U.S. Supreme Court
Lee v. Johnson, 116 U.S. 48 (1885)
Lee v. Johnson
Argued December 4, 1885
Decided December 21, 1885
116 U.S. 48
One seeking in equity to have the holder of a patent of public land declared a trustee for his benefit on the ground that the patent was improperly issued must clearly establish that there was a mistake or fraud in the issue of the patent which affected the decision of the Land Office, and but for which he would be entitled to the patent.
In the absence of fraud, the findings of the Secretary of the Interior are conclusive upon questions of fact as to land claims submitted to him for his decision.
When it clearly appears in a proceeding that a claim set up is against public policy, and that in no event could it be sustained, the tribunal should dismiss it, whether the allegations of the parties have or have not raised the question.
The facts which make the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.