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O'CONOR v. TEXAS.

decided: May 28, 1906.

O'CONOR
v.
TEXAS.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF TEXAS.

Author: Brewer

[ 202 U.S. Page 506]

 MR. JUSTICE BREWER delivered the opinion of the court.

On July 5, 1901, the State of Texas, under the authority of an act of its legislature, filed its petition in the District Court of Travis County against Thomas O.Conor, to recover possession of a tract of over nineteen thousand acres, situated in Webb County.

The defendant appeared and filed a petition for removal to the Circuit Court of the United States, on the ground that he was an alien domiciled in the Republic of Mexico. The removal

[ 202 U.S. Page 507]

     was claimed under subsection 1 of section 639, Revised Statutes, but, as said by Mr. Chief Justice Waite, Delivering the opinion of the court, in Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company v. Bates, 119 U.S. 464, 467: "Subsections 1 and 2 of section 639 were repealed by the act of 1875; Hyde v. Ruble, 104 U.S. 407; King v. Cornell, 106 U.S. 395, 398; Holland v. Chambers, 110 U.S. 59; Ayres v. Watson, 113 U.S. 594."

Further, in Fisk v. Henarie, 142 U.S. 459, 466, it was held that the purpose of the act of March 3, 1887, 24 Stat. 552, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888, 25 Stat. 433, was to restrict the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts, and it was said (p. 468):

"The repealing clause in the act of 1887 does not specifically refer to these prior acts, but declares that 'all laws and parts of laws in conflict with the provisions of this act be, and the same are hereby repealed.' The provisions relating to the subject matter under consideration are, however, so comprehensive, as well as so variant from those of the former acts, that we think the intention to substitute the one for the other is necessarily to be inferred and must prevail."

See also Smith v. Lyon, 133 U.S. 315; Shaw v. Quincy Mining Company, 145 U.S. 444; Martin v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 151 U.S. 673; Tennessee v. Union &c. Bank, 152 U.S. 454; Hanrick v. Hanrick, 153 U.S. 192; Mexican National Railroad v. Davidson, 157 U.S. 201; Missouri Pacific Railway v. Fitzgerald, 160 U.S. 556; Wabash Western Railway v. Brow, 164 U.S. 271.

It is clear from these authorities that the petition for removal, which, as will appear, presented the only definite Federal question, was rightfully denied.

Thereupon the defendant filed an answer containing several defenses; a claim of title under and by virtue of a grant made in the year 1767, by the government of Spain to Joaquin Galan; a decree of the District Court of Webb County on March 13, 1872, in a suit for confirmation of title, wherein Daniel Ruggles, claiming to be the owner of the grant to

[ 202 U.S. Page 508]

     Galan, was plaintiff and the State of Texas defendant, prosecuted under and by virtue of an act of the legislature of texas, approved February 11, 1860; a confirmation of this decree by an act of the legislature of Texas of April 4, 1881; title by adverse possession under claim of right and title for a period of more than ninety-six years; title by estoppel, in that the State of Texas was estopped by long acquiescence from questioning the decree of the District Court of Webb County of March 13, 1872; title under and by virtue of a decree of the District Court of Webb County, Texas, rendered on January 8, ...


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