Courts Of The United States*

The judiciary of the United States is established by virtue of the following provisions, contained in the third article of the constitution, namely:

2. - "1. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

3.- "2. (I.) The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party to controversies between two or more states, between a state and a citizen of another state, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

4. - " (2.) In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations, as congress shall make.

5. - " (3.) The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crime shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as congress may by law have directed."

6. By the amendments to the constitution, the following alteration has been made: "Art. 11. The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commence or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or citizens or subjects of any foreign state."

7. This subject will be considered by taking a view of, 1. The central courts; an 2. The local courts. Art. 1 The Central Courts of the United States.

8. The central courts of the United States are, the senate, for the trial of impeachments, and the supreme court. The territorial jurisdiction of these courts extends over the whole country.

1. Of the Senate of the United States

9.- 1. The constitution of the United States, art. 1, 3, provides that the senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, the senate shall be on oath or affirmation. When the president of the United States is tried, the chief justice shall preside and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

10. lt will be proper here to consider, 1. The organization of this extraordinary court; and, 2. Its jurisdiction.

11. - 1. Its organization differs according as it has or, has not the president of the United States to try. For the trial of all impeachment of the president, the preseuce of the chief justice is required. There must also be a sufficient number of senators present to form a quorum. For the trial of all other impeachments, it is sufficient if a quorum be present.

12. - 2. The jurisdiction of the senate, as a court for the trial of impeachments, extends to the following officers, namely; the president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, art. 2, 4, when they shall have been guilty of treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Id. The constitution defines treason, art.

3, - 3, but recourse must be had to the common law for a definition of bribery. Not having particularly mentioned what is to be understood by " other high crimes and misdemeanors," resort, it is presumed, must be had to parliamentary practice. and the common law, in order to ascertain what they are. Story, Const. 795.

2. Of the Supreme Court:

13. The constitution of the United States directs that the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme court; and in such inferior courts as congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. It will be proper to consider, 1st. Its organization; 2dly. Its Jurisdiction.

14. - 1. Of the organization of the supreme court. Under this head will be considered, l. The appointment of the judges. 2. The number necessary to form a quorum. 3. The time and place of holding the court.

15. - 1. The judges of the supreme court are appointed by the president, by and with the consent of the senate, Const. art. 2, 2. They hold their office during good behaviour, and receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. Const. art" 3, 1. They consist of a chief justice and eight associate justices. Act of March 3, 1837, 1.

16. - 2. Five judges are required to make a quorum, Act of March 3, 1837, 1; but by the act of the 21st of January, 1829, the judges attending on the day appointed for holding a session of the court, although fewer than a quorum, at that time, four have authority to adjourn the court from day to day, for twenty days, after the time appointed for the commencement, of said session, unless a quorum shall sooner attend; and the business shall not be continued over till the next session of the court, until the expiration of the said twenty days. By the same act, if, after the judges shall have assembled, on any day less than a quorum shall assemble, the judge or judges. so assembling shall have authority to adjourn the said court, from day to day, until a quorum shall attend, and, when expedient and proper, may adjourn the same without day.

17 - 3. The supreme court is holden at the city of Washington. Act of April 29, 1 802. The session commences on the second Monday of January, in each and every year. Act of May, 4, 1826. The first Monday of August in each year is appointed as a return day. Act of April 29, 1802. In case of a contagious sickness, the chief justice or his senior associate may direct in what other place the court shall be held, and the court shall accordingly be ad to such place. Act of February 25, 1799, 7. The officers of the court are a clerk, who is appointed by the court, a marshal, appointed by the president, by and with the advice and the consent of the senate, crier, and other inferior officers.

18. - 2. Of the jurisdiction of the supreme. court. The jurisdiction of the supreme court is either civil or criminal.

19. - 1. The civil jurisdiction is either original or appellate.

20. - (1.) The provisions of the constitution that relate to the original jurisdiction of the supreme court, are contained in the articles of the constitution already cited.

21. By the act of September 24th, 1789, 13, the supreme court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies of civil nature where a state is a party, except "between a state and it's citizens; and except also, between a state and citizens of other states or aliens, in which latter case it shall have original, but not exclusive jurisdiction. And shall have, exclusively, all such jurisdiction of suits, or proceedings against ambassadors or other public ministers, or their domestics or domestic servants, as a court of law can have or exercise consistently with the law of nations. And original, but not exclusive jurisdiction of all suits brought by ambassadors or other public ministers, or in which a consul or vice-consul shall be a party. And the trial of issues in fact, in the supreme court, in all actions at law, against citizens of the United States, shall be by jury.

