Page images
PDF
EPUB

or question heard before him in the court below. Terms are held annually (usually at stated sessions) in the places designated by the act-which for this (seventh) circuit is Chicago-and such other places as may be designated from time to time by the court.

The court so established has appellate jurisdiction to review final decisions of the District and Circuit Courts in all cases not reserved to the Supreme Court as before mentioned; and the decisions of the Circuit Courts of Appeals are made final in all cases in which the jurisdiction is dependent entirely upon diversity of citizenship, and in all cases arising under the patent laws, revenue laws, or criminal laws, and in admiralty causes. This jurisdiction is not limited by the amount involved in the controversy. It extends as well to writs of error in all cases of conviction of an infamous crime, not capital, and to appeals in bankruptcy, (1) from adjudication of bankruptcy or denial thereof, (2) from grant or denial of a discharge, and (3) from the allowance or rejection of a claim of $500 or over; (4) to supervision and revision in matter of law of proceedings in bankruptcy; and to appeals from interlocutory orders granting or continuing an injunction or appointing a receiver. Thus the cases in law and in equity tried or heard in the Circuit Court, and the admiralty, bankruptcy, criminal, and revenue cases tried in the District Court, with the exceptional instances which have been mentioned as reserved to the Supreme Court, are reviewable only by the Circuit Court of Appeals, unless certiorari is granted by the Supreme Court, for which the applicant must present strong grounds.

The importance of the appellate jurisdiction thus created cannot be over

estimated. Litigation, keeping pace with the enormous expansion of industries and commerce, had congested the work of the Supreme Court so that it was greatly in arrears and accumulating beyond possible clearance. This condition, supplementing the limitation as to the amount involved, was prohibitive of review in a mass of cases tried at the circuit. The new provision not only relieved the burden arising from the overloaded calendars of the Supreme Court, but furnished a tribunal for review without such limitations and reasonably accessible. The Circuit Courts of Appeals have existed throughout the recent years of momentous litigation, and it is sufficient to refer to their reported cases for justification of the Evarts act.

We are thus brought to consideration of the federal trial courts, named, respectively, the Circuit Court and the District Court, for a brief outline of their distinctions. In each of the judicial districts both of these courts are held, usually by the District Judges, who are vested with complete jurisdiction in both. While it seems to have been the earlier view that the Circuit Judges would preside in the Circuit Court hearings and trials, and such. was the practice to a considerable extent in the important cases and by way of reconsideration, the Circuit Court of Appeals has made this course impracticable as a general rule, and with a few exceptions the work of the Circuit Court is performed by the District Judges. The jurisdiction, however, of the two courts, is separate and distinct, and not co-ordinate, except that they have concurrent jurisdiction in criminal cases not capital and for certain jury trials in bankruptcy. No civil action or proceeding within the

cognizance of one court can be entertained in the other, with the exception referred to. Formerly the Circuit Court was vested with appellate jurisdiction over certain District Court cases, but such jurisdiction was abolished by the act of 1891.

The Circuit Court of the United States. This is the important court of original jurisdiction, concurrent with that of the state courts, of all civil suits, at common law or in equity, when the matter in dispute exceeds, exclusive of interest and costs, the sum or value of $2,000, under the following conditions: (1) That the controversy is between citizens of different states, or (2) is one arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States, or (3) is between citizens of the same state, claiming lands under grants of different states, or (4) is between citizens of a state and foreign states, citizens, or subjects. Its jurisdiction is acquired either through original process or removal from a state court, and the requirements to that end. for either method are specified under chapter 7 of title 13, Revised Statutes, and amendments. As amended under the acts of 1875 and 1887, particularly in reference to removals, it is best to refer to the compilation, under that chapter and title, in Vol. 1, Comp. St. 1901, and Supplement (1907), for the existing provisions in detail. In general terms, it may be stated that no suit can be entertained of either jurisdictional class unless the case, as presented by the plaintiff or complainant, is brought within the constitutional or statutory classifications; that, where jurisdiction rests on diversity of citizenship, such fact must appear as to all the parties opposed to each other

