CHANUTE CITY V. TRADER, 132 U. S. 210 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chanute City v. Trader, 132 U.S. 210 (1889)

Chanute City v. Trader

No. 1509

Argued November 17, 1889

Decided November 25, 1889

132 U.S. 210


A judgment for damages and costs was recovered is a circuit court of the United States, on bonds and coupons issued by a municipal corporation. In answer to an alternative writ of mandamus issued three and one-half years afterwards for the levy of a tax to satisfy the judgment, it was set up in bar that the original judgment was void because the circuit court had no jurisdiction of the subject matter of the action on the

Page 132 U. S. 211

ground that the bonds were not payable to order or bearer. A peremptory writ was granted by a judgment, to review which a writ of error was taken. A motion to dismiss the writ was made, united with a motion to affirm.


(1) Although there was no ground for contending that this Court had no jurisdiction, yet the reasons assigned for taking the writ of error were frivolous, and it was taken for delay only.

(2) The principal of the bonds was payable to bearer.

(3) The judgment ought to be affirmed.

(4) The proceeding by mandamus being in the nature of execution, if the prosecution of writs of error to the execution of process to enforce judgments were permitted when no real ground existed therefor, such interference might become intolerable, and this Court in the exercise of its inherent power and duty to administer justice ought, independently of subdivision 6 of Rule 6, to reach the mischief by affirming the action below.

(5) No different interpretation is put on that subdivision from that which has hitherto prevailed.

The plaintiff in error moved the court

"to grant such order, writ or mandate as may be fit and proper to secure to plaintiff in error a stay of the peremptory writ of mandamus heretofore issued by the court below, and to secure plaintiff in error the supersedeas to which plaintiff in error is entitled under the statute."

The defendant in error moved to dismiss the writ of error under Rule 6, and to affirm the judgment below. The two motions were heard together. The case is stated in the opinion.

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