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MCLEAN V. UNITED STATES, 226 U. S. 374 (1912)

U.S. Supreme Court

McLean v. United States, 226 U.S. 374 (1912)

McLean v. United States

No. 33

Argued November 6, 1912

Decided December 23, 1912

226 U.S. 374


Under the Act of Congress of February 24, 1905, 33 Stat. 806, c. 777, directing the accounting officers to settle and adjust all back pay and emoluments that would have been due to an officer had he remained in the army for a period that he was out of the army after an enforced resignation from that time until his reinstatement, held that, under such a statute:

The duties of accounting officers are administrative and not judicial, and as to whatever rights arose under the act as to its construction, the Court of Claims had jurisdiction to determine.

In order to construe the statute and make the redress as complete as Congress intended, reports of the committees of both houses having the matter in charge may be referred to.

Public moneys are not appropriated as mere gifts, and such an act will not be regarded as a simple gratuity.

The words "all back pay and emoluments" include forage, rations, and pay for servants to which the officer would have been entitled under the statutes had he remained in the army, and, in adjusting under the statute, those items should not have been excluded because the officer was not actually in service of the United States.

An act of Congress will not be construed as giving a right and taking it away at one and the same instant, nor will the conditions making it necessary be made a reason for defeating it.

The word " all " excludes the idea of limitation.

45 Ct.Cl. 95, reversed.

The facts, which involve the amount due to a reinstated officer of the United States Army for back pay and emoluments under an act of Congress and the proper method of computing the same, are stated in the opinion.

Page 226 U. S. 376

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