in the controversy, except such as are mere formal and not indispensable parties, and the assignee of a chose in action, except a foreign bill of exchange, cannot sue therein unless the assignor is also a noncitizen. So, to maintain suit in the federal court against citizens of the state, the plaintiff must be a noncitizen, and such plaintiff can neither sue with a citizen as coplaintiff, nor with a citizen made defendant therein who has a joint or common interest with him in the controversy and is an indispensable party. Nor can a defendant remove a suit from a state

court on the ground of noncitizenship, if joined with citizen defendants who are necessary parties and have such interests in common, as stated in the complaint or bill, and the controversy as to them is not plainly separable. Jurisdiction of the Circuit Court further extends over various controversies enumerated in the statutes, where the United States or its officers are parties, or when arising under specified provisions of the Constitution or laws, including cases arising under the patent laws, and also extends over criminal cases, though exercised only, as a general rule, on remission from the District Court of capital or extraordinary

cases.

District Court of the United States. -This court is one peculiar to the federal system in its limitations of jurisdiction, as prescribed in chapter 3 of title 13, Revised Statutes. It is the special court of the national government, in that it has jurisdiction of "crimes. and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States," suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred under national laws, suits at law by the United States, or its officers when authorized, suits arising under revenue

and postal laws, and other governmental suits and proceedings. The jurisdiction of this court, however, extends over two other important fields of jurisprudence, namely: (1) Admiralty and prize cases, and (2) bankruptcy proceedings-with original and exclusive jurisdiction over each. That each of these branches of jurisdiction is essential to the plan of government and judicial powers heretofore considered goes without saying; and, while the District Court is not vested with general equity or common-law jurisdiction, both equity and common-law powers are conferred for all purposes of exercising the great jurisdiction so vested in it. The District Judge alone presides over the District Court; and the judgments or decrees are reviewable only upon writ of error or appeal as before stated. Further specification of the various elements of District Court jurisdiction is not within the object of this paper.

petuity of the union of states in an American nation. Provision was not made, in express terms, against the withdrawal of any state-probably for the twofold reason that the colonial spirit of that time would have rejected any such declaration, and that no covenant could prevent secession unless Union sentiment and will greatly preponderated in the nation. So, when the years of agitation over slavery and state's rights culminated in the attempt of the South, through ordinances of secession and levy of war, to dissolve that Union, the sole reliance to perpetuate the compact was the loyalty and strength of the people and states waging war to that end, and not in any terms of the Constitution. On the other hand, throughout all agitation and warfare, the dual judicial system has tended co-operatively and surely to exemplify and establish the inestimable benefits of national union. Encroachments by legislative or executive departments of the one upon the other, and conflicts between them, have thus been determined and settled, and the courts, state and federal, co-operating in support of the constitutional balance of powers, have proven and will prove the bulwark against tendencies or efforts of nation or state to transcend such powers. That system furnishes the balance wheel for the great duplex engine of American government.

In conclusion, let me say that, of all the great work of the founders, their foresight in providing the federal judicial system, with its jurisdiction exclusive for national affairs and controversies between states, and co-ordinate with that of state courts, in cases at law and in equity between citizens of different states, has been more potent, as I believe, than any other of the written terms of the Constitution for per

The American Casebook Series.

(Publishers' Statement.)

IT

T will be of some interest to law professors to know that by the time the law schools of the country open next fall for the season of 1909-10 several volumes of the new American Casebook Series will be ready for use. The volumes in this series of casebooks are being prepared by well-known legal educators for class use in law schools where the "Case Method" of instruction is followed. Care is being exercised by the authors of the books to keep them within reasonable limits as to size; the amount of matter in a book being regulated by the number of hours ordinarily alloted to the subject in the classroom, as well as by the relative importance of the topic itself and the difficulty usually experienced in mastering it.

When the Series is completed it will consist of some thirty odd volumes, treating all the important subjects ordinarily covered in a law school curriculum. The. books will be uniform as to method of treatment, typographical style, and binding.

