MUSKRAT v. UNITED STATES

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
330
Appellant 
David Muskrat and J. Henry Dick
Appellee 
United States
Consolidation 
No. 331, William Brown and Levi B. Gritts v. United States
Decided By 
Advocates
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellees)
(argued the cause for the appellees)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

An Act of Congress in 1902 alloted land to Cherokee Indians, including David Muskrat and Henry Dick. Congress passed acts in 1904 and 1906 that limited the rights that Indians on the land could exercise over it. Some Cherokees already on the land contended that this act had the potential to unconstitutionally deprive them of their property. Congress passed an act in 1907 granting federal courts the jurisdiction to hear cases from Indians contesting the constitutionality of the 1904 and 1906 acts. Under this act, Muskrat and Dick filed suit in the Court of Claims and appealed to the Supreme Court.

Question 

Can Congress authorize matters for judicial review that are not "cases" or "controversies"?

Conclusion 

No. Justice William R. Day delivered the opinion for a 7-0 court. The Court ruled that Congress could not create jurisdiction for judicial review of a specific matter by way of legislation. This is because "the right to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional could only be exercised when a proper case between opposing parties was submitted for judicial determination." The Constitution granted the judiciary the power to decide "cases" and "controversies," but did not grant a "general veto power...upon the legislation of Congress."

Cite this Page
MUSKRAT v. UNITED STATES . The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 18 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1910/1910_330>.
MUSKRAT v. UNITED STATES , The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1910/1910_330 (last visited October 18, 2014).
"MUSKRAT v. UNITED STATES ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 18, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1910/1910_330.