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ing a beneficial interest in sustaining or defeating a bill, no court should interfere by mandamus to correct the record of a legislative body.11 The Governor of a State cannot be compelled by mandamus to return a fugitive from labor or justice.12
The writ of mandamus issues to compel a party to do that which it is his duty to do without it. It confers no new authority, and the party to be coerced must have the power to perform the act.13 There are cases in which the writ of mandamus will not be issued to compel the performance of even a purely ministerial act. “In a case, for instance, where the intention of the officer, though acting within the scope of his duty, had been frustrated by a clerical mistake." 14
$ 458. Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia to issue a writ of mandamus to an officer of the United States. The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia has the power to issue the writ of mandamus, to an officer of the United States or other person within its territorial jurisdiction in cases in which the relator is by common law entitled to seek relief. The writ will not issue in a case where its effect would be to direct or control the head of an executive department in the exercise of judgment or discretion, even when in the exercise of his discretion the officer has been called upon to interpret several statutes of doubtful meaning and he has made' an erroneous interpretation of these; 2 but when the officer refuses to act
Kendall v. Stokes, 3 How. 87, 11 L. ed. 506; Com'r of Patents v. Whiteley, 4 Wall. 522, 18 L. ed. 335; U. S. ex rel. Miller v. Black, 128 U. S. 40, 50, 32 L. ed. 354, 358; U. S. ex rel. Red field v. Windom, 137 U. S. 636, 34 L. ed. 811; U. Ş. ex rel. Boynton V. Blaine, 139 U. S. 306, 35 L, ed. 183; Roberts v, U. S., 176 U. S. 221, 44 L. ed. 443; U. S. ex rel. Riverside Oil Co. v. Hitchcock, 190 U. S. 316, 47 L. ed. 1074.
12 Kentucky v. Dennison, 24 How. 66, 16 L. ed. 717.
13 U. S. ex rel. Boynton v. Blaine, 139 U. S. 306, 319, 35 L. ed. 183, 187; Brownsville v. Loague, 129 U. S. 493, 501, 32 L. ed. 780, 783.
14 U. S. ex rel. Redfield v. Windom, 137 U. S. 636, 644, 34 L. ed. 811, 814, per Lamar, J., citing U. S. v. Schurz, 102 U. S. 378, 26 L. ed. 167.
$ 458. 19 St. at L. 253; U. S. v. Schurz, 102 U. S. 378, 394, 26 L. ed. 167, 171; Kendall v. U. S., 12 Pet. 524, 9 L. ed. 1181; Decatur v. Paulding, 14 Pet. 497, 10 L. ed. 559;
2 Congress on March 3, 1837, passed an act giving a pension to the widow of any officer who had died in the naval service. On the same day Congress passed a resolu. tion granting a pension to the widow
of Stephen Decatur for a certain Guthrie, 17 How. 284, 305, 15 L. period of time. Mrs. Decatur ap- ed. 102, 106. But upon a writ plied for and received her pension of error to the Supreme Court of under the general law, with a reser- the Territory of New Mexico it was vation of her rights under the resolu held that in case of a disputed élection, claiming the special pensiontion to a municipal offiec, mandamus granted by that as well. The Secre. may issue to compel the recognition tary of the Navy, acting under the by another municipal officer of the opinion of the Attorney General, de- de facto officer, whose title is discided that she could not have both. puted, until the rights of the parUpon her application for a manda ties can be determined on quo warmus to compel the Secretary to ranto. Re Delgado, 140 U. S. 586, grant her a special pension, the writ 590, 35 L. ed. 578, 580. Mitchell was denied. Decatur v. Paulding, 14 furnished material and performed Pet. 497, 515, 516, 10 L. ed. 559, labor for the United States under a 568, 569, per Taney, C. J. An appli contract; and when the work was cation for a mandamus against the done and the materials furnished Secretary of the Navy, by a comman- he presented his account to the der in the navy of the Republic of proper office for adjustment and Texas, for pay alleged to be due settlement. The balance was found him from the United States since to be correct so far as the labor the annexation of Texas under the and material were concerned, but joint resolutions for annexation of it was also found that through penTexas, was denied. Brashear v. alties and forfeitures that balance Mason, 6 How. 92, 12 L. ed. 357. So was liable to be materially reduced. was an application for the writ to It also appeared that Mitchell was compel the Secretary of the Navy indebted to contractors and others to accept the highest bid for a con- in a large amount for work done demned vessel. U. S. ex rel. Gold- and materials furnished under the berg v. Daniels, 231 U. S. 218. contract. The Treasury officials
An application for a mandamus agreed with Mitchell that this acto the Secretary of the Treasury to count should be adjusted, if he compel the payment of a salary to would consent that his said in. a Territorial judge for the unex- debtedness should be paid out of pired term of his office, from which the sums allowed, and that the conhe claimed that he had been im- trol of the money should not be giv. properly removed by the President, en up until those claims were satwas denied. U. S. ex rel. Good isfied. He assented, and a draft rich v. Guthrie, 17 How. 284, 303, was prepared accordingly. Mitchell 305, 15 L. ed. 102, 105, 106.
failed to satisfy the claims, and The writ of mandamus to the the assignee of his claim to the Secretary of the Treasury is not a draft applied for a mandamus to legal remedy to try the title of compel the Secretary of the Treasthe relator to an office claimed by ury to deliver the draft to him behim. U. S. ex rel. Goodrich v. fore he had made the agreed pay.
ments; but the application was de nied. U. S. ex rel. Redfield v. Windom, 137 U. S. 636, 34 L. ed. 811.