Four volumes of the Series have already been published. These are the books on

Conflict of Laws (750 pages), by Ernest G. Lorenzen, Professor of Law, George Washington University.

Criminal Law (610 pages), by Wm. E. Mikell, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania.

Partnership (638 pages), by Eugene A. Gilmore, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin.

Damages (335 pages), by Floyd R. Mechem, Professor of Law, University

of Chicago, and Barry Gilbert, Professor of Law, University of Illinois.

The other volumes of the Series which the publishers expect will be ready before the opening of the schools next fall are the books on

Trusts, by Thaddeus D. Kenneson, Professor of Law, New York University.

Constitutional Law, by James Parker Hall, Dean, University of Chicago Law School.

Corporations, by Harry S. Richards, Dean, University of Wisconsin Law School.

Contracts, by Charles Thaddeus Terry, Professor of Law, Columbia University.

Persons, by A. M. Kales, Professor of Law, Northwestern University.

Suretyship, by C. D. Hening, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania.

Criminal Procedure, by Wm. E. Mikell, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania.

Carriers, by Frederick Green, Professor of Law, University of Illinois.

International Law, by James Brown Scott (General Editor of the Series), Professor of Law, George Washington University.

The remaining volumes of the Series are being prepared by Geo. W. Kirchwey, Dean of the Columbia University Law School; Frank Irvine, Dean of the Cornell University Law School; Wm. R. Vance, Dean of the George Washington University Law School; George P. Costigan, Dean of the University of Nebraska Law School; W. C. Dennis, Profes

sor of Law, George Washington University; Charles M. Hepburn, Professor of Law, University of Indiana; Ernest Freund, Professor of Law, University of Chicago; E. S. Thurston, Professor of Law, George Washington University; Nathan Abbott, Professor of Law, Columbia University; E. C. Goddard, Professor of Law, University of Michigan;

C. B. Whittier, Professor of Law, University of Chicago; J. R. Clark, Jr., Professor of Law, George Washington University; Howard L. Smith and Wm. U. Moore, Professors of Law, University of Wisconsin. The work is progressing satisfactorily, and by another year it is probable that all, or nearly all, of the books of the Series will be in print.

The Passing of "Law Sheep."

By L. A. LONG.

A

LAWYER'S books are sometimes called the "tools of his trade." The phrase is graphic, but it is only half a truth. To a lawyer, his books are tools, undoubtedly, and he has the same joy in their efficiency and fitness to his use that a surgeon has in a perfect instrument or a soldier has in a powerful weapon; but they are also more. He takes an esthetic pleasure in his library as a library. The rows upon rows of books that line his office are records of the reasoning and judgment of the wisest men in his profession. They go far back into the past, opening vistas through the serried centuries, and showing the constant effort of the race to establish justice between man and man. The law does not stand, as religion does, for the loftiest ideals of which the purest souls are capable; but it does stand for an ideal which is a little in advance of what the average man puts into practice. It represents the steady, conservative effort of humanity to weed out its own worst elements and to provide a fair field for the growth of the better. It is practical idealism, keeping step with the race in its climb out of

barbarism, and always just one step ahead.

All this, and more, his library means to the lawyer. It is a visible monument to the hard-won victories of the race. It stands for human civilization, as well as for individual scholarship and personal

success.

Very largely because of this attitude. toward the past and from a feeling for the sanctity of precedent, the lawyer likes to have his law books correspond in appearance with the ancient monuments of the law, the books of the past. He does not care, perhaps, to go quite back to the earliest examples, with their wooden covers, bare, or covered with leather; but, having taken the next step to leather as a recognized and authoritative covering, he hesitates long before abandoning that position. position. Calf, or "law sheep," have incased books for hundreds of years. Their very odor, if not an odor of sanctity, is at least redolent of learning. Their smooth, yellow uniformity, lining the walls of his legal office, is suggestive of dignity, conservatism, and wisdom in reserve. To imagine a law library decked

« PreviousContinue »