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of the appraised value of the land as provided in the general act. This created a distinction among claimants occupying identical positions, each having all the elements of equity possessed by the others. It is the view of the committee that a holder of a small claim in New Mexico, not exceeding 160 acres, which has been held in good faith and peaceful, adverse possession, either in person or together with his ancestors or grantors, for more than 20 years, has placed valuable improvements thereon and/or has reduced a part thereof to a state of cultivation, is in equity entitled to a patent therefor upon payment of the customary price of $1.25 per acre. A letter from the Secretary of the Interior and a memorandum by the Commissioner of the General Land Office are attached and will be self-explanatory.


Washington, June 2, 1930. Hon. GERALD P. NYE, Chairman Committee on Public Lands and Surveys,

United States Senate. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: With further reference to your request of May 14 for a report on S. 4308, which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue patents for lands held under color of title, there is transmitted herewith a memorandum from the Commissioner of the General Land Office. After a review of the proposed measure, I agree with Commissioner Moore. Very truly yours,

Ray LYMAN WILBUR, Secretary.

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Washington, May 28, 1930. Memorandum for the Secretary.

Reference is had to the attached letter from Hon. Gerald P. Nye, chairman Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, United States Senate, transmitting for report S. 4308, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue patents for lands held under color of title.

The bill proposes to authorize the issuance of patents for lands in New Mexico under certain circumstances when the lands have been held under claim or color of title for more than 20 years, on the payment of $1.25 per acre. The bill does not propose to reserve the minerals but specifies that the lands shall not be known to be mineral.

The claims to which the bill appears to refer were originally termed “small holding claims," and the first act of Congress which authorized the patenting and survey of those claims was the act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 861, secs. 16, 17, and 18). By succeeding acts Congress provided for the survey and patenting of those claims, and no purchase money was required under the various acts until the passage of the act of June 8, 1926 (44 Stat. 709), the wording of which was identical with the wording of the present bill.

All the various acts referred to providing for the issuance of patents on color of title claims under certain circumstances related only to New Mexico and no general color of title act applying to the whole United States was passed until the passage of the act of December 22, 1928 (45 Stat. 1069).

Inasmuch as the latter act was general in scope it was held by this department to have impliedly repealed the act of June 8, 1926, supra, which related only to New Mexico.

While the act of December 22, 1928, supra, reserves to the United States the coal and all other minerals, together with the right to enter upon the lands for the purpose of prospecting for and mining such deposits, and provides for the payment of the appraised price of the land, it has not been shown that the class of claims affected in New Mexico is necessarily different from the class of claims affected in the other States.

Furthermore, the color of title claimants in New Mexico have had opportunities from time to time to perfect their titles since 1891. Accordingly I can see no necessity for the enactment of the bill.

C. C. MOORE, Commissioner. O





2d Session

REPORT No. 846


May 29 (calendar day, JUNE 6), 1930.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. STEPHENS, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the



(To accompany S. 2371)

The Committee on the Judiciary, having considered the bill S. 2371, reports the same favorably with the recommendation that the bill do pass without amendment.

The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia is a unique tribunal in the judicial system of the United States. It substantially occupies the position of a United States district court and, within the boundaries of the District of Columbia, fulfills the mission of such a court. But it is besides a court of general jurisdiction and is clothed with most of the jurisdiction normally had by a State court of general jupsidiction. In addition, this court is charged with the duty to hear and determine that great class of cases in which the officials of the United States Government are parties; and in certain classes of cases, like quo warranto, mandamus, and injunctions against Government officials, the jurisdiction, as a practical matter, is exclusive, because in other courts service can not be had upon Government officials. From these various classes of legal business there has come a very great volume of court business. The result is a congestion almost equivalent to a practical breakdown in the judicial system of the District of Columbia.

Hearings were held by the subcommittee on May 23, 1930, and at an earlier date the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives held hearings on a companion bill, H. R. 2903. These hearings disclosed conditions that are alarming. Without making a detailed statement, it will suffice for the purpose of this report to recite to the Senate that in 1929 the number of law actions filed in this court was 1,337. This is an increase of substantially 80 per cent over the number filed in 1922 and shows a steady and continuing growth in the volume of business, which gives promise of greater congestion in the future unless additional judges are provided. The number of equity cases filed in 1929 was 1,431. This is an increase of about 29 per cent over 1922, but the character of the cases makes them more difficult to try.

