Графични страници
PDF файл

Opinion of the Court.

ishments for contempts of court shall not be construed to extend to any cases except the misbehavior of any person or persons in the presence of the said courts or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, the misbehavior of any of the officers of the said courts in their official transactions, and the disobedience or resistance by any officer of the said courts, party, juror, witness, or any other person or per.80n8 to any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of the said courts."

It will thus be seen that even in the act of Congress, intended to limit the power of the courts to punish for contempts of its authority by summary proceedings, there is expressly left the power to punish in this summary manner the disobedience of any party, to any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree or command of said court. This statute was only designed for the government of the courts of the United States, and the opinions of this court in the cases we have already referred to show conclusively what was the nature and extent of the power inherent in the courts of the states by virtue of their organization, and that the punishments which they were authorized to inflict for a disobedience to their writs and orders were ample and summary, and did not require the interposition of a jury to find the facts or assess the punishment. This, then, is due process of law in regard to contempts of courts; was due process of law at the time the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution was adopted; and nothing has ever changed it except such statutes as Congress may have enacted for the courts of the United States, and as each State may have enacted for the government of its own courts.

So far from any statute on this subject limiting the power of the courts of Iowa, the act of the legislature of that state, authorizing the injunction which these parties are charged with violating, expressly declares that for violating such injunction a person doing so shall be punished for the contempt by a fine of not less than five hundred or more than a thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the dis

Opinion of the Court.

cretion of the court. So that the proceeding by which the fine and imprisonment imposed upon these parties for contempt in violating the injunction of the court, regularly issued in a suit to which they were parties, is due process of law, and always has been due process of law, and is the process or proceeding by which courts have from time immemorial enforced the execution of their orders and decrees, and cannot be said to deprive the parties of their liberty or property without due process of law.

The counsel for plaintiffs in error seek to evade the force of this reasoning by the proposition that the entire statute under which this injunction was issued is in the nature of a criminal proceeding, and that the contempt of court of which these parties have been found guilty is a crime for the punishment of which they have a right to trial by jury.

We cannot accede to this view of the subject. Whether an attachment for a contempt of court, and the judgment of the court punishing the party for such contempt, is in itself essentially a criminal proceeding or not, we do not find it necessary to decide. We simply hold that, whatever its nature may be, it is an offence against the court and against the administration of justice, for which courts have always bad the right to punish the party by summary proceeding and without trial by jury ; and that in that sense it is due process of law within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. We do not suppose that that provision of the Constitution was ever intended to interfere with

interfere with or abolish the powers of the courts in proceedings for contempt, whether this contempt occurred in the course of a criminal proceeding or of a civil suit.

We might rest the case here; but the plaintiffs in error fall back upon the proposition that the statute of the Iowa legislature concerning the sale of liquors, under which this injunction was issued, is itself void, as depriving the parties of their property and of their liberty without due process of law. We are not prepared to say that this question arises in the present case. The principal suit in which the injunction was issued, for the contempt of which these parties have

Opinion of the Court.

been sentenced to imprisonment and to pay a fine, has never been tried so far as this record shows. We do not know whether the parties demanded a trial by jury on the question of their guilty violation of that statute. We do not know that they would have been refused a trial by jury if they had demanded it. Until the trial of that case has been had they are not injured by a refusal to grant them a jury trial. . It is the well-settled doctrine of this court that a part of a statute may be void and the remainder may be valid. That part of this statute which declares that no person shall own or keep, or be in any way concerned, engaged or employed in owning or keeping any intoxicating liquors with intent to sell the same within this State, and all the prohibitory clauses of the statute, have been held by this court to be within the constitutional powers of the state legislature, in the cases of Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U. S. 623, and Powell v. Pennsylvania, 127 U. S. 678.

If the objection to the statute is that it authorizes a proceeding in the nature of a suit in equity to suppress the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors which are by law prohibited, and to abate the ruisance which the statute declares such acts to be, wherever carried on, we respond that, so far as at present advised, it appears to us that all the powers of a court, whether at common law or in chancery, may be called into operation by a legislative body for the purpose of suppressing this objectionable traffic; and we know of no hindrance in the Constitution of the United States to the form of proceedings, or to the court in which this remedy shall be had. Certainly it seems to us to be quite as wise to use the processes of the law and the powers of the court to prevent the evil, as to punish the offence as a crime after it has been committed.

We think it was within the power of the court of Plymouth County to issue the writs of injunction in these cases, and that the disobedience to them by the plaintiffs in error subjected them to the proceedings for contempt which were had before that court. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Iowa is


[blocks in formation]

When the jurisdiction of a Circuit Court of the United States is founded

upon any of the causes specially mentioned in section 1 of the act of March 3, 1887, as amended by the act of August 13, 1888, 25 Stat. 433, c. 866, (except the citizenship of the parties,) the action must be brought in the district of which the defendant is an inhabitant; but where the jurisdiction is founded solely upon the fact that the parties are citizens of different States, the suit may be brought in the district in which either the plaintiff or the defendant resides,

The case is stated in the


Mr. N. $. Harwood and Mr. John H. Ames for the motion.

Mr. Walter J. Lamb, Mr. Arnott C. Ricketts and Mr. Henry H. Wilson opposing.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE Fuller delivered the opinion of the court.

Walthers brought his action on the 21st day of July, 1887, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Nebraska, against The McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, alleging that he was a citizen and resident of the State of Nebraska, and that the defendant was a corporation duly incorporated and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois, “but having a local habitation and managing agent in Nebraska,” for falsely and maliciously, and without probable or reasonable cause, suing out two attachments against him, and placed his damages at $10,500, for which he asked judgment and costs. The defendant answered, justifying the issuing of the writs of attachment and denying any liability by reason thereof; and also pleaded in set-off and counter-claim two judgments

Opinion of the Court.

against Walthers, one for $957.93 and $28 costs, and one for $2894.01 and $26 costs, both bearing interest at ten per centum per annum from June, 1887; and prayed judgment against the plaintiff for said several sums and for interest and costs. Subsequently leave was granted to the McCormick Company to withdraw its answer and to file a plea, which averred "that now and at the commencement of this action the said Charles W Walthers was a citizen and inhabitant of the State of Nebraska, and this defendant was a corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of Illinois, and was and is a citizen, resident and inhabitant of the State of Illinois, and was not and is not a citizen, resident or inhabitant of the State or District of Nebraska; that a summons in this action was served on this defendant's agent in the State of Nebraska, where this defendant has an office, said agent being only its local managing agent for its business in Nebraska ; and this defendant says that this action was brought since the 15th day of March, 1887; and this defendant says that it is not subject to be sued or to be summoned by original process out of this court in this cause in this judicial district;” and defendant prayed judgment that the action might be abated.

This plea was upon hearing overruled, and the defendant ruled to answer in thirty days, and plaintiff to reply in fortyfive days, and a reply in general denial of the answer was filed, the answer being treated as if still a pending pleading. The case came on for trial and resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff, assessing his damages in the sum of $1338.57, upon which judgment was entered. A motion for a new trial was made and denied, and a writ of error sued out from this court, which the defendant in error now moves to dismiss, uniting with that motion a motion to affirm.

No bill of exceptions was taken, and the denial of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court is the only question which can be raised upon the record. And this has no relation to the mode of service. The defendant was a foreign corporation, and the statute of Nebraska provided that “when the defendant is a foreign corporation, having a managing agent in this State, the service may be upon such agent.” Code Civ. Proc. Ne


« ПредишнаНапред »