This is an original suit in this court by the State of Oklahoma against the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, a corporation of Kansas.
The case as made by the allegations of the bill, in connection with acts of Congress and with the constitution and laws of Oklahoma, is substantially as will be now stated.
The treaty of April 30, 1803, between the United States and France, by which the Territory of Louisiana was ceded to the United States, provided that the inhabitants of that Territory should be incorporated into the Union and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; in the meantime to be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion they profess. Art. III. The State of Oklahoma was formed out of a part of this ceded Territory.
By an act of Congress of July 4, 1884, the Southern Kansas Railway Company of Kansas was empowered to locate, construct, own, equip, operate, use and maintain a railway, telegraph and telephone line through the Indian Territory, over a specified route. The act forbade the company to charge "the inhabitants of said Territory a greater rate of freight than the rate authorized by the laws of the State of Kansas for services or transportation of the same kind" and provided that "passenger rates on said railway shall not exceed three cents per mile." And Congress expressly reserved the right to regulate the charges for freight and passengers on the railway as well as messages on telegraph and telephone lines, "until a State government or governments shall exist in said Territory,
The above grant was accepted by the Southern Kansas Railway Company, and the road now controlled by the appellee, the Atchison, Tokepa and Santa Fe Railway Company, in Oklahoma, is operated under that grant. The bill alleged "that ever since the defendant company took over the operation of said line of railway under said grant it had continuously violated the above condition, in that it has charged the inhabitants of said Territory a greater rate of freight than that authorized by the laws of Kansas for services or transportation of the same kind;" and that the company's tariffs of freight charges show in detail said excessive charges. After setting forth the rates charged in Oklahoma and Kansas, respectively, for carrying, for the same distances, lime, cement, plaster, brick, crude oil and refined oil, the bill proceeds: "That the State of Oklahoma at this time has about two million inhabitants, is developing and building towns, villages and individual farmhouses, and that lime, cement, plaster, brick and stone are very essential to its growth; that at this time in the State of Oklahoma there are very large and extensive petroleum oil wells, and the manufacture or refining of the same is an industry continually growing in said State; that the transportation rates on crude and refined oil, lime, cement, plaster, brick and stone are very
The relief asked was that the grant contained in the above act of Congress be canceled and the property granted by it confirmed and decreed to be in the State of Oklahoma as cestui que trust; that the defendant be perpetually enjoined and restrained, and, pending the determination of this action, be enjoined and restrained from charging the inhabitants of the State of Oklahoma a greater rate of freight than that authorized by the laws of Kansas for services or transportation of the same kind, and from charging "for lime, cement, plaster, brick, stone, crude and refined oil, the rates specified" in its tariff in so far as the same are greater than those authorized for like transportation by the laws of Kansas until the determination of this cause; and that for the continual violation of the terms of the grant it be perpetually enjoined and restrained from operating a railroad in the state of Oklahoma. The bill also contains a prayer for such further or different relief as may be required by the nature of the case and be agreeable to equity and good conscience.
The railroad company filed a demurrer upon the ground that the bill did not show that the State was entitled to the relief asked nor set forth any controversy between the State and the defendant within the original jurisdiction of this court.
The difficulty in the way of granting the relief asked by the State is, in our judgment, insurmountable. The act of 1884 appears to have had in view, primarily, the protection of the inhabitants of the Indian Territory from being
Upon this general subject the case of Louisiana v. Texas, 176 U.S. 1, is instructive. The State of Louisiana, by an original suit in this court against the State of Texas, her Governor and Health Officer, sought to restrain the latter State from enforcing by its officers certain quarantine regulations it had established, which Louisiana alleged were illegal and discriminative against it and injurious to the trade and business of its people, particularly interstate commerce as conducted between New Orleans and Texas. There was a demurrer to the bill upon these grounds: 1. That, within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, the controversy was not one between Louisiana and Texas. 2. That the controversy was between Texas or her officers and certain persons in Louisiana engaged in interstate commerce, and did not concern Louisiana as an aggregate, corporate body or State. 3. That by the suit brought in this court, Louisiana was only lending its name to certain individuals in New Orleans, who were the real parties in interest. 4. That it appeared from the face of the bill that "the State of Louisiana, in her right of sovereignty, is seeking to maintain this suit for the redress of the supposed wrongs of her citizens in regard to interstate commerce, while under the Constitution and laws the said State possesses no such sovereignty as empowers her to bring an original suit in this court for such purpose." 5. That "no property right of the State of Louisiana is in any manner affected
This court, speaking by Chief Justice Fuller, after referring to the provisions of the Constitution enumerating the cases and controversies to which the judicial power of the United States extended and of which the Circuit Courts of the United States could take original cognizance, and to numerous adjudged cases, said: "In order then to maintain jurisdiction of this bill of complaint as against the State of Texas, it must appear that the controversy to be determined is a controversy arising directly between the State of Louisiana and the State of Texas, and not a controversy in the vindication of grievances of particular individuals. . . . Inasmuch as the vindication of the freedom of interstate commerce is not committed to the State of Louisiana, and that State is not engaged in such commerce, the cause of action must be regarded not as involving any infringement of the powers of the State of Louisiana, or any special injury to her property, but as asserting that the State is entitled to seek relief in this way because the matters complained of affect her citizens at large. Nevertheless if the case stated is not one presenting a controversy between these States the exercise of original jurisdiction by this court as against the State of Texas cannot be maintained. . . . But in order that a controversy between States, justiciable in this court, can be held to exist, something more must be put forward than that the citizens of one State are injured by the mal-administration of the laws of another. The States cannot make war, or enter into treaties, though they may, with the consent of Congress, make compacts and agreements. When there is no agreement, whose breach might create it, a controversy between States does not arise unless the action complained of is state action, and acts of state officers in abuse or excess of their powers cannot be laid
These doctrines, we think, control this case and require its dismissal as not being within the original jurisdiction of this court as defined by the Constitution. Under a contrary view that jurisdiction could be invoked by a State, bringing an original suit in this court against foreign corporations and citizens of other States, whenever the State thought such corporations and citizens of other States were acting in violation of its laws to the injury of its people generally or in the aggregate; although, an injury, in violation of law, to the property or rights of particular persons through the action of foreign corporations or citizens of States could be reached, without the intervention of the State, by suits instituted by the persons directly or immediately injured.
We are of opinion that the words, in the Constitution, conferring original jurisdiction on this court, in a suit "in which a State shall be a party," are not to be interpreted as conferring such jurisdiction in every cause in which the State elects to make itself strictly a party plaintiff of record and seeks not to protect its own property, but only to vindicate the wrongs of some of its people or to enforce its own laws or public policy against wrongdoers, generally.
Other questions of interest and importance have been elaborately discussed by counsel, but we deem it unnecessary to extend this opinion by an examination of them. What has been said is quite sufficient to show that the demurrer is well taken and that the bill must, in any event, be dismissed for want of jurisdiction in this court to entertain it by original suit on behalf or in the name of the State.