SMITH V. APPLE, 264 U. S. 274 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Smith v. Apple, 264 U.S. 274 (1924)

Smith v. Apple

No. 124

Argued January 2, 1924

Decided March 3, 1924

264 U.S. 274


1. Where a district court dismisses a suit upon the specific ground of want of jurisdiction, this Court, upon a sufficient certificate, acquires jurisdiction of a direct appeal, and whatever the reason assigned by the district court for the supposed want of jurisdiction must determine whether that court had and should have exercised the jurisdiction thus denied. P. 264 U. S. 277.

2. But where a decree of the district court does not purport to be based upon a question of its jurisdiction, a subsequent certificate characterizing the ground of decision as one involving a question of jurisdiction does not authorize this Court to entertain the appeal unless the question certified presents an issue as to "the jurisdiction of the court" within the meaning of Jud.Code § 238. Id.

3. The question whether, in a suit in equity, the plaintiff is prevented by Jud.Code § 265 from obtaining an injunction staying proceedings in a state court does not present an issue as to the jurisdiction of the district court within the meaning of § 238, but one of the equity or merits of the case. Id.

Page 264 U. S. 275

4. Section 265 of the Code is not a jurisdictional statute, but a mere limitation upon the general equity powers of the federal courts, preventing relief by injunction in the cases covered by it. P. 264 U. S. 278.

5. An appeal from the district court, involving only the merits but mistakenly brought here as involving only that court's jurisdiction, will be transferred to the circuit court of appeals under the Transfer Act of September 14, 1922, Jud.Code § 238a. P. 264 U. S. 280.

Case transferred to circuit court of appeals.

Direct appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing, for want of jurisdiction, a suit to enjoin enforcement of judgments recovered by the defendant in a state court.

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