22. In consequence of the decision of the case of Chisholm v. Georgia, where it was held that assumpsit might be maintained against a state by a citizen of a different state, the llth article of the amendments of the constitution above quoted, was adopted.

23. In those cases in which original jurisdiction is given to the supreme court, the judicial power of the United States cannot be exercised in its appellate form. With the exception of those cases in which original jurisdiction is given to this court, there is none to which the judicial power extends, from which the original jurisdiction of the inferior courts is excluded by the constitution.

24. The constitution establishes the supreme court and defines its jurisdiction. It enumerates the cases in which its jurisdiction is original and exclusive, and defines that which is appellate. See ll Wheat. 467.

25. Congress cannot vest in the supreme court original jurisdiction in a case in which the constitution has clearly not given that court original jurisdiction; and affirmative words in the constitution, declaring in what cases the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction, must be construed negatively as to all other cases, or else the clause would be inoperative and useless. 1 Cranch, 137. See 5 Pet. 15 Pet. 284; 12 Pet. 657; 9 Wheat. 738 6 Wheat. 264.

26. - 2. The supreme court exercises appellate jurisdiction in the following different modes:

(1.) By writ of error from the final judgments of the circuit courts; of the district courts, exercising the powers of circuit courts; and of the superior, courts of the territories, exercising the powers of circuit, courts, in certain cases. A writ of error does not lie to the supreme court to reverse the judgment of a circuit court, in a civil action by writ of error carried from the district court to the circuit court. The United States v. Goodwin, 7 Cranch, 108. But now, by the act of July 4, 1840, c. 20, 3, it is enacted that writs of error shall lie to the supreme court from all judgments of a circuit court, in cases brought there by writs of error from the district court, in like manner and under the same regulations, as are provided by law for writs of error for judgments rendered upon suits originally brought in the circuit court.

27. - (2.) The supreme court has jurisdiction by appeals from the final decrees of the circuit courts; of the district courts exercising the powers of circuit courts; and of the superior courts of territories, exercising the powers of circuit courts in certain cases. See 8 Cranch, 251 6 Wheat. 448.

28. - (3.) The supreme court has also jurisdiction by writ of error from the, final judgments and decrees of the highest courts of law or equity in a state, in the cases provided for by the twenty-fifth section of the act of September 24th, 1789, which enacts that a final judgment or decree, in any suit in the highest court of law, or equity of a, state, in which a decision in the suit could be had, where is drawn in question the validity of a treaty, or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United States, and the decision is against their validity; or where is drawn in question the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under any state, on the ground of their being repugnant to the constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of such their validity; or where is drawn in question the construction of any clause of the constitution, or of a treaty or statute of, or commission held under the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege, or exemption specially set up or claimed by either party, under such clause of the said constitution, treaty, statute, or commission, may be re-examined, and reversed or affirmed in the supreme court of the United States, upon a writ of error, the citation being signed by the chief-justice or judge, or chancellor of the court rendering or passing the judgment or decree complained of, or by a justice of the supreme court of the United States, in the same manner, and under the same regulations, and the writ shall have the same effect as if the judgment or decree complained of had been rendered or passed in a circuit court; and the proceeding upon the reversal shall also be the same, except that the supreme court, instead of remanding the cause for a final decision as before provided, may, at their discretion, if the cause shall have been once remanded before, proceed to a final decision of the same, and award execution. But no other error shall be assigned or regarded as a ground of reversal, in ny such case as aforesaid, than such as appears on the face of the record, and immediately respects the before mentioned questions of validity, or construction of the said constitution, treaties, statutes, commissions, or authorities in dispute. See 5 How. S. C. R. 20, 55.

29. The appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court extends to all cases pending in the state courts and the twenty-fifth section of the judiciary act, which authorizes the exercise of this jurisdiction in the specified cases by writ of error, is supported by the letter and spirit of the constitution. 1 Wheat. 304.

30. When the construction or validity of a treaty of the United States is drawn in question in the state courts, and the decision is against its validity, or the title specially set up by either party under the treaty, the supreme court has jurisdiction to ascertain that title, and to determine its legal meaning. 1 Wheat. 358; 5 Cranch, 344; 9 Wheat. 738; 1 Pet. 94; 9 Pet. 224; 10 Pet. 368; 6 Pet. 515.

31. The supreme court has jurisdiction although one of the parties is a state, and the other a citizen of that state. 6 Wheat. 264.

32. Under the twenty-fifth section of the judiciary act, when any clause of the constitution or any statute of the United States is drawn in question, the decision must be against the title or right set up by the party under such clause or statute; otherwise the supreme court has no appellate jurisdiction of the case. 12 Wheat. 117, 129 6 Wheat. 598 3 Cranch, 268 4 Wheat. 311; 7 Wheat. 164; 2 Peters, 449; 2 Pet. 241; 11 Pet. 167; 1 Pet. 655; 6 Pet. 41; 5 Pet. 248.

