ArtIII.S2.C1.4.8 Controversies Between Citizens of the Same State Claiming Land Under Grants of Different States

Article III, Section 2, Clause 1:

The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

The genesis of this clause was in the report of the Committee of Detail which vested the power to resolve such land disputes in the Senate, 1 but this proposal was defeated in the Convention, 2 which then added this clause to the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary without reported debate. 3 The motivation for this clause was the existence of boundary disputes affecting ten sates at the time the Convention met. With the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the ultimate settlement of the boundary disputes, and the passing of land grants by the states, this clause, never productive of many cases, became obsolete. 4

Footnotes

  1.  2 M. Farrand, supra at 162, 171, 184.
  2.  Id. at 400-401.
  3.  Id. at 431.
  4.  See Pawlet v. Clark, 13 U.S. (9 Cr.) 292 (1815). Cf. City of Trenton v. New Jersey, 262 U.S. 182 (1923).