Southern Ry Co v. Clift, No. 107

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcKENNA
Citation67 L.Ed. 283,43 S.Ct. 126,260 U.S. 316
Docket NumberNo. 107
Decision Date04 December 1922
PartiesSOUTHERN RY. CO. v. CLIFT

260 U.S. 316
43 S.Ct. 126
67 L.Ed. 283
SOUTHERN RY. CO.

v.

CLIFT.

No. 107.
Argued Nov. 21, 1922.
Decided Dec. 4, 1922.

Page 317

Messrs. John D. Welman, of Evansville, Ind., and Alexander Pope Humphrey, of Louisville, Ky. (Messrs. L. E. Jeffries, of Washington, D. C., Edward P. Humphrey, of Louisville, Ky., and L. C. Embree, of Princeton, Ind., of counsel), for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from page 317-318 intentionally omitted]

Page 318

Mr. T. Morton McDonald, of Princeton, Ind., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.

The case is concerned with a statute of Indiana under which judgment was obtained against the railway company upon a claim for damage to property which it received for transportation within the state.

A motion is made by defendant in error to dismiss the writ of error; this court, it is contended, being without jurisdiction. The grounds of the motion are specified as follows: (1) The judgment, at the time the transcript was filed, had not become final. (2) It did not decide any federal question.

To sustain the first ground, it is said, that under the law of the state, within 60 days after the termination of the case by the Supreme Court, 'either party may file a

Page 319

petition for a rehearing.' From this it is deduced and contended that the successful as well as the unsuccessful party in the action may file a petition for rehearing, and that until the expiration of the time for the exercise of the right the judgment does not become final. The contention is curious. Legal procedure is a facility of rights, and rights achieved, its purpose is done. A successful litigant does not need the delay and provision of a rehearing. He has more efficient and enduring relief. His affiction may be solaced by not enforcing the victory which is the cause of it. The contention of defendant in error is so obviously untenable that further comment upon it would be the veriest supererogation.

In support of the second ground it is pointed out that the judgment to which the writ of error is directed was rendered on a second appeal and that the court decided that the decision 'on the first appeal is the law of the case.' It is hence asserted that it was res adjudicata and precluded dispute, and that therefore the decision rested upon an independent ground, not involving a federal question, and broad enough to maintain the judgment. For this Northern Pacific Railroad Co. v. Ellis, 144 U. S. 458, 464, 12 Sup. Ct. 724, 36 L. Ed. 504, is cited. That case does not determine this one. That case was constrained by the law of the state; such constraint does not exist in the present case. The constitutional question involved was considered and decided. The prior ruling may have been followed as the law of the case, but there is a difference between such adherence and res adjudicata. One directs discretion: the other supersedes it and compels judgment. In other words, in one it is a question of power, in the other of submission. Remington v. Central Pacific Railroad Co., 198 U. S. 95, 99, 25 Sup. Ct. 577, 49 L. Ed. 959; Messinger v. Anderson, 225 U. S. 436, 444, 32 Sup. Ct. 739, 56 L. Ed. 1152. The court in the present case, as we have said, considered the constitutional question presented and decided against it, and to

Page 320

review its decision is the purpose of this writ of error. The motion to dismiss is denied.

The merits of the case are concerned with the validity of a statute of the state of Indiana passed in 1911 (Acts 1911, c. 183), providing for the presentation of claims for loss or...

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105 practice notes
  • Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., No. 81-2483
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 16, 1982
    ...distinguished from res judicata : "(O)ne directs discretion; the other supersedes it and compels judgment." Southern Railway Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319, 43 S.Ct. 126, 127, 67 L.Ed. 283 (1922). Accord, Connett v. City of Jerseyville, 110 F.2d 1015, 1018 (7th Cir. There are two distinct ......
  • State v. Woodruff, 29601
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 30, 1933
    ...been erroneous. Brewer v. Browning, 76 So. 267, 519, 115 Miss. 358; G. M. & N. v. Hardy, 117 So. 540, 151 Miss. 170; So. Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 67 L.Ed. 283; Messenger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 455, 56 L.Ed. 1156. A sale made on the wrong day is absolutely void. Mead v. Day, 54 Miss. 5......
  • In re Vernon-Williams, Case No.: 04-37223-DOT (Bankr. E.D.Va. 9/21/2007), Case No.: 04-37223-DOT.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Fourth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • September 21, 2007
    ...of the case "directs a court's discretion, it does not limit the tribunal's power." Arizona, 460 U.S. at 618. (citing S. Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319 (1922); Messenger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444 (1912)). While the doctrines of both the law of the case and res judicata speak to th......
  • Mendenhall v. Barber-Greene Co., BARBER-GREENE
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • June 8, 1994
    ...[law of the case] and res judicata; one directs discretion, the other supersedes it and compels judgment." Southern Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319, 43 S.Ct. 126, 127, 67 L.Ed. 283 (1922). See also Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618-19, 103 S.Ct. 1382, 1391-92, 75 L.Ed.2d 318 The ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
105 cases
  • Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., No. 81-2483
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 16, 1982
    ...distinguished from res judicata : "(O)ne directs discretion; the other supersedes it and compels judgment." Southern Railway Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319, 43 S.Ct. 126, 127, 67 L.Ed. 283 (1922). Accord, Connett v. City of Jerseyville, 110 F.2d 1015, 1018 (7th Cir. There are two distinct ......
  • State v. Woodruff, 29601
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 30, 1933
    ...been erroneous. Brewer v. Browning, 76 So. 267, 519, 115 Miss. 358; G. M. & N. v. Hardy, 117 So. 540, 151 Miss. 170; So. Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 67 L.Ed. 283; Messenger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 455, 56 L.Ed. 1156. A sale made on the wrong day is absolutely void. Mead v. Day, 54 Miss. 5......
  • In re Vernon-Williams, Case No.: 04-37223-DOT (Bankr. E.D.Va. 9/21/2007), Case No.: 04-37223-DOT.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Fourth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • September 21, 2007
    ...of the case "directs a court's discretion, it does not limit the tribunal's power." Arizona, 460 U.S. at 618. (citing S. Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319 (1922); Messenger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444 (1912)). While the doctrines of both the law of the case and res judicata speak to th......
  • Mendenhall v. Barber-Greene Co., BARBER-GREENE
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • June 8, 1994
    ...[law of the case] and res judicata; one directs discretion, the other supersedes it and compels judgment." Southern Ry. Co. v. Clift, 260 U.S. 316, 319, 43 S.Ct. 126, 127, 67 L.Ed. 283 (1922). See also Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618-19, 103 S.Ct. 1382, 1391-92, 75 L.Ed.2d 318 The ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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