33. When the judgment of the highest court of law of a state, decides in favor of the validity of a statute of a state drawn in question, on the ground of its being repugnant to the constitution of the United States, it is not a final judgment within the twenty-fifth section of the judiciary act if the suit has been remanded to the inferior court, where it originated, for further proceedings, not inconsistent with the judgment of the highest court. 12 Wheat. 135.

34. The words " matters in dispute" in the act of congress, which is to regulate the jurisdiction of the supreme court, seem appropriated to civil causes. 3 Cranch, 159. As to the manner of ascertaining the matter in dispute, see 4 Cranch, 216; 4 Dall. 22; 3 Pet. 33; 3 Dall. 365; 2 Pet. 243; 7 Pet. 634; 5 Cranch, 13; 4 Cranch, 316.

35. - (4.) The supreme court has juris- diction by certificate from the circuit court, that the opinions of the judges are opposed on points stated, as provided for by the sixth section of the act of April 29th, 1802. The provisions of the act extend to criminal as well as to civil cases. See 2 Cranch, 33; 10 Wheat. 20 2 Dall. 385; 4 Hall's Law Journ. 462; 5 Wheat. 434; 6 Wheat. 542; 12 Wheat. 212; 7 Cranch, 279.

36. - (5.) It has also jurisdiction by mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus, certiorari, and procedendo.

37. - 2. The criminal jurisdiction of the supreme court is derived from the constitution and the act of September 24th, 1789, s. 13, which gives the supreme court exclusively, all such jurisdiction of suits or proceedings against ambassadors, or other public ministers, or their domestics, as a court of law can have or exercise consistently with the law of nations. But it must be remembered that the act of April 30tb, 1790, sections 25 and 26, declares void any writ or process whereby the person of any ambassador, or other public minister, their domestics or domestic servants, may be arrested or imprisoned. Art. 2. The local courts.

38. The local courts of the United States are, circuit courts, district courts, and territorial courts., 1. The circuit courts.

39. In treating of circuit courts, it will be convenient to consider, 1st. Their organization; and, 2d. Their jurisdiction.

40. - 1. Of the organization of the circuit courts. The circuit courts are the principal inferior courts established by congress. There are nine circuit courts, composed of the districts which follow, to wit:

41. - 1. The first circuit consists of the districts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. It consists of a judge of the supreme court and the district judge of the district where such court is holden. See Acts April 29, 1802 March 26, 1812 and March 30, 1820.

42. - 2 The second circuit is composed of the districts of Vermont, Connecticut and New York. Act of March 3, 183 7.

43. - 3. The third circuit consists of the districts of New Jersey, and eastern and western Pennsylvania;. Act of March 3, 1837.

44. - 4. The fourth circuit is composed of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Act of Aug. 16, 1842.

45. - 5. The fifth circuit is composed of Alabama and Louisiana. Act of August 16, 1842.

46.- 6. The sixth circuit consist of the districts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Act of Aug. 16, 1842.

47. - 7. The seventh circuit is composed of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Act of March 3, 1837, 1.

48.-8. The eighth circuit includes Kentucky, East and West Tennessee, and Missouri. Act of March 3, 1837, 1. By the Act of April 14, 1842, ch. 20, 1, it is enacted that the district court of the United States at Jackson, in the district of West Tennessee, shall in future be attached to, and form a part of the eighth judicial district of the United States, with all the power and jurisdiction of the circuit court held at Nashville, in the middle district of Tennessee.

49. - 9. The ninth circuit is composed of the districts of Alabama, the eastern district of Louisiana, the district of Mississippi, and the district of Arkansas. Act of March 3, 1837, 1.

50. In several districts of the United States, owing to their remoteness from any justice of the supreme court, there are no circuit courts held. But in these, the district court there is authorized to act as a circuit court, except so far as relates to writs of error or appeals from judgments or decrees in such district court.

51. The Act of March 3, 1837, provides, " That so much of any act or acts of congress as vests in the district courts of the United States for the districts of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, the eastern district of Louisiana, the district of Mississippi, the northern district of New York, the western district of Virginia, and the western district of Pennsylvania, and the district of Alabama, or either of them, the power and jurisdiction of circuit courts, be, and the same is hereby, repealed; and there shall hereafter be circuit courts held for said districts by the chief or associate justices of the supreme court, assigned or allotted to the circuit to which such districts may respectively belong, and the district judges of such districts, severally and respectively, either of whom shall constitute a quorum; which circuit courts, and the judges thereof, shall have like powers, and exercise like jurisdiction as other circuit courts and the judges thereof; and the said district courts, and the judges thereof, shall have like powers, and exercise like jurisdiction, as the district courts, and the judges thereof in the other circuits. From all judgments and decrees, rendered in the district courts of the United States for the western district of Louisiana, writs of error and appeals shall lie to the circuit court in the other district in said state, in the same manner as from decrees and judgments rendered in. the districts within which a circuit court is provided by this act."

52. In all cases where the day of meeting of the circuit court is fixed for a particular day of the mouth, if that day happen on Sunday, then, by the Act of 29th April, 1802, and other acts, the court shall be held the next day.

53. The Act of April 29, 1802, 5, further provides, that on every appointment which shall be hereafter made, of a chief justice, or associate justice, the chief justice and associate justices shall allot among themselves the aforesaid circuits, as they shall think fit, and shall enter such allotment on record.

54. The Act of March 3, 1837, 4, directs that the allotment of the chief justice and the associate justices of the said supreme court to the several circuits shall be made as heretofore.

55. And by the Act of August 16, 1842, the justices of the supreme court of the United States, or a majority of the are required to allot the several districts among the justices of the said court.

56. And in case no such allotment shall be made by them, at their sessions next succeeding such appointment, and also, after the appointment of any judge as aforesaid, and before any other allotment shall have been made, it shall and may be lawful for the president of the United States, to make such allotment as he shall deem proper which allotment, in either case, shall be binding until another allotment shall be made. And the circuit courts constituted by this act shall have all the power, authority and jurisdiction, within the several districts of their respective circuits, that before the 13th February, 1801, belonged to the circuit courts of the United States.

57. The justices of the supreme court of the United States, and the district judge of the district where the circuit is holden, compose the judges of the circuit court. The district judge may alone hold a circuit court, though no judge of the supreme court may be allotted to that circuit. Pollard v. Dwight, 4 Cranch, 421.

58. The Act of September 24th, 1789, 6, provides, that a circuit court may be adjourned from day to day, by one of its judges, or if none are present, by the marshal of the district, until a quorum be convened. By the Act of May 19, 1794, a circuit court in any district, when it shall happen that no judge of the supreme court attends within four days after the time appointed by law, for the commencement of the sessions, may be adjourned to the next stated term, by the judge of the district, or, in case of his absence also, by the marshal of the district. But by the 4th section of the Act of April 29, 1802, where only one of the judges thereby directed to hold the circuit courts shall attend, such circuit court may be held by the judge so attending.

59. By the Act of March 2, 1809, certain duties are imposed oil the justices of the supreme court, in case of the disability of a district judge within their respective circuits to hold a district court. Sect. 2, enacts, that in case of the disability of the district judge of either of the district courts of the United States, to hold a district court, and to perform the duties of his office, and satisfactory evidence thereof being shown to the justice of the supreme court allotted to that circuit, in which such district court ought, by law to be holden, and on application of the district attorney, or marshal of such district, in writing, the said justice of the supreme court shall, thereupon, issue his order in the nature of a certiorari) directed to the clerk of such district court, requiring him forthwith to certify unto the next circuit court, to be holden, in said district, all actions, suits, pauses, pleas, or processes, civil or criminal, of what nature or land soever, that may be depending in such district court, and undetermined, with all the proceedings thereon, and all files, and papers relating, thereto, which said order shall be immediately published in one or more newspapers, printed in said district, and at least thirty days before the session of such circuit court, and shall be deemed a sufficient notification to all coucerned. And the said circuit court shall, thereupon, have the same cognizance of all such actions, suits, causes, pleas, or processes, civil or criminal, of what nature or kind soever, and in the like manner, as the district court of said district by law might have, or the circuit court, had the same been originally commenced therein, and shall proceed to hear and deterime the same accordingly; and the said justice of the supreme court, during the continuance of such disability, shall, moreover, be invested with, and exercise all and singular the, powers and authority, vested by law in the judge of the district court in said district. And all bonds and recognizances taken for, orreturnable to, such district court, shall be construed and taken to be the circuit court to be holden thereafter, in pursuance of this act, and shall have the same force and effect in such court as they would have had in the district court to which they were taken. Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall be so construed, as to require of the judge of the supreme court, within whose circuit such district may lie, to hold any special court, or court of admiralty, at any other time than the legal time for holding the circuit court of the United States in and for such district.

