Ex parte Edward Young, No. 10

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPeckham
Citation52 L.Ed. 714,28 S.Ct. 441,209 U.S. 123
Decision Date23 March 1908
Docket NumberNo. 10,O
PartiesEX PARTE: EDWARD T. YOUNG, Petitioner. riginal

209 U.S. 123
28 S.Ct. 441
52 L.Ed. 714
EX PARTE: EDWARD T. YOUNG, Petitioner.
No. 10, Original.
Argued December 2, 3, 1907.
Decided March 23, 1908.

[Syllabus from pages 123-126 intentionally omitted]

Page 126

An original application was made to this court for leave to file a petition for writs of habeas corpus and certiorari in behalf of Edward T. Young, petitioner, as attorney general of the state of Minnesota.

Leave was granted and a rule entered directing the United States marshal for the district of Minnesota, third division, who held the petitioner in his custody, to show cause why such petition should not be granted.

The marshal, upon the return of the order to show cause, justified his detention on the petitioner by virtue of an order of the circuit court of the United States for the district of Minnesota, which adjudged the petitioner builty of contempt of that court, and directed that he be fined the sum of $100, and that he should dismiss the mandamus proceedings brought by him in the name and in behalf of the state, in the circuit court of the state, and that he should stand committed to the custody of the marshal until that order was obeyed. The case

Page 127

involves the validity of the order of the circuit court committing him for contempt.

The facts are these: The legislature of the state of Minnesota duly created a railroad and warehouse commission, and that commission, on the 6th of September, 1906, made an order fixing the rates for the various railroad companies for the carriage of merchandise between stations in that state of the kind and classes specified in what is known as the 'Western Classification.' These rates materially reduced those then existing, and were by the order to take effect November 15, 1906. In obedience to the order the railroads filed and published the schedules of rates, which have ever since that time been carried out by the companies.

At the time of the making of the above order it was provided by the Revised Laws of Minnesota, 1905 (§ 1987), that any common carrier who violated the provisions of that section or wilfully suffered any such unlawful act or omission, when no specific penalty is imposed therefor, 'if a natural person, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a find of not less than $2,500, nor more than $5,000 for the first offense, and not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 for each subsequent offense; and, if such carrier or warehouseman be a corporation, it shall forfeit to the state for the first offense not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, and for each subsequent offense not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000, to be recovered in a civil action.'

This provision covered disobedience to the orders of the commission.

On the 4th of April, 1907, the legislature of the state of Minnesota passed an act fixing 2 cents a mile as the maximum passenger rate to be charged by railroads in Minnesota. (The rate had been theretofore 3 cents per mile.) The act was to take effect on the 1st of May, 1907, and was put into effect on that day by the railroad companies, and the same

Page 128

has been observed by them up to the present time. It was provided in the act that 'any railroad company, or any officer, agent, or representative thereof, who shall violate any provision of this act, shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand ($5,000) dollars, or by imprisonment in the state prison for a period not exceeding five (5) years, or both such fine and imprisonment.'

On the 18th of April, 1907, the legislature passed an act (chapter 232 of the laws of that year), which established rates for the transportation of certain commodities (not included in the Western Classification) between stations in that state. The act divided the commodities to which it referred into seven classes, and set forth a schedule of maximum rates for each class when transported in car-load lots, and established the minimum weight which constituted a car load of each class.

Section 5 provided that it should not affect the power or authority of the railroad and warehouse commission, except that no duty should rest upon that commission to enforce any rates specifically fixed by the act or any other statute of the state. The section further provided generally that the orders made by the railroad and warehouse commission prescribing rates should be the exclusive legal maximum rates for the transportation of the commodities enumerated in the act between points within that state.

Section 6 directed that every railroad company in the state should adopt and publish and put into effect the rates specified in the statute, and that every officer, director, traffic manager, or agent, or employee of such railroad company should cause the adoption, publication, and use by such railroad company of rates not exceeding those specified in the act; 'and any officer, director, or such agent or employee of any such railroad company who violates any of the provisions of this section, or who causes or counsels, advises or assists, any such railroad company to violate any of the provisions of this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be prosecuted therefor*

Page 129

in any county into which its railroad extends, and in which it has a station, and upon a conviction thereof be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding ninety days.' The act was to take effect June 1, 1907.

The railroad companies did not obey the provisions of this act so far as concerned the adoption and publication of rates as specified therein.

On the 31st of May, 1907, the day before the act was to take effect, nine suits in equity were commenced in the circuit court of the United States for the district of Minnesota, third division, each suit being brought by stockholders of the particular railroad mentioned in the bill, and in each case the defendants named were the railroad company of which the complainants were, respectively, stockholders, and the members of the railroad and warehouse commission, and the attorney general of the state, Edward T. Young, and individual defendants, representing the shippers of freight upon the railroad.

The order punishing Mr. Young for contempt was made in the suit in which Charles E. Perkins, a citizen of the state of Iowa, and David C. Shepare, a citizen of the state of Minnesota, were complainants, and the Northern Pacific Railway Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Wisconsin, Edward T. Young, petitioner herein, and others, were parties defendant. All of the defendants, except the railway company, are citizens and residents of the state of Minnesota.

