Commonwealth v. Sanson

Citation67 Pa. 322
PartiesCommonwealth <I>ex rel.</I> Girard <I>versus</I> Sanson.
Decision Date09 February 1871
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Before THOMPSON, C. J., AGNEW and WILLIAMS, JJ. SHARSWOOD, J., at Nisi Prius

This case was a quo warranto issued, March 19th 1870, out of the Supreme Court, Eastern District, at the relation of John Fabricius Girard against Joseph Sanson to answer by what warrant since the 18th of February 1869 he had exercised, and was exercising the rights, &c., "of interpreter of foreign languages in Courts of Common Pleas, &c., &c., in Philadelphia, which the suggestion of the relator averred," were lawfully and exclusively vested in him by the commission of the governor of Pennsylvania, under the Act of Assembly of February 18th 1869 M. Arnold, Jr., for relator.—A subsequent affirmative statute repeals, by implication, a former one on the same matter, if it introduce a new rule, and be intended as a substitute without express words repealing it: Johnston's Estate, 9 Casey 511. If there be negative words in a later statute or the matter necessarily implies a negative, an earlier statute upon the same subject-matter will be thereby repealed: Bank v. Commonwealth, 10 Barr 442; Bartlett v. King, 12 Mass. 537; Commonwealth v. Cromley, 1 Ashmead 179; Street v. Commonwealth, 6 W. & S. 209; Daviess v. Fairbairn, 3 How. 636; Brown v. County Commissioners, 9 Harris 37. In the absence of a regularly appointed officer, the courts may order an interpreter to be sworn and interpret: Case of Norberg, 4 Mass. 81.

G. Remak, for respondent.

The opinion of the court was delivered, February 9th 1871, by AGNEW, J.

The Act of March 27th 1865, Pamph. L. 795, authorizing the appointment of interpreters of foreign languages, in the city of Philadelphia, contains two distinct and independent provisions. The first clause provides for the appointment by the governor of a competent interpreter, whose duty it is to make verbal or written translations of foreign invoices, manifests and other documents, which translation shall be duly certified. The second clause authorizes the Court of Common Pleas to appoint a competent interpreter of foreign languages for the court, and from time to time to fill vacancies as they occur. These interpreters thus derive their appointment from different sources and exercise different functions.

The Act of 18th February 1869, Pamph. L. 198, supplies so much only of the Act of 1865, as provided for the establishment of the office of interpreter of foreign languages for the city. This is obvious from several considerations, of which the first that may be stated is the title of the acts. That of 1865 relates to the appointment of interpreters (in the plural) in the city of Philadelphia, while that of 1869 is to establish the office of interpreter (in the singular) for the city of Philadelphia. The body of the Act of 1869 relates solely to the office of interpreter for the city only, making no reference whatever to the interpreter for the court. He is (as before) to be appointed by the governor, to have a seal of office, and to appoint clerks and assistants. His duties are confined to making translations of written papers and documents, to be certified when required under his seal of office, and made evidence in courts of justice; but not a word is said as to his duty to translate orally in the courts. In no part of the Act of 1869 is an intention expressed to repeal that part of the Act of 1865, authorizing the appointment of a court interpreter. So far there is not a shadow of inconsistency...

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