City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone Telegraph Company, No. 546

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation3 L.Ed.2d 562,358 U.S. 639,79 S.Ct. 455
Docket NumberNo. 546
Decision Date24 February 1959
PartiesCITY OF MERIDIAN, Appellant, v. SOUTHERN BELL TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH COMPANY

358 U.S. 639
79 S.Ct. 455
3 L.Ed.2d 562
CITY OF MERIDIAN, Appellant,

v.

SOUTHERN BELL TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH COMPANY.

No. 546.
Decided Feb. 24, 1959.

Messrs. George M. Ethridge, Jr., and Lester E. Wills, for appellant.

Messrs. Charles B. Snow and John A. Boykin, Jr., for appellee.

Mr. Tally D. Riddell, for City of Gulfport and others, as amici curiae.

PER CURIAM.

Appellee instituted this suit for a declaratory judgment that a 1956 Mississippi statute imposing a charge on public utilities for the use of public streets and places does not apply to it, and if it does, violates the Federal and State Constitutions. It was tried before a single district judge. After trial the district judge wrote an opinion (154 F.Supp. 736) and then entered a judgment which

Page 640

declared the statute in conflict with the State and Federal Constitutions and thus beyond the power of the Mississippi Legislature to enact. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court. 256 F.2d 83. An appeal was taken to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1254(2), 28 U.S.C.A. § 1254(2), providing for appeal of a decision of a Court of Appeals where appellant relies on a state statute held to be 'invalid as repugnant to the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States.' Appellee moved to dismiss the appeal, contending that review by appeal does not lie because the Court of Appeals decision declaring the state statute unconstitutional was based on the Constituion of Mississippi as well as the Federal Constitution. Subsequently, appellant moved the Court to vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the District Court with instructions to vacate its judgment and convene a three-judge court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 2281, 2284 to consider appellee's complaint. Appellee opposed the motion. Without passing judgment on the merits of that motion (cf. Federal Housing Administration v. The Darlington, Inc., 352 U.S. 977, 77 S.Ct. 381, 1 L.Ed.2d 363), we vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the District Court with directions to hold the cause while the parties repair to a state tribunal for an authoritative declaration of applicable state law.

Proper exercise of federal jurisdiction requires that controversies involving unsettled questions of state law be decided in the state tribunals preliminary to a federal court's consideration of the underlying federal...

To continue reading

Request your trial
149 practice notes
  • United States v. Livingston, Civ. A. No. AC-174.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • November 18, 1959
    ...Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L. Ed.2d 267; City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed.2d 562; George F. Alger Co. v. Peck, 74 S.Ct. 605, 347 U.S. 984, 74 S.Ct. 853, 98 L.Ed. 1148; and Shipman v. Du Pre, 339 ......
  • DONOHOE C. CO., INC. v. Maryland-National CP & P. Com'n, Civ. No. Y-74-1210.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 29, 1975
    ...issues are involved. Four decisions by the Court provide some illumination — City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed. 2d 562 (1959); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91......
  • Salvati v. Dale, Civ. A. No. 73-461
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 5, 1973
    ...Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267 (1957). In City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone Company, 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed.2d 562 (1959), the Supreme Court in discussing this delicately balanced area of the law Proper exercise of federal ju......
  • Smith v. Travis County Educ. Dist., Civ. No. A-92-CA-75
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • May 1, 1992
    ...a federal court's consideration of the underlying constitutional questions." City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co., 358 U.S. 639, 640, 79 S.Ct. 455, 456, 3 L.Ed.2d 562 (1959) citing Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496, 61 S.Ct. 643, 85 L.Ed. 971 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
149 cases
  • United States v. Livingston, Civ. A. No. AC-174.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • November 18, 1959
    ...Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L. Ed.2d 267; City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed.2d 562; George F. Alger Co. v. Peck, 74 S.Ct. 605, 347 U.S. 984, 74 S.Ct. 853, 98 L.Ed. 1148; and Shipman v. Du Pre, 339 ......
  • DONOHOE C. CO., INC. v. Maryland-National CP & P. Com'n, Civ. No. Y-74-1210.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 29, 1975
    ...issues are involved. Four decisions by the Court provide some illumination — City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed. 2d 562 (1959); Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 90 S.Ct. 788, 25 L.Ed.2d 68 (1970); Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91......
  • Salvati v. Dale, Civ. A. No. 73-461
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 5, 1973
    ...Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267 (1957). In City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone Company, 358 U.S. 639, 79 S.Ct. 455, 3 L.Ed.2d 562 (1959), the Supreme Court in discussing this delicately balanced area of the law Proper exercise of federal ju......
  • Smith v. Travis County Educ. Dist., Civ. No. A-92-CA-75
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • May 1, 1992
    ...a federal court's consideration of the underlying constitutional questions." City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co., 358 U.S. 639, 640, 79 S.Ct. 455, 456, 3 L.Ed.2d 562 (1959) citing Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496, 61 S.Ct. 643, 85 L.Ed. 971 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT