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SAGE V. HAMPE, 235 U. S. 99 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sage v. Hampe, 235 U.S. 99 (1914)

Sage v. Hampe

No. 82

Argued November 12, 13, 1914

Decided November 30, 1914

235 U.S. 99


Where plaintiff in error was defendant in the state court in a suit upon a contract to convey Indian allottee lands and relied as a defense upon an act of Congress making the conveyance invalid, he is entitled to come to this Court. Nutt v. Knut, 200 U. S. 12.

While one may contract that a future event shall come to pass over which he has no, or only a limited, power, Globe Re;fining Co. v. Landa Cotton Co., 190 U. S. 540, he is not liable for nonperformance of, nor can he be compelled to perform, a contract that, on its face requires an illegal act either of himself or of a third party.

A contract that invokes prohibited conduct makes the contractor a contributor to such conduct. Kalem Co. v. Harper Bros., 222 U. S. 55.

A contract tending to bring to bear improper influence upon an officer of the United States and to induce attempts to mislead him is contrary to public policy, and nonenforceable.

The protection of the Indians in their title to allotments is the policy of the United States, and one that the states cannot regard or disregard at will.

Where a contract affecting Indian lands might be held unenforceable as a matter of common law, but this Court construes a federal statute chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 235 U. S. 100

broadly so as to include such a contract within its prohibitions, this Court has jurisdiction to review under § 237, Judicial Code.

The United States can make its prohibitions on alienation of Indian allotments binding upon others than Indians to the extent necessary to carry out its policy of protecting the Indians in retaining title to the land allotted to them.

87 Kan. 536 reversed.

The facts, which involve the validity of a contract for sale of allotted Indian lands during the period of restriction on alienation, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 235 U. S. 103

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