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King County v. Seattle School District No. 1, 263 U.S. 361 (1923)

King County v. Seattle School District No. 1

No. 30

Argued April 13, 1923

Decided December 3, 1923

263 U.S. 361


1. A suit is within the jurisdiction of the district court as a controversy arising under the laws of the United States, Jud.Code, § 24, where the right and title set up by the plaintiff depend upon the construction of an act of Congress. P. 263 U. S. 363.

2. The Act of Congress of May 23, 1908, directing that 25% of all money received from each forest reserve shall be paid to the state in which the reserve is situated,

"to be expended as the state . . . legislature may prescribe for the benefit of the public schools and public roads of the county or counties in which the forest reserve is situated,"

does not create a trust, but results in a sacred obligation imposed on the public faith of the donee state. P. 263 U. S. 364.

3. The act does not prescribe how the moneys shall be divided as between the two purposes named, but leaves this to the state. Id.

4. Where a state law authorizes and directs county commissioners to expend the moneys received by their county under the above act of Congress for the benefit of the public schools and public roads thereof, a school district has no standing to call a county to account when more of the funds are used for the one than for the other purpose, since equal division between the two is not contemplated or required by the act, and the rule that a grant to several, without specification of interests, conveys equal interests does not apply. P. 263 U. S. 365.

278 F. 46 reversed.

Appeal from a decision of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court in favor of

Page 263 U. S. 362

the school district in its suit against the county for an accounting.

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