It was averred in the bill that the suit was not a collusive one to confer on the court jurisdiction of a case of which it could not otherwise have cognizance, but that the objects and purposes of the suit were to enjoin the railway company from publishing or adopting (or continuing to observe, if already adopted) the rates and tariffs prescribed and set forth in the two acts of the legislature above mentioned and in the orders of the railroad and warehouse commission, and also to enjoin the other defendants from attempting to enforce such provisions, or from instituting any action or proceeding against

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the defendant railway company, its officers, etc., on account of any violation thereof, for the reason that the said acts and orders were and each of them was violative of the Constitution of the United States.

The bill also alleged that the orders of the railroad commission of September 6, 1906, May 3, 1907, the passenger-rate act of April 4, 1907, and the act of April 18, 1907, reducing the tariffs and charges which the railway company had theretofore been permitted to make, were each and all of them unjust, unreasonable, and confiscatory, in that they each of them would, and will if enforced, deprive complainants and the railway company of their property without due process of law, and deprive them and it of the equal protection of the laws, contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of the United States and the amendments thereof. It was also averred that the complainants had demanded of the president and managing directors of the railway company that they should cease obedience to the orders of the commission dated September 6, 1906, and May 3, 1907, and to the acts already mentioned, and that the rates prescribed in such orders and acts should not be put into effect, and that the said corporation, its officers and directors, should institute proper suit or suits to prevent said rates (named in the orders and in the acts of the legislature) from continuing or becoming effective, as the case might be, and to have the same declared illegal; but the said corporation, its president and directors, had positively declined and refused to do so, not because they considered the rates a fair and just return upon the capital invested, or that they would not be confiscatory, but because of the severity of the penalties provided for the violation of such acts and orders, and therefore they could not subject themselves to the ruinous consequences which would inevitably result from failure on their part to obey the said laws and orders,—a result which no action by themselves, their stockholders or directors, could possibly prevent.

The bill further alleged that the orders of the commission

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of September, 1906, and May, 1907, and the acts of April 4, 1907, and April 18, 1907, were, in the penalties prescribed for their violation, so drastic that no owner or operator of a railway property could invoke the jurisdiction of any court to test the validity thereof, except at the risk of confiscation of its property, and the imprisonment for long terms in jails and penitentiaries of its officers, agents, and employees. For this...

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9160 practice notes
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • February 10, 2020
    ...935 F.3d 243, 248 (4th Cir. 2019) (citing Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 71 n.14 (1996)). And, under Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), sovereign immunity does not extend to a request for prospective injunctive relief to correct an ongoing violation of law. However, to......
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    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
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    ...state officers, it does not bar actions against state officers seeking solely declaratory and injunctive relief. In Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908), the Supreme Court held that a suit to enjoin a state officer from acting pursuant to an allegedly unconstituti......
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    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • May 6, 1975
    ...prospective injunctive relief against state officials are not barred by the eleventh amendment. Edelman v. Jordan, supra; Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908); Tullock v. State Highway Commission of Missouri, 507 F.2d 712 (8th Cir. 1974). At the time that plaintif......
  • BJRL v. State of Utah, Civ. No. C86-324G.
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    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 28, 1987
    ...Amendment prevents a state from being sued in federal court by anyone other than the federal government or another state. Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 149, 28 S.Ct. 441, 449, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908); Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 106 S.Ct. 423, 425, 88 L.Ed.2d 371 (1985). However, the Supreme......
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9056 cases
  • Estate of Bryant v. Balt. Police Dep't, Civil Action No. ELH-19-384
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • February 10, 2020
    ...935 F.3d 243, 248 (4th Cir. 2019) (citing Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 71 n.14 (1996)). And, under Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), sovereign immunity does not extend to a request for prospective injunctive relief to correct an ongoing violation of law. However, to......
  • Hunter v. Supreme Court of New Jersey, Civ. No. 96-848 (WGB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • August 27, 1996
    ...state officers, it does not bar actions against state officers seeking solely declaratory and injunctive relief. In Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908), the Supreme Court held that a suit to enjoin a state officer from acting pursuant to an allegedly unconstituti......
  • Whitman v. State Highway Commission of Missouri, No. 1793.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • May 6, 1975
    ...prospective injunctive relief against state officials are not barred by the eleventh amendment. Edelman v. Jordan, supra; Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908); Tullock v. State Highway Commission of Missouri, 507 F.2d 712 (8th Cir. 1974). At the time that plaintif......
  • BJRL v. State of Utah, Civ. No. C86-324G.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 28, 1987
    ...Amendment prevents a state from being sued in federal court by anyone other than the federal government or another state. Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 149, 28 S.Ct. 441, 449, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908); Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 106 S.Ct. 423, 425, 88 L.Ed.2d 371 (1985). However, the Supreme......
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  • This Week At The Ninth: Tribal Sovereign Immunity
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    • Mondaq United States
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    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 574-1, March 2001
    • March 1, 2001
    ...ison and Marshall, id. at 14. 28. Edelman v. Jordan, 414 U.S. 651 (1974).29. Seminole Tribe of Florida, 517 U.S. at 70.30. Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 31. Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313, 328-29 (1934).32. Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976).33. Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332 (19......
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    • Public Administration Review Nbr. 64-4, July 2004
    • July 1, 2004
    ...in public administrationjournals. E-mail: yonglee@iastate.edu. 426 Public Administration Review •July/August 2004, Vol. 64, No. 4Young, 209 U.S. 123 [1908]; Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547[1967]; Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 239 [1974]). Until1971, federal officials performing discretionar......
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