Concerning the validity of this claim that the Constitution looks to a Union composed only of States and potential States, this much may be granted: Beyond all reasonable doubt those who framed and adopted the federal Constitution did not anticipate, and therefore cannot be said deliberately to have provided for, the time when the United States should extend its sovereignty over territories not intended ultimately for statehood. Nor can it be said that a different view was held upon this point by practically any one until comparatively recent times. But in admitting this, the conclusion that the annexation of such territory was an unconstitutional act does not follow. For in the first place, as has been repeatedly declared by the Supreme Court, it is not enough to say that a particular case was not in the minds of those who framed and adopted, the Constitution in order to hold an act unconstitutional. One must go further and show that had the particular case been suggested to those framers and adopters of the Constitution, they would so have modified its language as to exclude it.26 In the second place, even were this principle of constitutional construction not sufficiently broad to uphold the federal power in question, there would be applicable two principles, each of which would prevent the Supreme Court from passing upon this point. The first of these principles is the one elsewhere mentioned that the question of de facto and de jure sovereignty is one regarding which the courts hold themselves bound by the determination of the executive and legislative branches of government; the second is that the motive of an act, except for the purpose of solving an ambiguity in its application, is not a .proper subject for judicial examination, and that, therefore, in the case of an annexation of territory, it would not be proper for the court to seek to learn whether or not ultimate
26 "The case being within the words of the rule, must be within its opera-ticiis likewise, unless there be something within its literal construction so obviously absurd or mischievous, or repugnant to the general spirit of that instrument as to justify those who expounded the Constitution in Muting it an exception." Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 \Vh. 518; 4 L.ed. 629 statehood was intended to be granted the lands and peoples obtained. Indeed, as we have seen, as regards the contiguous continental territories of the United States, it has been uniformly held that the grant to them of statehood lies wholly within the discretion of Congress, and that no legal means exist for compelling action should that body arbitrarily refuse for an indefinite length of time to grant this privilege to a deserving territory.
The question whether or not territory not contiguous to the other territory of the United States may be annexed is very similar to the one just discussed and may be answered in much the same manner. For this purpose we may borrow the words of the report of the Committee favoring the annexation of Hawaii: "The fact that territory is contiguous or noncontiguous is to be considered in reference to the policy or expediency of annexation, but it is submitted that both on principle and precedent there is all the constitutional power necessary to accomplish annexation in any case where annexation is deemed to be to the interest of this country. The fact that territory is contiguous or noncontiguous can have no bearing upon the constitutionality of its acquisition; but simply goes to affect the value of the territory proposed to be annexed. On general principles, if it is contiguous, it is more easily governed and defended. But whether this is so or not depends upon circumstances. In these days distance is not a matter of miles, but of hours. When California was annexed it was two months distant from the centre of civilization in the United States. Honolulu to-day lies only ten and a half days from Washington. As to the arguments presented in favor of the unconstitutionality of the annexation of noncontiguous territory, it is submitted that because our forefathers of 1776 did not discuss or contemplate any given proposition is no reason, constitutional or otherwise, why their children should not discuss and contemplate any and every problem which is presented to them in 1897 upon its merits, whether their ancestors ever heard of such subject or not. It is further submitted that the precedents in United States history are all against the unconstitutionality of the annexation of noncontiguous territory. Alaska is separated from the United States by a vast foreign territory. Midway Island is approximately three thousand miles from the American coast The Aleutian Islands, reaching almost to the Asiatic coast, extend twelve hundred miles west of Alaska, and the guano islands are scattered all over the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea." 27