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ILLINOIS V. ECONOMY POWER CO., 234 U. S. 497 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

Illinois v. Economy Power Co., 234 U.S. 497 (1914)

Illinois v. Economy Power Company

No. 179

Argued April 29, 30, 1914

Decided June 22, 1914

234 U.S. 497


The provisions in the Ordinance for government of the Northwest Territory and subsequent acts of Congress to the effect that navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers shall be common highways and forever free to the inhabitants of that territory and of the United States do not determine navigability of any of the streams, but only define rights dependent upon the existence of navigability.

There is no federal right involved in the obstruction, or use by private owners, of a nonnavigable stream wholly within a state.

The question of navigability of a river wholly within a state is purely one of fact, and where the state court has decided that such a river is nonnavigable, there is no right left to review.

A state has no federal rights which it may exert for itself or on behalf of its citizens or of all the citizens of the United States in regard to a river wholly within its boundaries which the highest court of the state has declared to be nonnavigable, nor are any such rights created by acts of Congress merely authorizing surveys for and estimates

Page 234 U. S. 498

of cost of, improvements and not actually authorizing or appropriating for the same.

Writ of error to review 241 Ill. 290 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court under § 237, Judicial Code, to review a judgment of the state court based on a finding of nonnavigability of a river wholly within the state, are stated in the opinion.

Page 234 U. S. 510

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