Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

United States v. Midwest Oil Co.

United States Supreme Court
236 U.S. 459 (1915)


The Oil Placer Act of 1897 allowed United States citizens to occupy, explore, and purchase public lands containing oil. Private parties rapidly extracted oil in states such as California and Wyoming. In 1909, the director of the United States Geological Survey issued a report warning that the high rate of oil extraction would obligate the federal government (government) (plaintiff) to purchase oil from private parties, and would reduce the Navy’s oil supply. The report recommended the suspension of oil claims in California. The president of the United States issued a proclamation that temporarily withdrew certain public lands from private acquisition, pending proposed federal legislation. The withdrawal encompassed lands located in Wyoming. In 1910, the Midwest Oil Company (Midwest) (defendant) extracted large amounts of oil from public land in Wyoming. The government filed a bill of equity in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, seeking to recover the land and obtain an accounting for the extracted oil. The government asserted that this withdrawal was authorized by the president’s executive power and Congress’s tacit consent. Midwest argued that the president lacked the authority to withdraw land that Congress had already made open to private acquisition. The district court dismissed the bill, and the government appealed. The court of appeals certified the case to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lamar, J.)

Dissent (Day, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial