« ForrigeFortsett »
court jurisdiction, the state court must in
If by the judgment of the state court in
I concede, plainly and fully, the power of this court to review a judgment of the state court when effect has been given by that judgment to subsequent legislation claimed to impair the validity of a contract. But that vital fact must appear in order to support the jurisdiction, and without it the jurisdiction does not exist, no matter how important the question may be or how many times it may have been heretofore decided.
The cases above cited show that even if there has been subsequent legislation, if the judgment of the state court does not give that legislation any effect, and decides the case without reference thereto, this court is also without jurisdiction to review that judgment.
To say that the duty is cast upon this court to inquire whether a state has passed a law impairing the obligations of a prior contract is but to half state the case. inquiry must be further prosecuted to the extent of learning whether the state court has, by its judgment, given effect to such subsequent legislation, and, if it has not, then no duty or right rests upon this court to review the judgment.
I do not say that in order to give this
provision denying to any state the right to
In all the litigation arising in the state courts, by reason of the subsequent legislation by Virginia upon the subject, the claim was made, on a review of the judgments in this court, that the judgments of the state courts had given effect to statutes which were passed subsequently to the original coupon statutes, and that the original contract made by those statutes had been impaired by reason of those subsequent statutes to which effect was given by the judgments of the state courts. It was the giving effect by the judgment of the court to the subsequent statutes, which it was alleged impaired the contract, that gave jurisdiction to this court to decide for itself whether there was a contract, and, if so, what the contract was, as a preliminary to the decision of the question whether the subsequent statutes impaired the contract as construed by this court. The cases in which this court decides for itself, without reference to the decision of the state court, what the contract was, are cases where there has been, not only subsequent legislation which is alleged to impair the contract, but also legislation which has been given some effect to by the judgment of the state court. Such is the case of Jefferson Branch Bank v. Skelly, 1 Black, 436, 443 [17:173, 177], and such are all the other cases decided in this court upon that subject.
However true it may be that in many prior | ers when reviewing a judgment of a state cases this court has held there was a valid court. contract created by the coupon statutes, so In this class of cases the absolutely uncalled, which could not be impaired by any bending and essential fact which must exist, subsequent *legislation, the fact remains that in order to give jurisdiction to review a judg unless such subsequent legislation has been ment of a state court, is subsequent legislagiven effect to by the judgment in this case, tion to which effect has been given by the there is not the slightest shadow of a claim judgment of the state court. This court is for jurisdiction in this court to review that not the Mecca to which all dissatisfied suitjudgment. Millions or hundreds of millions ors in the state courts may turn for the corof dollars may have been invested in reliance rection of all the errors said to have been upon a judgment of this court declaring the committed by the state tribunals. Nor is it law to be that there was a valid contract, and confided to this court to supervise the judg yet a state court might in a subsequent ac- ments of a state court in all cases where we tion adjudge that there never was a valid may think that court has by its later decicontract, because the statute which it was sion invalidated a contract which it had once claimed created it was in violation of the held to be lawful, and the judgment in which state Constitution. If that judgment did this court had upheld. The right of the not, in effect, put in operation any subse-state court in another case to reverse its quent legislation, the solemn adjudications former ruling is wholly unaffected by the fact of this court in some former cases that the that its former judgment had been affirmed contract was valid, could not affect the judg- here. Unless the Federal question exists in ment in question nor furnish ground for the this case there is no ground of jurisdiction jurisdiction of this court to review that judg- founded upon any prior decisions. ment. This court is not intrusted with the duty of supervising all decisions of state courts to the end that we may see to it that such decisions are never inconsistent, contradictory, or conflicting. We supervise those decisions only when a Federal question arises. It is said this court is not bound to follow the last decision of a state court reversing its prior rulings upon a question of the validity of a contract, when bonds have been issued and taken in reliance upon the decision of the state court adjudging the validity of the law under which the bonds were issued. I do not dispute the proposition, but it has nothing to do with this case. Where an action has been brought under such circumstances in a Federal court, it has been frequently held that such court was not bound to follow the latest decision of the state court which invalidated the law under which bonds had been issued, at a time when the state court had held the law valid. In such case the Federal court would follow the prior decision of the state court and apply it to all the securities which had been issued prior to the time when the state court changed its decision. But such a case raises no question of jurisdiction in this court to review the judgment of a state court. When that question of jurisdiction does arise, the right of review cannot rest upon the fact that the state court has refused to follow its former decision, and, on the contrary, has directly * overruled it. The jurisdiction of this court to review the state court in this class of cases is confined in the first instance to an inquiry as to the existence of subsequent legislation upon the subject, and if none has been enacted to which any effect has been given by the state court, this court cannot review the decision of the state tribunal, even though that decision makes worthless a contract which it had prior thereto held valid.
