Humble Pipe Line Co. v. Waggonner

PETITIONER: Humble Pipe Line Co.
LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 376 US 369 (1964)
ARGUED: Mar 04, 1964
DECIDED: Mar 23, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Humble Pipe Line Co. v. Waggonner

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 04, 1964 in Humble Pipe Line Co. v. Waggonner

Earl Warren:

Number 329, Humble Pipe Line Company, Petitioner, versus W. E. Waggonner, Sheriff, and Number 354, Natural Gas and Oil Corporation et al., Petitioners, versus W. E. Waggonner, Sheriff.

Mr. O'Quin.

Leon O'Quin:

If the Court please --

Earl Warren:

Oh, I --

Leon O'Quin:

Mr. Yancey will represent (Voice Overlap) --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Yancey is going to (Voice Overlap) -- very well.

Mr. Yancey, you may proceed with your argument.

Clarence L. Yancey:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This, we think is a rather simple case and it deals only with whether or not the United States has exclusive jurisdiction for the military air base, Barksdale Air Force Base, located in Bossier Parish, Louisiana.

And also, whether or not having exclusive jurisdiction, the State of Louisiana has the right to tax, to levy ad valorem taxes covering private property located within that military enclave.

The facts are that in 1930, the 22,000 acres comprising Barksdale Air Force Base were transferred by the City of Shreveport, the State of Louisiana and Bossier Levee Board to the Federal Government with the understanding that the Government would build an air base on this property.

Now, these deeds are simple deeds with no -- no reservations of any consequence whatever.

It has no restriction in these deeds as to the use to which the property might be put.

In other words, they are fee simple conveyances.

They are in the form of donations as my opponent will point out later.

They're in the form of donations but there was a very definite understanding that in pursuance of the transfer of these lands to the Government, the Government would in turn build this air base.

The City of Shreveport actually spent several millions of dollars in acquiring these lands so that it might give these lands to the Government in exchange for the installation of an air base at this point.

Today, Barksdale Air Force Base is one of the great air bases of the nation.

The second air force is headquartered there.

There are 8000 people on duty, either military personnel or government employees.

There are 1500 acres, approximately in the cantonment area, about 1500 acres in the landing street proper and then the remainder of it is what they call the East Base and that includes the land which is involved in this particular case.

The -- the air -- entire air base is on defense.

There are controlled accesses.

The public can't come and go as it might wish.

Everyone stopped at the gate.

They must -- civilians outside must have business on the base in order to visit on the base.

These matters are brought out on the deposition of Colonel Hanlon, the base commander at page 79 of the record.

In 1951, it was determined by the Government that a portion of the base was being drained by oil and gas wells, drilled by others just outside the base.

So the matter was taken up with the Department of the Interior, which of course is the branch of the Government that deals with oil and gas matters, and limited jurisdiction was transferred by Public Order 701 from the Department of the Air Force to the Department of the Interior for the purpose of leasing for oil and gas so that the Government might -- following the practices of a good husbandman -- get some revenues out of these oil and gas deposits underlying the Government property.

So that was an advertisement for oil and gas leases.