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U.S. Supreme Court

Lewis Blue Point Oyster Co. v. Briggs, 229 U.S. 82 (1913)

Lewis Blue Point Oyster Cultivation Company v. Briggs

No. 272

Argued April 30, May 1, 1913

Decided May 26, 1913

229 U.S. 82


The determination by the state court of the effect of grants of title to the bed of navigable waters within the state must be followed by this Court.

The deepening, in the interest of navigation, of a channel across a navigable bay the bed of which is used for oyster cultivation under grants from the state is not a taking of the property of the lessee of the oyster beds within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment.

The public right of navigation is the dominant right in navigable waters, and this includes the right to use the bed of the water for every purpose which is an aid to navigation.

Whatever power the several states had before the Union was formed over navigable waters within their respective jurisdictions has been delegated to Congress, which now has all governmental power over the subject, restricted only by the limitations in the other clauses of the Constitution.

United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Co., ante, p. 229 U. S. 53, followed as to the nature of the title of an owner of the bed of navigable waters and the control of Congress thereover. Monongahela Navigation Co. v. United States, 148 U. S. 312, distinguished as not resting on proprietary rights, but on estoppel.

198 N.Y. 287 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the rights of private owners to land under navigable waters within a state used for cultivation of oysters, and whether such parties are entitled to compensation from the government of the United States for the destruction of the oyster beds therein by reason of improvement of the channel for navigation pursuant to act of Congress, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 229 U. S. 85

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