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Work v. United States ex Rel. Rives, 267 U.S. 175 (1925)

Work v. United States ex Rel. Rives

No. 272

Argued November 25, 26, 1924

Decided March 2, 1925

267 U.S. 175


1. Where the duties imposed upon an executive officer by a statute granting gratuities based on equitable and moral considerations include the duty of construing the statute itself in its execution, his construction of it is a discretionary act which cannot be controlled by the writ of mandamus. P. 267 U. S. 177.

2. Under § 5 of the Dent Act, March 2, 1919, c. 94, 40 Stat. 1272, refusal by the Secretary of the Interior to allow a claim for money spent to obtain a release from a contract to buy manganese land, the refusal being based upon the view that expenditures for real estate or mining rights were not "for or upon" property, but were speculative within the meaning of the act, was conclusive against the claimant. P. 267 U. S. 178.

3. The amendment of November 23, 1921, c. 137, 42 Stat. 322, did not change the act in this regard. P. 267 U. S. 182.

4. This case, upon the facts admitted by the demurrer to the answer, is not within the class allowing mandamus to compel an officer to take action and exercise his discretion, or an inferior tribunal to take jurisdiction. P. 267 U. S. 184.

54 App.D.C. 84, 295. F. 225, reversed.

Page 267 U. S. 176

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia which affirmed a judgment of the Supreme Court of the District in mandamus directing the Secretary of the Interior to consider and allow relator's claim, under the Dent Act, insofar as it included money spent to obtain a release from a contract he had made before the Armistice, to buy land containing manganese.

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