discussed above were based upon the specific ground that a State cannot interfere with the Federal Government's constitutional use of its own property. This sovereign immunity of the Federal Government with respect to the use and control of its property rests also upon the broader, basic doctrine that no police power of a State can be exercised so as to impede, obstruct, burden, or interfere with any national power. This immunity emanates from the Constitution itself and exists without regard to whether the State has by statutory action surrendered to the Federal Government any measure of its own jurisdiction reserved to it by the Constitution.14
Ensuing chapters will discuss situations wherein the States have by statutory enactment agreed to allow the Federal Government to exercise on its own land within their respective borders certain powers beyond those which it may claim by virtue of the sovereignty vested in it by the Constitution.
RESPECTIVE CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS OF STATE AND
FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OVER LANDS OF UNITED STATES WITHIN STATES
7. State laws cannot prevent or hamper acquisition of land by United States.-It was shown in the preceding chapter that a State cannot in any manner restrict the Federal Government in
12 Robbins v. United States, 284 Fed. 39, 45.
14 Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 26, 25 S. Ct. 358 ; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 210; Sinnot v. Davenport, 22 How. 227, 243; Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Haber, 169 U. S. 613, 626, 18 S. Ct. 488.