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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte American Steel Barrel Co. & Seaman, 230 U.S. 35 (1913)

Ex Parte American Steel Barrel Co. and Seaman

No. 14, Original

Argued April 21, 1913

Decided June 16, 1913

230 U.S. 35


The proceeding to retire for personal bias or prejudice a trial judge of a United States court from further hearing a case of which he has jurisdiction had its origin in the new Judicial Code, § 21, and is only applicable in rare instances in which not merely adverse, but biased and prejudiced, rulings are shown and facts and reasons given.

Section 21 of the Judicial Code is not intended as a means for a discontented litigant ousting a judge because of adverse rulings, or as a method of paralyzing the action of a judge who has heard the case by disqualifying him between the hearing and the determination of the matter heard.

Page 230 U. S. 36

Quaere, and not decided, whether, under § 21, Judicial Code, any affidavit of bias and prejudice is sufficient, or whether the judge can pass upon its sufficiency.

The authority of a judge whose attempted designation under §§ 14 and 21 of the New Judicial Code is beyond the judicial power of the Senior Circuit Judge may be excepted to, and any order or decree made by him while acting under such designation may be reviewed in due course of law.

The writ of mandamus will be granted by this Court only when it is clear and indisputable that there is no other legal remedy.

Where a Senior Circuit Judge, in designating under § 14 of the Judicial Code a judge to act in place of one retired under § 21 of the Judicial Code, acts in the exercise of his legitimate jurisdiction, this Court cannot correct a mistake, if he makes one, by the writ of mandamus.

The facts, which involve the construction of § 21 of the Judicial Code of 1911 and the jurisdiction of this Court to issue writs of mandamus, are stated in the opinion.

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