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Muskrat v. United States

United States Supreme Court
219 U.S. 346 (1911)


Congress passed an act in 1902 allocating land to Native Americans. Subsequently, Congress passed additional acts restricting the rights of Native Americans who were previously allocated land. Then in 1907, Congress passed another act allowing Native Americans to bring suits against the United States to determine the constitutionality of those acts passed after the 1902 act, and allowing counsel for both sides to be paid from the United States Treasury. Muskrat (plaintiff) and others brought suit against the United States (defendant), contesting the constitutionality of the less favorable acts passed after 1902. This case comes on appeal to determine the Supreme Court’s scope of jurisdiction, and if Congress can expand this scope allowing for advisory opinions.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Day, J.)

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