Page images
PDF
EPUB

INDIAN DEPREDATION CLAIMS.

By the act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. L., 851), jurisdiction was conferred on the Court of Claims to adjudicate

First. All claims for property of citizens of the United States taken or destroyed by Indians belonging to any band, tribe, or nation in amity with the United States, without just cause or provocation on the part of the owner or agent in charge, and not returned or paid for.

Second. Such jurisdiction shall also extend to all cases which have been examined and allowed by the Interior Department.

And also to such cases as were authorized to be examined under the act of Congress making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1886, and for other · purposes, approved March 3, 1885, and under subsequent acts, subject, however, to the limitations hereinafter provided.

By section. 11 of said act it is provided that all papers, reports, evidence, records, and proceedings now on file or of record in any of the Departments, or the office of the Secre. tary of the Senate, or the office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, or certified copies of the same, relating to any claims authorized to be prosecuted under this act, shall be furnished to the court upon its order, or at the request of the Attorney-General. REPORTS FROM.

On the first day of every December session of Congress the clerk of the Court of Claims shall transmit to Congress a full and complete statement of all the judgments rendered by the court during the previous year, stating the amounts thereof and the parties in whose favor they were rendered, together with a brief synopsis of the nature of the claims upon which they were rendered. And at the end of every term of the court he shall transmit a copy of its decisions to the heads of Departments; to the Solicitor, the Comptrollers, and the Auditors of the Treasury; to the Commissioners of the General Land Office and of Indian Affairs; the chiefs of bureaus, and to other officers charged with the adjustment of claims against the United States.-R. S., sec. 1057.

Sections 7, 8, and 9 of the act of February 24, 1855, establishing the Court of Claims, are as follows:

Sec. 7. That said court shall keep a record of their proceedings, and shall, at the commencement of each session of Congress, and at the com

inencement of each month during the session of Congress, report to Congress the cases upon which they shall have finally acted, stating in each the material facts which they find established by the eviilence, with their opinion in the case, and the reasons upon which such opinion is founded. Any judge who may dissent from the opinion of the majority shall append his reasons for such dissent to the report; and such report, together with the briefs of the solicitor and of the claimant, which shall accompany the report, upon being made to either House of Congress, shall be printed in the same manner as other public documents. And said court shall prepare a bill or bills in those cases which shall have received the favorable decision thereof, in such form as, if enacted, will carry the same into effect. And two or more cases may be embraced in the same bill, where the separate amount proposed to be allowed in each case shall be less than one thousand dollars. And the said court shall transmit with said reports the testimony in each case, whether the same shall receive the favorable or adverse action of said court.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That said reports and the bills reported as aforesaid shall, if not finally acted upon during the session of Congress to which the said reports are made, be continued from session to session and from Congress to Congress until the same shall be finally acted upon; and the consideration of said reports and bills shall, at the subsequent session of Congress, be resamed, and the said reports and bills be proceeded with in the same manner as though finally acted upon at the session when presented.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the claims reported upon adversely shall be placed upon the calendar when reported, and if the decision of said court shall be confirmed by Congress, said decision shall be conclusive; and the said court shall not at any subsequent period consider said claims, unless such reasons shall be presented to said court as, by the rules of common law or chancery in suits between individuals, would furnish sufficient ground for granting a new trial.

On the 16th of May, 1856 (first session Thirty-fourth Congress), the House adopted the following rule, viz:

Bills and their accompanying reports from the Court of Claims shall be referred, by the Clerk of the House, to the Committee of Claims; and it shall be in order every Friday morning, immediately after reading the Journal, for the Committee of Claims to report with reference to business from the Court of Claims; the bills reported to be printed and placed on the Private Calendar.

Under this rule the bills so reported were given a number distinct from House bills and were placed at the head of the Private Calendar.

That rule was changed in the Thirty-sixth Congress so as to read as follows, viz:

“The bills from the Court of Claims shall, on being laid before the House, be read a first and second time, committed to a Committee of the Whole House, and, together with the accompanying reports, printed.” (See Journal 1, 36, p. 533.)

In the revision made by the Forty-sixth Congress the latter rule was omitted.

The practice in the House has been when a report is received from the Court of Claims to refer it to a committee which had original jurisdiction of the matter—the Committee on War Claims or the Committee on Claims, as the case may be.Cong. Record, 1, 50, p. 110.

Under the provisions of what is known as the Bowman Act, all reports from the Court of Claims upon matters referred to that court by the committees of the House, and not disposed of, are continued from Congress to Congress, and go over, standing first, as a matter of course, on the Calendar.-Cong. Record, 1, 50, p. 455.