60. Sect. 2, provides, that the clerk of such district shall, during the continuance of the disability of the district judge, continue to certify, as aforesaid, all suits or actions, of what nature or kind soever, which may thereafter be brought to such district court, and the same transmit to the circuit court next thereafter to be holden in the same district. And the said circuit court shall have cognizance of the same, in like manner as is hereinbefore provided in this act, and shall proceed to bear and determine the same. Provided, nevertheless, that when the disability of the district judge shall cease, or be removed, all suits or actions then pending and undetermined in the circuit court, in which, by law, the district courts have an exclusive original cognizance, shall be remanded, and the clerk of the said circuit court shall transmit the same, pursuant to the order of the said court, with all matters and things relating thereto, to the district Court next thereafter to be holden in said district, and the same proceedings shall be had therein, as would have been, had the same originated, or been continued, in the said district court.

61. Sect. 3, enacts, that in case of the district judge in any district being unable to discharge his duties as aforesaid, the district clerk of such district shall be authorized and empowered, by leave or order of the circuit judge of the circuit in which such district is included, to take, during such disability of the district judge, all examinations, and depositions of witnesses, and to make all necessary rules and orders, preparatory to the final hearing of all causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. See 1 Gall. 337 1 Cranch, 309 note to Hayburn's case, 3 Dall. 410.

62. If the disability of the district judge terminate in his death, the circuit court must remand the certified causes to the district court. Ex parte United States, 1 Gall. 337.

63. By the first section of the Act of March 3, 1821, in all suits and actions in any district court of the United States, in which it shall appear that the judge of such court is any ways concerned in interest, or has been of counsel for either party, or is so related to, or connected with, either party, as to render it improper for him, in his opinion, to sit on the trial of such suit or action, it shall be the duty of such judge, on application of either party, to cause the fact to be entered on the records of the court, and also an order that an authenticated copy the thereof, with all the proceedings in such suit or action, shall be forthwith certified to the next circuit court of the district, and if there be no circuit court in such district, to the next circuit court in the state, and if there be no circuit court in such state, to the most convenient circuit court in an adjacent state; which circuit court shall, upon such record being filed with the clerk thereof, take cognizance thereof, in like manner as if such suit or action had been originally commenced in that court, and shall proceed to bear and determine the same accordingly, and the jurisdiction of such circuit court shall extend to all such cases to be removed, as were cognizable in the district court from which the same was removed.

64. And the Act of February 28, 1839, 8, enacts, "That in all suits and actions, in any circuit court of the United States, in which it shall appear that both the judges thereof, or the judge thereof, who is solely competent by law to try the same, shall be any ways concerned in interest therein, or shall have been of counsel for either party, or is, or are so related to, or connected with, either party as to render it improper for him or them, in his or their opinion, to sit in the trial of such suit or action, it shall be the duty of such judge, or judges, on application of either party, to cause the fact to be entered on the records of the court; and, also, to make an order that an authenticated copy thereof, with all the proceedings in such suit or action, shall be certified to the most couvenient circuit court in the next adjacent state, or in the next adjacent circuit; which circuit court shall, upon such record and order being filed with the clerk thereof, take cognizance thereof in the same manner as if such suit or action had been rightfully and originally commenced therein, and shall proceed to hear and determine the same accordingly; and the proper process for the due execution of the judgment or decree rendered therein, shall run into, and may be executed in, the district where such judgment or decree was rendered; and, also, into the district from which such suit or action was removed."

65. The judges of the supreme court are not appointed as circuit court judges, or, in other words, have no distinct commission for that purpose: but practice and acquiescence under it, for many years, were held to afford an irresistible argument against this objection to their authority to act, when made in the year, 1803, and to have fixed the construction of the judicial system. The court deemed the contemporary exposition to be of the most forcible nature, and considered the question at rest, and not to be disturbed then. Stuart v. Laird, 1 Cranch, 308. If a vacancy exist by the death of the justice of the supreme court to whom the district was allotted, the district judge may, under the act of congress, discharge the official duties, (Pollard v. Dwight, 4 Cranch, 428. See the fifth section of the Act of April 29, 1802,) except that he cannot sit upon a writ of error from a decision in the district court. United States v. Lancaster, 5 Wheat. 434.

66. It is enacted, by the Act of Februrary 28, 1839, 2, that all the circuit courts of the United States shall have the appointment of their own clerks; and in case of disagreement between the judges, the appointment shall be made by the presiding judge of the court.

67. The marshal of the district is an officer of the court, and the clerk of the district court is also clerk of the circuit court in such district. Act of September 24, 1789, 7.

68. In the District of Columbia, there is a circuit court established by particular acts of congress, composed of a chief justice and two associates. See Act. of February 27, 1801; 12 Pet. 524; 7 Pet. 203; 7 Wheat. R. 534; 3 Cranch, 159; 8 Cranch, 251; 6 Cranch 233. 2. Of the Jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts.