On May 16, 1930, there were 1,192 cases ordered on the law calendar for trial, the trial of these cases being divided between two judges. There are now awaiting trial nearly 300 cases brought by disabled veterans. Each one of these cases must develop the life history of the plaintiff for each year from the end of the Great War to date, and many of the cases take a week or more than a week for trial. The court is about 10 per cent further behind in the trial of ordinary law cases than it was last October, and it will be still further behind next October. Criminal cases are now being tried where the defendants have been in jail for more than a year awaiting trial. Many cases are not reached for trial for two years after the case is begun. There is no question about the seriousness of the congestion.

The law authorized a court of seven judges. One of these judges was added by a recent act of Congress to preside over the trial of condemnation cases. These cases came to the Supreme Court as an addition to the jurisdiction of the court, so that by adding a condemnation judge the general situation has not been changed. Except for this addition this court has the same number of judges that were provided by Congress in 1879, and only one judge has been added in the last 50 years. It is obvious that the congestion of the court's business is caused by the enormous increase in population during the last half century and the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the court.

The committee has taken cognizance of the report published in the newspapers to the effect that some of the members of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia have not been attentive to their duties. The best information which the committee could obtain leads to the conclusion that although some members of the court are less diligent than others, and, of course, some are less capable than others, speaking generally, the members of this court are doing all that should be asked of them, and some members of the court have shown a spirit of very great devotion and perform an enormous amount of difficult work.

The Attorney General voluntarily appeared before the subcommittee and made a strong statement in behalf of creating the two additional judgeships as provided for in S. 2371. For the information of the Senate the committee sets out the following statement from the Attorney General's testimony:

I recommend legislation to provide at once two additional judges for the Supreme Court of the District

There is no room for difference of opinion as to the need for at least one additional judge. I am satisfied that two additional judges should now be provided and that the only question about the second additional judge is whether he may be needed after the lapse of three or four years. If it be deemed advisable to anticipate that event, the legislation might provided that the first vacancy occurring after the expiration of four years shall not be filled unless it be in the office of the chief justice to be filled by then advancing an associate. There is a very serious congestion of cases in that court.

The calendar of cases where the defendants are able to give bail is many months behind. Delay in the trial of criminal cases means lax law enforcement. Witnesses move away, die, or disappear, acquittals result, cases have to be nolle-prossed, guilty defendants thus escape punishment, and the whole machinery of law enforcement slows down, and we lose the deterrent

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effect of speedy trial and punishment. A similar condition exists in the District respecting padlock injunction cases under the national prohibition act, which should be effective weapons in the enforcement of that statute. There are a large number of those pending in the District, and it takes from one to one-anda-half years to secure a trial in such case after it is instituted. The prompt trial and disposition of such cases would tend to deter proprietors and tenants of real estate from allowing the use of their property for the violation of the national prohibition act. There is likewise a great delay in the trial of private cases in the Supreme Court of the District. The equity calendar is more than a year behind. Such delays result often in denial of justice to private litigants, particularly to poor people.

The court is so far behind that with one additional judge it would be a slow process for it to bring its dockets up to date. The public interest requires that this be done as rapidly as possible. Two additional judges will expedite the work. Now, that is a studied conclusion I came to at that time. I might say that I looked into the operation of the court at that time, considered the amount of work that was being done by the judges, and that was long before any public discussion arose as to whether they were devoting their time assiduously to their work, and I called in a number of the judges and talked over their problems with them, and questioned them about the number of hours they were sitting, and all of that sort of thing, and I became convinced at that time, because of the great mass of- I call it chambers' work-formal matters, that is entrusted to the judges of the District here, that do not have to be dealt with on the bench, they did not stop work when they left the bench, and that they probably did devote as much time as they could reasonably be expected to judicial work. But taking all of these things into consideration, the calendar is so far behind that I was personally discouraged at the thought of being able to bring the thing up so that we would have an example of prompt administration of justice here, unless we get these additional judges.

SR-71-2-VOL 2-57

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