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MULLAN V. UNITED STATES, 118 U. S. 271 (1886)

U.S. Supreme Court

Mullan v. United States, 118 U.S. 271 (1886)

Mullan v. United States

Argued April 1, 1886

Decided May 10, 1886

118 U.S. 271


When the authority of the Attorney General of the United States to commence proceedings to vacate a patent for public lands does not appear on the face of the bill, it may be shown in this Court if the bill is objected to here for want of it.

Coal lands are mineral lands within the meaning of that term as used in the statutes regulating the disposition of the public domain.

As coal lands were excepted from the grants to California of Sections 16 and 36 in § 6 of the Act of March 3, 1853, 10 Stat. 244, 246, the state could not under the provisions contained in § 7 of that act, ib., 247, select coal lands in lieu of such Sections 16 and 37 as might be occupied before survey or reserved for public uses or taken by private claims.

The United States can maintain a suit in equity in its own name to vacate the selection and listing of coal lands to the California by the proper authority of the government under the Act of March 3, 1853, 10 Stat. 244 and, upon its appearing that the lands so listed were coal lands and were known to be such at the time of the listing and selection by the state officers and by those for whose benefit the listing was made, a decree should be entered vacating the title of the state and of those claiming under it.

This was a bill in equity to annul and set aside a listing of coal lands to the State of California and patents of the same granted by the state. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 118 U. S. 272

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