Now, has this judgment of the state court given effect to any subsequent legislation? At the time of the passage of the coupon acts there was no prior statute in Virginia permitting taxes to be paid in coupons of any kind whatever. The sole authority for such attempted payment of taxes rested in the coupon statutes under consideration. If they gave no such authority, then none existed, and no payment of taxes by means of coupons was valid. This is wholly irrespective of the subsequent acts. The state court has held the coupon *acts to be entirely void, because in violation of the state Constitution in existence when they were passed. Under that decision those acts are to all intents and purposes as if they never had been passed. They therefore furnished not the slightest form of legality to a payment of taxes in coupons. It was not a statute to forbid paying taxes in coupons that was necessary in order to deprive such payments of legality. A statute, a valid statute authorizing such payment, was necessary in the first instance, and if there were no such statute there was no authority existing to receive coupons in payment of taxes. The supreme court of appeals of Virginia, in a case in which it had jurisdiction, decided there was no such statute, and consequently no such authority, because the statute purporting to confer that authority was void, as in violation of the Constitution of the state. This judgment did not give the slightest effect to the legis lation subsequent to the coupon statutes. It simply held there were no coupon statutes, because those which purported to be such were totally void. No subsequent statute was necessary, and none such was given effect to. Striking down the coupon statutes effectually destroyed any assumed right to pay taxes in coupons, and the subsequent legislation was needless and ineffectual. Thus the whole groundwork upon which to base our jurisdiction in this case falls to the ground, and we are left to maintain it upon the insufficient claim of prior decisions of this
The cases of Gelpcke v. City of Dubuque, 1 Wall. 175 [17: 520], and Ohio & M. Railroad Company v. McClure, 10 Wall. 511 [19: 997], illustrate this difference between the powers of this court when reviewing a judg-court. ment of a lower Federal court and its pow- In truth, the particular question decided
affirmed, as to that point, by this court. In this decision now before us it has given no effect to subsequent legislation, and not having done so, but simply decided a question of local law regarding its own Constitution, the state court has given no decision which raises a Federal question, and therefore none that this court can review.
in this case has never been before this court. In some of the former cases this court decided the general proposition that the coupon legislation was valid and created a contract. After it had thus decided, a case came before it where a subsequent statute provided that, in the case of the school tax, coupons should not be received in payment thereof. The state court had decided that the coupon stat- Under all the circumstances I can only see ute was invalid so far as it related to the a determination to take jurisdiction in this school tax, because the Constitution in exist-case simply because this court, as it is said, ence when the coupon acts were passed required in substance that such tax must be paid in lawful money, and consequently the coupon act was unconstitutional as to such tax. This court affirmed that judgment. Vashon v. Greenhow, 135 U. S. 662, 713 [34: 304, 320]. Part of the coupon statute was thus held invalid by the state court and also by this court.
The state had also passed a subsequent statute providing that the tax for a license to retail liquor should be paid in lawful money. This court (affirming in that respect the court below) held that act valid, because it was in effect a regulation of the liquor traffic, and the state could at all times legislate upon that subject, notwithstanding the coupon acts and the alleged contract therein created. Hucless v. Childrey, 135 U. S. 662, 709 [34: 304, 319]. Both of these decisions were made subsequently to the time when this court had held the coupon statute valid, and that a valid contract was therein created.
The state court has now decided in this case that as the coupon acts were invalid as to the payment of the school tax in coupons (a proposition concurred in by this court), the result was that the whole acts were invalid, that they could not stand partly valid and partly void, and that the whole coupon scheme was unconstitutional. This phase of the controversy has never before reached this court, and the court has therefore never before decided this particular point. It has said, generally, that the legislation was valid, but it said SO only in cases where the general power of the legislature to enact the coupon statutes was in question, and it has never decided squarely the point that if the coupon acts be unconstitutional in some particulars they are nevertheless valid in all others. The fact is alluded to simply as matter of history.
But even if it had, that fact confers no jurisdiction upon this court to review this judgment, if it otherwise is without it. In other words, because this court has hereto
fore decided the question of the validity of
the contract, in cases where it had jurisdiction, that fact furnishes no foundation for its jurisdiction in this case, where the state court has given no effect to any subsequent legislation. Prior decision is not the foundation of jurisdiction. What I say is, that whether there have been two or more decisions, is wholly immaterial; jurisdiction cannot be taken because it is said that in a second or subsequent decision the state court did not follow its first decision in regard to the contract, although that decision had been
has in cases in which it had jurisdiction decided the question differently from the decision in this case by the state court. That ground does not give jurisdiction, and that is the only ground that does exist.
