Missouri v. Holland Case Brief

Summary of Missouri v. Holland
S. Ct. 1920

Facts: The State of Missouri contends that it has ownership and possessory rights to migratory birds within it boundaries. A treaty was signed between U. S. and Great Britain whereas certain migratory birds, fluctuating between the U. S. and Canada were protected by closed seasons and other form of protection as issued by the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. Mr. Holland, a U. S. game warden attempted to enforce the Migratory Game Treaty Act.

Issue: Whether Mr. Holland’s attempt to enforce the MGTA are an unconstitutional interference with the State of Missouri’s rights reserved in the 10th Amendment?

Holding: No.

Procedure: Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Missouri. Suit by the State of Missouri against Ray P. Holland, United States Game Warden. From a decree dismissing the suit on motion, plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Rule: A2, S2, delegates the power to make treaties; A2S6 treaties made under the authority of the U.S. are the supreme law of the Land. A treaty cannot be valid if it infringes upon the Constitution. {What Congress cannot do to in derogation of the powers reserved to the States, a treaty also is forbidden}

Ct Rationale: Acts of Congress are the supreme law of the land when made in pursuance of the Constitution. Treaties are declare to be the supreme law of the land when made pursuant to the laws of the U.S. The MGTA does not infringe on the Constitution. Between a State and its inhabitants the State may regulate the killing of the birds. Wild birds are not in the possession of the anyone; and possession is the beginning of ownership. The birds weren’t present yesterday, may be elsewhere tomorrow, and in another country in a week.

PL A: The treaty is invalid by way of its removal of a power reserved to the State of Missouri.

Def A: Treaties, such as the MGTA, entered into, not in violation of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land.

Contravene – To act or be counter to; to contradict.

Derogation – partial repeal or abolishing of a law, as by subsequent act which limits it scope.

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