In re Woods/Opinion of the Court

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Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

143 U.S. 202

In re Woods

In Lau Ow Bew, Petitioner, 141 U.S. 583, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 43, it was held that the power of this court to require a case, in which the judgment and decree of the circuit court of appeals is made final, to be certified for review and determination, as if it had been brought here on appeal or writ of error, could only be properly invoked under section 6 of the act of congress entitled 'An act to establish circuit courts of appeals, and to define and regulate, in certain cases, the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States, and for other purposes,' approved March 3, 1891, (26 St. pp. 826, 828, c. 517,) when questions of gravity and importance were involved.

This must necessarily be so in any view, and especially when it is considered that the circuit courts of appeals were created for the purpose of relieving this court of the oppressive burden of general litigation, which impeded the examination and disposition of cases of public concern, and delayed suitors in the pursuit of justice.

But in the interest of jurisprudence and uniformity of decision, to use the the language of the eminent jurist and statesman who had charge of the bill, provision was made under section 6 for such supervision on our part as would tend to avert diversity of judgments, and guard against inadvertence of conclusion in controversies involving weighty and serious matters.

In the matter of Lau Ow Bew the construciton of acts of congress in the light of treaties with a foreign government, and the status of domicile in respect of natives of one country domiciled in another, a matter of international concern, were brought under consideration upon the record, and we were of opinion that the grounds of the application were sufficient to call for our interposition.

But we do not regard the inquiry as to whether it was settled law in the state of Minnesota that a judgment of dismissal in a former sult, such as pleaded here, was not a bar to a second suit upon the same cause of action, or whether the law in respect of recovery by a servant against his master for injuries received in the course of his employment was properly applied on the trial of this case, as falling within the category of questions of such gravity and general importance as to require the review of the conclusions of the circuit court of appeals in reference to them. The writ of certiorari is denied.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).