Mulholland's Case

Citation217 Pa. 631
PartiesMulholland's Case.
Decision Date22 April 1907
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Before MITCHELL, C. J., FELL, MESTREZAT, POTTER and STEWART, JJ. Reversed.

Thos. Raeburn White, for appellants.

No printed brief for appellees.

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE POTTER, April 22, 1907:

On November 2, 1906, William Mulholland filed a petition in the court of common pleas No. 2, for the county of Philadelphia, in which he averred that he was a qualified naturalized voter of the twentieth division, nineteenth ward, of the city of Philadelphia; that he had in his possession naturalization papers, but had mislaid them and did not find them in time to present them to the board of registrars; that on October 19, 1906, he appeared in person before the commissioners of registration and produced all proofs of his qualifications as an elector, including a certified copy of his naturalization papers, but they refused to register him as a qualified elector of his division, assigning as their reason that he should have produced naturalization papers on one of the three registering days. He prayed the court to grant him an appeal from the decision of the commissioners, and to make such order as they might deem just and right under the circumstances. The court allowed the appeal and on November 21, 1906, indorsed on the petition; "Name to be added," evidently meaning to order that the name of the petitioner should be added to the registry list.

By certiorari, the board of registration commissioners for the city of Philadelphia have brought the record before us for review. As to our jurisdiction in the matter, it is settled that "the judicial authority of this court extends to the review and correction of all proceedings of all inferior courts, except where such review is expressly excluded by statute, in accordance with the constitution:" Gosline v. Place, 32 Pa. 520. After considering the prior decisions, Justice WOODWARD said in Chase v. Miller, 41 Pa. 403, "Such, then, in general, is the jurisdiction of this court, to correct all manner of errors of inferior judicial tribunals; and that is not to be taken away, except by express terms or irresistible implication."

In a recent case, also arising under the election laws, Chief Justice MITCHELL said: "The case having been brought to this court by certiorari, the first question is our jurisdiction. The proceeding being entirely statutory and without appeal, we cannot review the findings of fact or the merits of the case, but under the general supervisory powers of the court on certiorari we are entitled to inspect the whole record with regard to the regularity and propriety of the proceedings to ascertain whether the court below exceeded its jurisdiction or its proper legal discretion:" Independence Party Nomination, 208 Pa. 108.

Turning to the law governing the present case, we find that the Act of February 17, 1906, P. L. 49, entitled "An act to provide for the general registration of electors in cities of the first and second classes of this commonwealth, to make such registration a condition of the right to vote in such cities, and to provide penalties for the violation of its provisions," provides (sec. 3) for the appointment for each of said cities of a...

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