U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Beebe, 127 U.S. 338 (1888)
United States v. Beebe
Argued February 10, 13, 1888
Decided April 30, 1888
127 U.S. 338
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
The Attorney General has authority under the Constitution to file a bill in equity in the name of the United States to set aside a patent of public land alleged to have been obtained by fraud or mistake, when the government has a direct interest in the tract patented or is under an obligation respecting the relief invoked by the bill.
The United States are not bound by any statute of limitations, nor barred by laches of their officers in a suit brought by them, as sovereign, to enforce a public right or to assert a public interest, but where they are formal parties to the suit, and the real remedy sought in their came is the enforcement of a private right for the benefit of a private party, and no interest of the United States is involved, a court of equity will not be restrained from administering the equities between the real parties by any exemption of the government designed for the protection of the rights of the United States alone.