The writ of error should be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
UNITED STATES, Appt.,
RANLETT & STONE.
(See S. C. Reporter's ed. 133-148.)
Appraiser of imported goods-when appraisement is valid-duty on American bags-foreign-made bags.
The judgment of an appraiser after actual examination, that imported goods are not as described, but fall within a different classification, must stand as against the importer, unless reversed on reappraisement, or by the board of general appraisers on protest filed.
An appraisement is not invalid as against the importer because the examination was not made in accordance with U. S. Rev. Stat. § 2901, which is intended for the benefit of the government.
The separation of American-made bags, which are free from duty, from foreign-made bags imported in the same bales, should be made by the importer if he wishes to obtain the exemptions on the former, and he cannot require the separation to be made by the goverument.
The prima facie showing that bags imported are of American manufacture is overturned when it appears that foreign bags in large numbers are included in the same bales with those of American make.
Argued and Submitted April 20, 1898. Restored to docket, and certiorari to bring up entire record ordered April 25, 1898. Submitted October 11, 1898. Decided December 5, 1898.
States Circuit Court of Appeals for the
N WRIT of certiorari to the United
Fifth Circuit, after certification of questions to this court, to review a decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Fifth Circuit reversing the decision of the board of general appraisers and decreeing that certain duties paid by Ranlett & Stone on imported bags be refunded and that the liquidation of duties before made be set aside and the duties reliquidated. Reversed, with directions to enter a decree for the refunding of one fourth of the duties paid.
Statement by Mr. Chief Justice Fuller:  *Ranlett & Stone imported at the port of New Orleans, from Liverpool, England, 2,925 bales of grain bags, known as cental bags, each bale containing one thousand bags, or 2,925,000 in all, by several vessels, the entries running from August 14, 1893, to January 15, 1894.
The bags were entered free of duty under paragraph 493 of the act of October 1, 1890 (26 Stat. chap. 1244, p. 603), as bags of American manufacture returned to the United States.
That paragraph is as follows: "Articles the growth, produce, and manufacture of the United States, when returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means; casks, barrels, carboys, bags, and
other vessels of American manufacture exported filled with American products, or exported empty and returned filled with foreign products, including shooks when returned as barrels or boxes; but proof of the identity of such articles shall be made, under general regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury; and if any such articles are subject to internal tax at the time of exportation such tax shall be proved to have been paid before exportation and not refunded: Provided, That this paragraph shall not apply to any article upon which an allowance of drawback has been made, the reimportation of which is hereby prohibited except upon payment of duties equal to the drawbacks allowed.  *The general regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury under this paragraph contained the following provisions: "Art. 331. Articles of the growth, produce, and manufacture of the United States, exported to a foreign country and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition, by any process of manufacture or other means, and upon which no drawback or bounty has been allowed, are entitled to entry free of duty, but this privilege does not extend to articles exported in bond from a manufacturing warehouse and afterward returned to this country. The exportation must be bona fide, and not for the purpose of evading any revenue law.
"If returned to the port of original exportation, the fact of regular clearance for a foreign destination must be shown by the records of the customs, and by the declaration of the person making the entry. But when the reimportation is made into a port other than that of original exportation, there shall be required, in addition to the declaration, a certificate from the collector and the naval officer, if any, of the port, where the exportation was made, showing the fact of exportation from that port.
"Art. 335. Casks, barrels, carboys, bags, and vessels of American manufacture, exported filled with American products, or exported empty and returned filled with foreign products, including shooks when returned as barrels or boxes, *are free of duties, but in case drawback has been allowed upon the exportation of any such articles, they shall on importation be subject to a duty equal to the drawback. Proof of the identity of such articles must be made, and if any of them were subject to internal tax at the time of exportation, such tax shall be proved to have been paid before exportation and not refunded, or duty will accrue.
"Art. 336. Before entry, the following proof shall be required by the collector:
"First. A certificate as follows from the shipper in triplicate, attested by a consul or other proper officer authorized to take affidavits, as follows:
"I hereby certify, under oath, that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the thereinafter specified, are truly of the manufacture of the United States, exported from the United States, filled with t —, and that it is intended to reship the same to the port of in the United States, § -on board the " now lv. ing in the port of I further certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the actual market value of the articles herein named, at this time and in the form in which the same are to be exported to the United States, is as follows t
"Sworn to before me, this 18-.
"Second. A declaration in the entry by the importer of the name of the exporting vessel, the date of the ship's manifest, and the marks and numbers on the articles for which free entry is sought. If the exportation was made by railroad, the way bill may be substituted as evidence for the manifest. The mark and numbers should be such as to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the identity of the articles with those entered on the outward manifest.
