5 U.S. 299 (1803), Stuart v. Laird

Citation:5 U.S. 299, 2 L.Ed. 115
Party Name:STUART v. LAIRD.
Case Date:March 02, 1803
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 299

5 U.S. 299 (1803)

2 L.Ed. 115




United States Supreme Court.

March 02, 1803


ERROR from the fifth circuit in the Virginia district.

A judgment was obtained by the defendant in error, in the court of the United States for the middle circuit, in the Virginia district, in an action instituted in that court in January 1801, for a debt due by the plaintiff in error to him, for and on behalf of Laird and Robertson of Port Glasgow, Great Britain.

The middle circuit court in the Virginia district was established by the judiciary act of 1789, and continued until the 13th of February 1801, when an act was passed, entitled 'an act to provide for the more convenient organization of the courts of the United States.' 1 Story's L. U.S. 797.

By the twenty-first section of that act, all cases depending in the middle circuit court in Virginia, were transferred to other circuit courts, established by that law; and by the 'act to repeal certain acts respecting the organization of the courts of the United States, and for other purposes,' passed 8 March 1802, the provisions of the judiciary act of 1789 as to the middle circuit court of Virginia were revised, and re-enacted.

The case in the middle circuit court, went from that court in February 1801, to the court established by the act of 13 February 1801; and it afterwards, on the repeal of that law, returned to the court in which it was originally commenced. While it was pending in the court established in February 1801, certain proceedings were had, which were brought up with the record, and to which the exceptions were taken by the defendant below, and were presented for the consideration of this court.

The exceptions before this court were, 1. That congress could not transfer causes from one circuit court to another; and therefore all the proceedings in the court established by the act of February 13, 1801, were void. 2. That the justices of the supreme court of the United States could not by an act of congress be assigned to hold circuit courts.

Mr. Chief Justice Marshall having tried the cause in the court below, declined giving an opinion.

Page 308

Mr. Justice PATERSON delivered the opinion of the court.

On an action instituted by John Laird against Hugh Stuart, a judgment was entered in a court for the fourth circuit in the eastern district of Virginia, in December term 1801. On this judgment, an execution was issued, returnable...

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