69. The jurisdiction of the circuit courts is either civil or criminal. (1.) Civil Jurisdiction. The civil jurisdiction is either at law or in equity. Their civil jurisdiction at law is, 1st. Original. 2d. By removal of actions from the state courts. 3d. By writ of mandamus. 4tb. By appeal.

70. - 1st. The original jurisdiction of the circuit courts at law, may be considered, first, as to the matter in controversy second, with regard to the parties litigant. (1.) The Matter in Dispute.

71. By the Act of September 24, 1789, 11, to give jurisdiction to the circuit court, the matter in dispute must exceed $500. In actions to recover damages for torts, the sum laid in the declaration is the criterion as to the matter in dispute. 3 Dall. 358. In an action of covenant on an instrument under seal, containing a penalty less than $500, the court has jurisdiction if the declaration demand more than $500. 1 Wash. C. C. R. 1. In ejectment, the value of the land should appear in the declaration; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 624; 8 Cranch, 220; 1 Pet. 73; but though the jury do not find the value of the land in dispute, yet if evidence be given on the trial, that the value exceeds $500, it is sufficient to fix the jurisdiction; or the court may ascertain its value by affidavits. Pet. C. C. R. 73.

72. If the matter in dispute arise out of a local injury, for which a local action must be brought, in order to give the circuit court jurisdiction, it must be brought in the district where the lands lie. 4 Hall's Law Journal, 78.

73. By various acts of congress, jurisdiction is given to the circuit courts in cases where actions are brought to recover damages for the violation of patent and Copyrights, without fixing any amount as the limit. See Acts of April 17, 1800, 4; Feb. 15, 1819; 7 Johns. 144; 9 Johns. 507.

74. The circuit courts have jurisdiction in cases arising under the patent laws. By the Act of July 4, 1836, 17, it is enacted, " That all actions, suits, controversies, and cases arising under any law of the United States, granting or confirming to inventors the exclusive right to their inventions or discoveries, shall be originally cognizable, as well in equity as at law, by the circuit courts of the United States, or any district court having the powers and jurisdiction of a circuit court; which courts shall have power, upon bill in equity filed by any party aggrieved, in any such case, to grant injunctions, according to the course and principles of courts of equity, to prevent the violation of the rights of any inventor, as secured to him by any law of the United States, on such terms and conditions as said courts may deem reasonable. Provided, however, That from all judgments and decrees, from any such court rendered in. the premises, a writ of error or appeal, as the case may require, shall lie to the supreme court of the United States, in the same manner and under the same circumstances as is now provided by law in other judgments and decrees of circuit courts, and in all other cases in which the court shall deem it reasonable to allow the game."

75. In general, the circuit court has no original jurisdiction of suits for penalties and forfeitures arising under the laws of the United States, nor in admiralty cases. 2 Dall. 365 4 Dall. 342; Bee, 19. (2.) The character of the parties.

76. Under this head will be considered 1. The United States. 2. Citizens of difrerent states. 3. Suits where an alien is a party. 4. When an assignee is plaintiff. 5. Defendant must be an inhabitant of the circuit. (i.) The United States.

77. The United States may sue on all contracts in the circuit courts where the sum in controversy exceeds, besides costs, the sum of $500 but, in cases of penalties, the action must be commenced in the district court, unless the law gives express jurisdiction to the circuit courts. 4 Dall. 342. Under the Act of March 3, 1815, 4, the circuit court has jurisdiction concurrently with the district court of all suits at common law where any officer of the United States sues under the authority of an act of congress; as where the post-master general sues under an act of congress for debts or balances due to the general post-office. 12 Wheat. 136. See 2 Pet. 447; 1 Pet. 318.

78. The circuit court has jurisdiction on a bill in equity filed b the United States against the debtor of their debtor, they claiming priority under the statute of March 2, 1798, c. 28, 65, though the law of the state where the suit is brought permits a creditor to proceed against the debtor of his debtor by a peculiar process at law. 4 Wheat. 108. (ii.) Suits between citizens of different states.

79. The Act of September 24, 1789, 11, gives jurisdiction to the circuit court in suits of civil nature when the matter in dispute is of a certain amount, between a citizen of the state where the suit is brought, and a citizen of another state; one of the parties must therefore be a citizen of the state where the such is brought. See 4 Wash. C. C. R. 84; Pet. C. C. R. 431; 1 Sumn. 581; 1 Mason, 520; 5 Cranch, 288; 3 Mason, 185; 8 Wheat.'699; 2 Mason, 472; 5 Cranch, 57; Id. 51; 6 Wheat. 450; 1 Pet. 238; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 482, Id. 595.

