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State of Missouri v. Holland

Bird Protection And Treaty-making, The Ownership Of Nature, The Migratory Bird Treaty, Further Readings


Frank W. McAllister, Attorney General of Missouri


Ray P. Holland

Appellant's Claim

That federal laws pursuant to the Migratory Bird Act and enforcement thereof were an invasion of sovereign states rights as set forth in the Tenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Alexander C. King, Solicitor General; William L. Frierson, Assistant Attorney General

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

John T. Gose, J. Harvey

Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis, John Hessin Clarke, William Rufus Day, Oliver Wendell Holmes (writing for the Court), Joseph McKenna, James Clark McReynolds, Edward Douglass White

Justices Dissenting

Mahlon Pitney, Willis Van Devanter


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

19 April 1920


The Court ruled in favor of Holland, upholding the U.S. government's treaty and its relevant statutes.


By affirming Congress' right to make treaties whose terms might supercede state laws, the Court established one of the first wildlife protection laws.

Related Cases

  • Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U.S. 678 (1887).
  • Baldwin v. Montana Fish and Game Commission, 430 U.S. 371 (1978).


Eblen, Ruth A. and William R. Eblen, eds. The Encyclopedia of the Environment Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940