« AnteriorContinuar »
veys to be withheld. The defendant, who claimed a right to pre-empt under later proceedings, demurred. The question thus was raised whether the judicial courts would undertake to review the action of the administration.
Mr. Justice MILLER said: The grounds principally, if not conclusively, relied on by the plaintiff in this court are (1) that the Land Department mistook the law of the United States and thereby deprived the plaintiff of a vested right, and (2) that their decision was obtained by fraud, and, therefore, ought to be set aside. We have repeatedly held that the courts will not interfere with the officers of the government in the discharge of their duties in disposing of the public lands either by injunction or mandamus. The rule which governs the court in correcting errors has been fully stated. It is idle to suppose that the expensive machinery of a court of equity is to be put in operation for the purpose of reviewing and reversing the judgment of the tribunal by whom that question of law is to be decided.
The latest case goes almost to that extreme. Publication Company v. Payne, 30 Wash. Law Rep. 339 (1902). This was an application for a writ of mandamus against the Postmaster-General. The Postmaster-General had prescribed in a regulation that second class matter should include only such as consisted of current news or miscellaneous literature matter. Upon the strength of this regulation a collection of railway time tables was excluded from second class matter. The publishers claim that the regulation was invalid.
An extract from the opinion of Mr. Justice BRADLEY follows: Is this amendment of the postal regulations inconsistent with law? It is clearly beyond the power of the Postmaster-General to prescribe. Periodical publications by this regulation must not only conform to the statutory characteristic of second class mail matter, but further requisites are prescribed. Obviously "information of a public character" is much broader than "current news.” It is then a narrowing and restricting of the terms of the statute. The court is bound to consider that the legislature never contemplated such an addition to the statute.105
$ 136. Conclusion.
These are the general principles: That neither in its executive processes, nor in its legislative processes, nor in its judicial processes can the administration act beyond its jurisdiction. Beyond jurisdiction every act done in the course of administration must be void. All that is allowed to the administration is action within the scope of its authority. The distinction is this: The internal law of the administration is concerned with the action of the administration within its jurisdiction; the external law of the administration is concerned with the limitation upon the authority of the administration. These make up the whole of the law governing administration.
105 EXTENT OF JURISDICTION.—Litchfield v. Register & Receiver, 9 Wall. 575; Johnson v. Towsley, 13 Wall. 72; In re Fassett, 142 U. S. 479; Nishimura Ekiu v. United States, 142 U. S. 660; Noble v. Logging R. R., 147 U. S. 171; McCormick v. Hayes, 159 U. S. 342; Menotti v. Dillon, 167 U. S. 721; Japanese Immigrant Case, 189 U. S. 86; United States v. Garlinger, 169 U. S. 321; United States v. Lee Huen, 118 Fed. 442; United States v. Three Barrels, 77 Fed. 964; Meads v. United States, 81 Fed. 684; Woolfork v. Buckner, 60 Ark. 163; New York, etc., R. Co.'s Appeal, 62 Conn. 535; Pensacola R. R. v. State, 25 Fla. 310; Brown v. Porter, 37 Ind. 206; McCormick v. Burt, 95 III. 263; Chicago, etc., R. R. v. Atchison Co. Com'rs, 54 Kan. 781; Lowell v. Commissioners, 152 Mass. 375; State v. Chicago, etc., R. R., 38 Minn. 281; Newman v. Elam, 30 Miss. 507; State v. Commissioners, 12 Neb. 6; United Lines Tel. Co. v. Grant, 137 N. Y. 7; Long v. Commissioners, 76 N. C. 273; Sproat v. Durland, 2 Okl. 52; American Pavement Co. v. Wagner, 139 Pa. 623.