80. Under this section the division of a state into two or more districts does not affect the jurisdiction of the circuit court, on account of citizenship. The residence of a party in a different district of a state from that in which the suit is brought, does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the court; if he is found in the district where he is sued he is not within the prohibition of this section. 11 Pet. 25. A territory is not a state for the purpose of giving jurisdiction, and, therefore, a citizen of a territory cannot sue the citizen of a State in the circuit court. 1 Wheat. 91. (iii.) Suits where on alien is a party.

81. The Act of September 24, 1780, 11, gives the circuit court cognizance of all suits of a civil nature where an alien is a party; but these general words; must be restricted by the provision in the constitution which gives jurisdiction in controversies between a state, or the citizens of a state, and foreign states, citizens or subjects; and the statute cannot extend the jurisdiction beyond the limits of the constitution. 4 Dall. 11; 5 Cranch, 308. When both parties are aliens, the circuit court has no jurisdiction. 4 Cranch, 46; 4 Dall. 11. An alien who holds lands under a special law of the state in which he is resident, may maintain an action in relation to those lands, in the circuit court. 1 Baldw. 216. (iv.) When an assignee is the plaintiff.

82. The court has no jurisdiction unless a suit might have been prosecuted in such court to recover on the contract assigned, if no assignment had been made, except in cases of bills of exchange. Act of September 24, 1789, 11; see 2 Pet. 319; 1 Mason, 243; 6 Wheat. 146; 11 Pet. 83; 9 Wheat. 537; 6 Cranch, 332; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 349; 4 Mason, 435; 12 Pet. 164; 2 Mason, 252. It is said that this section of the act of congress has no application to the conveyance of lands from a citizen of one state to a citizen of another. The grantee in such, case may maintain his action in the circuit court, when otherwise properly qualified, to try the title to such lands. 2 Sumn. 252. (V.) The defendant must be an inhabitant of, or found in the circuit.

83. The circuit court has no jurisdiction of an action against a defendant unless he be an inhabitant of the district in which such court is located, or found therein, at the time of serving the writ. 3 Wash. C. C. R. 456. A citizen of one state may be sued in another, it the process be served upon him in the latter; but in such cases) the plaintiff must be a citizen of the latter state, or an alien. 1 Pet. C. C. R. 431. 2d. Removal of actions from the state court's.

84. The, Act of September 24, 1789, gives, in certain cases, the right of removing a suit instituted in a state court to the circuit court of the district. It is enacted by that law, that if a suit be commenced in any state court against an alien, or by a citizen of the state in which the suit is brought, against a citizen of another state, and the matter in dispute exceeds the aforesaid sum or value of five hundred dollars, exclusive of costs, to be made to appear to the satisfaction of the court, and the defendant shall, at the time of entering his appearance in such state court, file a petition for the removal of the cause for trial, into the next circuit court, to be held in the district where the suit is pending, and offer good and sufficient security for his entering in such court, on the first day of its session, copies of the said process against bim, and also for his then appearing and entering special bail in the cause, if special bail was originally required therein, it shall then be the duty of the state court to accept the surety, and proceed no further in the cause. And any bail that may have been originally taken shall be discharged. And the said copies being entered as aforesaid in such court of the United States, the cause shall there proceed in the same manner as if it had been brought there by original process. And any attachment of the goods or estate of the defendant, by the original process, shall hold the goods or estate so attached, to answer the final judgment, in the same manner as by the laws of such state they would have been holden to answer final judgment, had it been rendered by the circuit court in which the suit commenced. Vide Act of September 24, 1789, 12; 4 Dall. 11; 5 Cranch, 303; 4 Johns. R. 493; 1 Pet. R. 220; 2 Yeates, R. 275; 4 W. C. C. R. 286, 344.

85. By the Constitution, art. 3, 2, 1, the judicial power shall extend to controversies between citizens of the same state, claiming lands under grants of different states.

86. By a clause of the 12th section of the Act of September 24th, 1789, it is enacted, that, if in any action conmmenced in a state court, the title of land be concerned, and the parties are citizens of the same state, and the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of five hundred dollars, exclusive of costs, the sum or value being made to appear to the satisfaction of the court, either party, before the trial, shall state to the court, and make affidavit, if it require it, that he claims, and shall rely upon a right or title to the land, under grant from a state, other than that in which the suit is pending, and produce the original grant, or an exemplification of it, except where the loss of records shall put it out of his power, and shall move that the adverse party inform the court, whether he claims a right of title to the land under a grant from the state in which the suit is pending; the said adverse party shall give such information, otherwise not be allowed to plead such grant, or give it in evidence upon the trial; and if he informs that he does claim under any such grant, the party claiming under the grant first mentioned, may then, on motion, remove the cause for trial, to the next circuit court to be holden in such district. But if he is the defendant, he shall do it under the same regulations, as in the before mentioned case of the removal of a cause into such court by an alien. And neither party removing the cause shall be allowed to plead, or give evidence of, any other title than that by him stated as aforesaid, as the ground of his claim. See 9 Cranch, 292 2 Wheat. R. 378.

