251 U.S. 311 (1920), , Duhne v. New Jersey

Citation:251 U.S. 311, 40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280
Party Name:Duhne v. New Jersey No. ___, Original
Case Date:January 12, 1920
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 311

251 U.S. 311 (1920)

40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280



New Jersey

No. ___, Original

United States Supreme Court

Jan 12, 1920

Argued January 5, 1920



The federal courts have no jurisdiction of a suit brought by a citizen against his own state without its consent. P. 313.

In § 2 of Art. III of the Constitution, the second clause merely distributes the federal jurisdiction conferred by the preceding one into original and appellate jurisdiction, and does not itself confer any. Id.

Permission will not be granted to file an original bill if jurisdiction to entertain it is clearly lacking. P. 314.

Motion denied; rule discharged.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 312

WHITE, J., lead opinion

Memorandum opinion by MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE, by direction of the Court.

The complainant, a citizen of New Jersey, asked leave to file an original bill against the Attorney General of the

Page 313

United States, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue thereof and the United States District Attorney for the District of New Jersey, as well as against the State of New Jersey. The bill sought an injunction restraining the United States officials named and the State of New Jersey, its officers and agents, from in any manner directly or indirectly enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, any law of Congress or statute of the state to the contrary, on the ground that that amendment was void from the beginning and formed no part of the Constitution.

Answering a rule to show cause why leave to file the bill should not be granted, if any there was, the defendants, including the State of New Jersey, denied the existence of jurisdiction to entertain the cause, and this is the first question for consideration.

So far as the controversy concerns the officials of the United States, it is obvious that the bill presents no question within the original jurisdiction of this Court, and in effect that is not disputed, since, in substance, it is conceded that the bill would not present a case within our original jurisdiction if it were not for the presence of the State of New Jersey as a defendant. But it has been long since settled that the whole sum of the judicial power granted by the Constitution to the United States does not embrace the...

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