Friday, November 15, 2013

Nielson v. Oregon case brief

Nielson v. Oregon case brief summary
212 U.S. 315 (1909)

By writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, defendant sought review of a judgment, which affirmed his conviction for maintaining and operating a purse net on the Columbia River.

By an act of Congress, Washington and Oregon were granted concurrent jurisdiction over the Columbia River. After obtaining a license from Washington to operate a purse net on the Columbia River, defendant, while fishing within Washington's limits, was arrested for violating an Oregon statute that criminalized the maintenance and operation of a purse net. After Oregon's supreme court affirmed defendant's conviction, defendant sought review by writ of error.


  • In reversing, the court held that by virtue of its concurrent jurisdiction, Oregon could not disregard an act authorized by Washington, override Washington's legislation, and punish a man for doing an act within Washington's territorial limits which that state had specially authorized him to do. 
  • The court held that when the opinion of the state legislatures differed, one state could not enforce its opinion against that of the other at least as to an act done within the limits of the other state.

The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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