87. Application for removal must be made during the term at which the defendant enters his appearance. 1 J. J. Marsh. 232. If a state court agree to consider a petition to remove the cause as filed of the preceding term, yet if the circuit court see by the record, that it was not filed till a subsequent term, they will not permit the cause to be docketed. Pet. C.. C. R. 44 Paine, 410 but see 2 Penning. 625.

88. In chancery, when the defendant wishes to remove the suit, he must file his petition when he enters his appearance; 4 Johns. Ch. 94; and in an action in a court of law, at the time of putting in special bail. 12 Johns. 153. And if an alien file his petition when he filed special bail, he is in time, though the bail be excepted to. 1 Caines, 248; Coleman, 58. A defendant in ejectment may file his petition. when he is let in to defend. 4 Johns. 493. See Pet. C. C. R. 220; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 463; 2 Yeates, 275, 352; 3 Dall. 467; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 286; 2 Root 444; 5 John. Ch. R. 300 3 Harn. 48; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 84. 3d. Remedy by Mandamus.

89. The power of the circuit Court to issue a mandamus, is confined, exclusively, to cases in which it may be necessary for the exercise of a jurisdiction already existing; as, for instance, if the court below refuse to proceed to judgment, then a mandamus in the nature of a procedendo may issue. 7 Cranch, 504; 6 Wheat. R. 598. After the state court had refused to permit the removal of a cause on petition, the circuit court issued a mandamus to transfer the cause.

4th. Appellate Jurisdiction:

90. The appellate jurisdiction is exercised by means of, 1. Writs of error. 2 Appeals from the district courts in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. 3. Certiorari. 4. Procedendo.

91. - [l.] This court has jurisdiction to issue writs of error to the district court, on judgments of that court in civil cases at common law.

92. The 11th section of the Act of September 24, 1789, provides, that the circuit courts shall also have appellate jurisdiction from the district courts, under the regulations and restrictions thereinafter provided.

93. By the 22d section, final decrees and judgments in civil actions in a district court, where the matter in dispute exceeds the, sum or value of fifty dollars, exclusive of costs, may be reexamined, and reversed or affirmed in a circuit court holden in the same district, upon a writ of error, whereto shall be annexed and returned therewith at the day and place therein mentioned, an authenticated transcript of the record and assignment of errors, and prayer for reversal, with a citation to the adverse party, signed by the judge of such district court, or a justice of the supreme court, the adverse party having at least twenty days notice. But there shall be no reversal on such writ of error, for error in ruling any plea in abatement, other than a plea to the jurisdiction of the court, or for any error in fact. And writs of error shall not be brought but within five years after rendering or passing the judgment or decree complained of; or, in case the person entitled to such writ of error be an infant, non compos mentis, or imprisoned, then within five years, as aforesaid, exclusive of the time of such disability. And every justice or judge signing a citation or any writ of error as aforesaid, shall take good and sufficient security, that the plaintiff in error shall prosecute his writ to effect, and answer all damages and costs, if he fail to make his plea good.

94. The district judge cannot sit in the circuit court on a writ of error to the district court. 5 Wheat. R. 434.

95. It is observed above, that writs of error may be issued to the district court in civil cases at common law, but a writ of error does not lie from a circuit to a district court in an admiralty or maritime cause. 1 Gall. R. 5..

96. - [2.] Appeals from the district to the circuit court take place generally in civil causes of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction.

97. By the Act of March 3, 1803, 2, it is enacted, that from all final judgments or decrees in any of the district courts of the United States, an appeal where the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, shall exceed the sum or value of fifty dollars, shall be allowed to the district court next to be holden in the district where such final judgment or judgments, decree or decrees shall be rendered: and the circuit courts are thereby authorized and required, to hear and determine such appeals.

98. - [3.] Although no act of congress authorizes the circuit court to, issue a certiorari to the district court for the removal of a cause, yet if the cause be so removed, and instead of taking advantage of the irregularity in proper time and in a proper manner, the defendant makes the defence and pleads to issue, he thereby waives the objection, and the suit will be considered as an original one in the circuit court, made so by consent of parties. 2 Wheat. R. 221.

99.-[4.1 The circuit court may issue a writ of procedendo to the district court.

See also:

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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