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Humble Pipe Line v. Waggonner, 376 U.S. 369 (1964)

Humble Pipe Line v. Waggonner

No. 329

Argued March 4, 1964

Decided March 23, 1964*

376 U.S. 369


The United States, by donation from the State of Louisiana and other state sources, acquired fee simple title to a tract of land for a military base, state law providing that, except for civil and criminal process, the United States should have the "right of exclusive jurisdiction" over any land it "purchased or condemned, or otherwise acquired." The Government granted petitioners oil and gas leases on parts of the land, and the State levied an ad valorem tax on their pipelines and equipment.

Held: the United States has exclusive jurisdiction over the land, and the State has no jurisdiction to levy the tax. Pp. 376 U. S. 370-374.

(a) The United States acquires exclusive jurisdiction over land which a State donates for a purpose enumerated in Article I, § 8, cl. 17, of the Constitution, even though it did not "purchase" the land in a narrow trading sense. Fort Leavenworth R. Co. v. Lowe, 114 U. S. 525, followed. Pp. 376 U. S. 370-372.

(b) The United States did not lose its exclusive jurisdiction by leasing portions of the property. S.R.A., Inc. v. Minnesota, 327 U. S. 558, distinguished. Pp. 376 U. S. 372-373.

(c) Payments by the Government to state agencies for public utility services for the base and for educating children of servicemen living on the base wholly fail to show a rejection by the Government of exclusive jurisdiction over the base. P. 376 U. S. 373.

(d) Abandonment of exclusive federal jurisdiction cannot be inferred from a standard provision in the oil and gas leases for payment by the lessees of state and federal taxes, even if the federal agency making the leases had power to waive the Government's exclusive jurisdiction, which is by no means sure. P. 376 U. S. 374.

151 So.2d 575, reversed and remanded.

Page 376 U. S. 370

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