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U.S. Supreme Court

Union Trust Co. of St. Louis v. Westhus, 228 U.S. 519 (1913)

Union Trust Co. of St. Louis v. Westhus

No. 4

Argued November 8, 11, 1912

Decided May 5, 1913

228 U.S. 519


By the distribution of power made by the Circuit Court of Appeals Act of 1891, and now embodied in the Judicial Code of 1911, this Court has no jurisdiction to review a judgment or decree of the circuit court of appeals otherwise than by proceedings addressed directly to that court in a cause which is susceptible of being renewed.

That which can only be done by direct action cannot be done by indirection.

In a case in which on the original pleadings the judgment of the circuit court of appeals would not have been reviewable by this Court, plaintiff recovered in the circuit court and on appeal the circuit court of appeals reversed and remanded for new trial, with an opinion adverse to all of plaintiff's contentions; plaintiff in the Circuit Court amended by adding an allegation denying due process of law, and elected not to plead further after demurrer sustained and took a direct writ of error to this Court basing it on the constitutional question, and claiming that in this Court all other questions could also be passed on.

Held that this Court will not in this indirect manner attempt to review a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which it otherwise has not jurisdiction to review.

This Court is scrupulous to keep within its jurisdiction, and if the record does not show that the circuit court of appeals has already passed on questions in the case, it will order the deficiency supplied by directing the court below to certify all the papers in the case.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court directly to review the judgment of the circuit court, are stated in the opinion.

Page 228 U. S. 520

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