"Name the articles.
"If the packages are empty, Insert statement of the facts, as 'and were exported from the United States filled with the produce of that country.'
"If the packages contain foreign merchan
merchandise they contain.
"Art. 332. To guard against fraud, and to dise, insert filled with' and a description of the insure identity, the collector shall require, in addition to proof of clearance, the production of a statement, certified by the
"This blank is to be filled only when the merchandise contained in the packages is subject to a duty ad valorem."
"Fifth. Verification after examination, by the appraiser, with an indorsement stating whether the articles are of domestic or of for eign manufacture.
"Such bags and other coverings exported to be returned should, when practicable, be marked or numbered, in order that they may be identified on their return; and the marks or numbers should appear on the shipper's manifest upon which they are exported.
When the respective shipments arrived in this country free entry was made by the importer and evidence furnished regarding the right to free entry and the character of the goods. Samples of the respective invoices were then sent to the appraiser's office and examined as follows:
From one entry of 600 bales, 70 were ordered to the appraiser's store and 18 of that number were opened by him;
Of another entry of 650 bales, 43 were ordered to the store and 19 were opened;
Of a third entry of 325 bales, 38 were ordered to the store and 13 were opened;
Of a fourth entry of 850 bales, 85 were ordered to the store and 16 were opened;
Of a fifth entry of 300 bales, 21 were ordered to the store and 14 were opened;
did not come under the provisions of section
The Board of General Appraisers sustained the action of the collector. General Appraisers' Decisions, No. 2623.
The importers applied for a review of this decision to the circuit court of the United States for the fifth circuit, which, without taking any additional testimony, reversed the decision of the board, and entered a decree that the duties paid by Ranlett & Stone, namely, two cents per pound on the several consignments of bags, enumerating them, be refunded; "that the examination heretofore made of said bales of bags is void and not in conformity to law or the regulations of the Treasury Department, and any liquidation of duties based on said examination is illegal and void, and the liquidation of duties heretofore made be set aside, and the money received from Ranlett & Stone as duties be refunded as aforesaid; and the court doth further order and decree that the collector direct a re-examination of said bales of bags to be made according to law, and on such re-examination to reliquidate the duties which may be lawfully due thereon."
The United States appealed from the decree to the circuit court of appeals, which certified certain questions to this court, whereupon a writ of certiorari was issued and the entire record brought up.
Messrs. Henry M. Hoyt, Assistant Attorney General, and W. J. Hughes for appellant on first and second argument and submission.
Mr. William A. Maury for appellees on first argument and submission.
Messrs. Thomas J. Semmes and William A. Maury for appellees on second submission.
Of a sixth entry of 100 bales, 100 were ordered to the store and 10 were opened;
Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the
opinion of the court:
*In respect of these importations, it must
And of a seventh entry of 100 bales, 100 were ordered to the store and 10 were opened.  *The examination of the bales was made by the appraiser, assisted by an examiner. The appraiser reported as to each importation that the bales contained bags of foreign manufacture, subject to duty, and thereupon the collector, by direction of the Treasury Department, at the request of the importers, in order to obtain possession of the goods, be assumed that the bags were not in fact made impost entries, assessing duties at the all of American manufacture or substantialrate of two cents per pound on the entirely so. consignment, under paragraph 365 of the act The opinion of the General Appraisers of 1890, 26 Stat. at L. 593, as "bags for grain stated that "it was admitted that there were made of burlaps.". The importers protested bags of foreign manufacture and of Ameriagainst the "decision, liquidation, and rate can manufacture, all indiscriminately minand amount of duties assessed," on the gled together, no attempt being made on engrounds: That the bags were entitled to try or afterwards to separate from these free entry under paragraph 493 of the free enormous totals of goods of the same class list as bags of American manufacture, ex- those claimed to be relieved from duty acported filled with American products; that, companied by the proof establishing such inif not free under that paragraph, they were "in some cases examined every bale of the dulgence." The examiner testified that he entitled to free entry under the provisions whole entire invoice;" that he used his judgof section seven of the act of February 8, ment "to try to open sufficient to get at the 1875, and the regulations for the free entry classification of the goods;" and that where of bags other than of American manufacture, he opened the bales and examined them he prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury found of foreign make in general "from sev thereunder; and that the goods were not enty-five to eighty per cent." Indeed we do fairly and faithfully examined by the ap-not understand the importers to deny that praisers; that the assessment of two cents these importations contained foreign-made per pound because the bales contained a mix-bags. ture of foreign and American bags was incorrect, and that the goods being all of one value, whether of foreign or American make,
Under title 33 of the Revised Statutes a duty was imposed on grain bags, except those manufactured in the United