A claim reported from the Court of Claims, and also by a committee of the House in the preceding Congress, having been placed first on the Private Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House, on being reached on the Calendar objection was made to its consideration, upon the ground that no bill had been introduced or reported in the then existing Congress for its payment. The objection was reported to the House and submitted to the Speaker pro tempore, Mr. Cox, who held that the report was properly on the Calendar, but intimated that certain preliminary steps were necessary before the proposed measure could regularly be enacted into law, such as the introduction and report by a committee of the then House, of a bill for the payment of the claim.-Cong. Record, 1, 50, p. 779.

Speaker Reed held, March 14, 1890, that such reports were not required to be placed on the Calendar.

In the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses the question of the status of these reports was not presented.

Communications from the Court of Claims transmitting findings of fact and conclusions of law, or orders other than final judgment, are laid before the House and referred to the Committee on Claims or the Committee on War Claims. These

5585_ 20

committees thereupon report appropriate bills in conformity to the action of the court.

Communications from the court transmitting judgments rendered against the United States are referred to the Committee on Appropriations, and provision for the payment thereof is made in the sundry civil or deficiency appropriation bills.

· CLERK OF THE HOUSE. A Clerk shall be elected at the commencement of each Congress, who shall continue in office until his successor is appointed.-Rule II. DUTIES OF.

Presides at commencement of first session of a Congress.. Mails to Members a list of official reports. Notes questions of order on Journal. Distributes documents, attests bills, writs, etc. Makes contracts for House of Representatives. Keeps account of disbursements and of Members' stationery. Pays salaries to officers and employés.—See Rule III. Respecting other duties of the Clerk and his appointees, see Rule XIII, clause 2, Rule XXII, clause 1.

At the first session of Congress after every general election of Representatives, the oath of office shall be administered by any Member of the House of Representatives to the Speaker; and by the Speaker to all the Members and Delegates present, and to the Clerk previous to entering on any other business, and to the Members and Delegates who afterward appear, previous to their taking their seats.-R. S., sec. 30.

In the case of a vacancy which occurred in the office of Clerk during the Thirty-first Congress (see Journal, 1, 31, p. 789), it was decided that the House could take no action upon, nor transact any other business until a Clerk was elected.

The Clerk, when presiding, has repeatedly refused to entertain motions or resolutions to amend the roll of Representatives elect, and has refused to entertain an appeal from that decision.

(See Proceedings, commencement first session Forty-first Congress, and of subsequent Congresses.)

As soon as the Speaker has declared a person elected Clerk, the oath of office is administered to him by the Speaker, and he enters upon the duties of his office.

It is made the duty of the Clerk, within thirty days after he enters upon the duties of his office, to give bond to the United States, with one or more sureties, to be approved by the Comptroller of the Treasury, in the penal sum of $20,000, with condition for the faithful application and disbursement of the contingent fund of the House.—R. S., secs. 58 and 59.

Before the first meeting of each Congress the Clerk of the next preceding House of Representatives shall make a roll of the Representatives elect, and place thereon the names of those persons, and of such persons only, whose credentials show that they were regularly elected in accordance with the laws of their States, respectively, or the laws of the United States.-R. 8., sec. 31.

In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk of the House of Representatives, or of the absence or inability of the Clerk to discharge the duties imposed on him by law or custom relative to the preparation of the roll of Representatives or the organization of the House, those duties shall devolve on the Sergeantat-Arms of the next preceding House of Representatives.-R. 8., sec. 32.

In case of vacancies in the offices of both the Clerk and the Sergeant-at-Arms, or of the absence or inability of both to act, the duties of the Clerk relative to the preparation of the roll of the House of Representatives or the organization of the House shall be performed by the Doorkeeper of the next preceding House of Representatives.—R. S., sec. 33.

Representatives and Delegates elect to Congress, whose credentials in due form of law have been duly filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, in accordance with the provisions of section 31, may receive their compensation monthly, from the beginning of their term until the beginning of the first session of each Congress, upon a certificate in the form now in use, to be signed by the Clerk of the House, which certificate shall have the like force and effect as is given to the certificate of the Speaker.-R. S., sec. 38, and Laws 2, 43, p. 389.

The Clerk of the House of Representatives is authorized and directed to sign, during the recess of Congress after the first session and until the first day of the second session, the certificates for the monthly compensation of Members and Dele

« PreviousContinue »