Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 1.djvu/207

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sal in either court on such writ of errorWrits of error limited. for error in ruling any plea in abatement, other than a plea to the jurisdiction of the court, or such plea to a petition or bill in equity, as is in the nature of a demurrer, 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, feme covert, non compos mentis, or imprisoned, then within five years as aforesaid, exclusive of the time of such disability.[1] Plaintiff to give security.And every justice or judge signing a citation on any writ of error as aforesaid, shall take good and sufficient security,Act of December 12, 1794, chap. 3. 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.[2]

Sec. 23. And be it further enacted,Writ of error a supersedeas. That a writ of error as aforesaid shall be a supersedeas and stay execution in cases only where the writ of error is served, by a copy thereof being lodged for the adverse party in the clerk’s office where the record remains, within ten days, Sundays exclusive, after rendering the judgment or passing the decree complained of. Until the expiration of which term of ten days, executions shall not issue in any case where a writ of error may be a supersedeas; and whereupon such writ of error the Supreme or a circuit court shall affirm a judgment or decree, they shall adjudge or decree to the respondent in error just damages for his delay, and single or double costs at their discretion.[3]

Sec. 24. And be it further enacted,Judgment or decree reversed. That when a judgment or decree shall be reversed in a circuit court, such court shall proceed to render such judgment or pass such decree as the district court should have rendered or passed; and the Supreme Court shall do the same on reversals therein, except where the reversal is in favour of the plaintiff, or petitioner in the original suit, and the damages to be assessed, or matter to be decreed, are uncertain, in which case they shall remand the cause for a final decision. Supreme court not to issue execution but mandate.And the Supreme Court shall not issue execution in causes that are removed before them by writs of error, but shall send a special mandate to the circuit court to award execution thereupon.

Sec. 25. And be it further enacted,Cases in which judgment and decrees of the highest court of a state may be examined by the supreme court, on writ of error. 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 favour of such their validity,[4] or where is drawn in question the construction of any


  1. An appeal under the judiciary acts of 1789 and 1803, was prayed for and allowed within five years; held to be valid, although the security was not given within five years. The mode of taking the security and the time of perfecting it, are exclusively within the control of the court below. The Dos Hermanos, 10 Wheat. 306; 6 Cond. Rep. 109.
  2. By the act of December 12, 1794, chap. 3, the security required to be taken on signing a citation on any writ of error which shall not be a supersedeas, and stay execution, shall only be for an amount which will be sufficient to answer for costs.
  3. Supersedeas. The Supreme Court will not quash an execution issued by the court below to enforce its decree, pending a writ of error, if the writ be not a supersedeas to the decree. Wallen v. Williams, 7 Cranch, 278; 2 Cond. Rep. 491.
  4. In delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of Fisher v. Cockrell, 5 Peters, 248, Mr. Chief Justice Marshall said: “In the argument the court has been admonished of the jealousy with which the States of the Union view the revising power entrusted by the constitution and laws to this tribunal. To observations of this character the answer uniformly has been that the course of the judicial department is marked out by law. We must tread the direct and narrow path prescribed for us. As this court has never grasped at ungranted jurisdiction, so it never will, we trust, shrink from that which is conferred upon it.”

    The appellate power of the Supreme Court of the United States extends to cases pending in the State courts; and the 25th 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. Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304; 3 Cond. Rep. 575.

    Under the 25th section of the judiciary act of 1789, where the construction of any clause in the con-