The writ was denied when prayed to compel the Secretary of the Treasury to collect a different rate of duty upon a certain import from that which he had determined to be lawful. Louisiana v. McAdoo, 234 U. S. 627.
An application for a mandamus to compel the Commissioner of Patents to refer an application for a reissue, which he had decided did not come within the statute, to "the proper, examiner, or otherwise ex amine or cause the same to be examined according to law,'' was de nied. Com 'r of Patents v. Whiteley, 4 Wall. 522, 18 L. ed. 335. The writ was denied when asked to compel the Commissioner of Patents to declare an interference at the request of the junior applicant for a patent. Ewing v. U. S., 244 U. S.
was required, an application for a writ of mandamus will be refused. U. S. v. Commissioner, 5 Wall. 563, 565, 18 L. ed. 692, 693; U. S. ex rel. Riverside Oil Co. v. Hitchcock, 190 U. S. 316; U. S. ex rel. Alaska Smokeless Coal Co. v. Lane, 250 U. S. 549. There the writ was sought to require the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the General Land Office to issue a patent which had been denied because the Secretary had decided that work done was for prospecting purposes and not for the purpose of opening a mine.
The writ will not issue to review the decision of the Secretary of the Interior as to the practice to be pursued in making applications for land patents. U. S. ex rel. Ness v. Fisher, 223 U. S. 683, 56 L. ed. 610. Nor to require the Secretary of the Interior to approve the selection of land allotted to such tribe, by one who claimed to be an adopted member of the same, in a case where the Secretary was of the opinion that the applicant had not been duly adopted. U. S. ex rel. West v. Hitchcock, 205 U. S. 80, 51 L. ed. 718. Nor to review his decision reopening because of newly discovered evidence or fraud a previous administrative order concerning the succession to an Indian allotment while the property was still under liis administrative control. Lane . l'. S., 241 U. S. 201.
Where the Secretary of the Interior had granted a land patent in pursuance of an act of Congress, it was held that the courts could mot review his proceedings by manda
Neither an injunction will issue to prevent, nor a mandamus issue to compel, the cancellation of an entry in the Land Office under which a claim is made to lands. Gaines v. Thompson, 7 Wall. 347, 19 L. ed. 62. See also Sioux City & St. P. R. Co. v. U. S., 36 Fed. 610, 612.
Where the Commissioner of the Land Office or the Secretary of the Interior has decided that a pat. ent should not issue, in a case where numerous questions of law and fact arose, some of them depending upon circumstances which rested upon parol proof, and where the exercise of judicial functions, some of them of a high character,
at all in a case where he is bound to act, 3 or when by special statute or otherwise a purely ministerial duty, which he is bound to perform without question, is imposed upon a public officer, even the head of an Executive Department, a mandamus may be issued to compel him to do such duty, if there is no other adequate remedy.4 A mandamus may issue to compel the Treas
mus upon the application of a claim ant to the land who contended that
the statute was unconstitutional. · Re Emblen, 161 U. S. 52, 40 L. ed. 613. Where the Commissioner of Pensions had decided upon an ap plication for an increase of a pen sion, that the applicant was not entitled to the same, and this deci. sion was confirmed by the Secretary of the Interior, as evidenced by his signature of the certificate given to the pensioner, it was held that no mandamus would issue to compel an increase of the pension. U. S. ex rel. Dunlap v. Black, 128 U. S. 40, 48, 32 L. ed. 354, 357. An application for a mandamus to compel the Secretary of State to pay a certain award under the Mexican Claims Commission, under the act of June 18, 1878, was de nied. U. S. ex rel. Boynton v. Blaine, 139 U. S. 306, 35 L. ed. 183. See also U. S. ex rel. Angarica v. Bayard. 127 U. S. 251, 259, 32 L. ed. 159, 162; Frelinghuysen v. Key, 110 U. S. 63, 28 L. ed. 71. See also U. S. ex rel. International Contracting Co. v. Lamont, 155 U. S. 303, 39 L. ed. 160; U. S. ex rel. Mutual Messenger Co. v. Wright, 15 App. D. C. 463.
3 U. S. ex rel. Dunlap v. Black, 128 U. S. 40, 48, 32 L. ed. 354, 357; U. S. v. Schurz, 102 U. S. 378, 26 L. ed. 167; U. S. ex rel. Redfield v. Windom, 137 U. S. 636, 644, 34 L. ed. 811, 814; U. S. ex rel. Boyn.
ton v. Blaine, 139 U. S. 306, 319, . 35 L. ed. 183, 187; U. S. v. Lamar, 116 U. S. 423, 29 L. ed. 677; infra, . note 4.
4 Stockton & Stokes, mail contractors, had certain claims against the government for extra services, which they insisted should be granted in their accounts, and a controversy arose as to this between them and the Post-office Department. Congress passed an act for their relief; by which the Solicitor of the Treasury was authorized and directed to settle and adjust their claims, and make them such allowances as upon full examination of all the evidence might seem to be equitable and right; and the Postmaster-General was directed to credit them with whatever sums the Solicitor should decide to be due them. The Solicitor, after investigation, made his report, and stated the sums due to Stockton & Stokes on the claims made by them, but the Postmaster-General refused to give them credit as directed by the law. This, the court held he could be compelled to do by a mandamus, because it was simply a ministerial duty to be performed, and not an official act requiring any exercise of judgment or discretion. Kendall v. U. S. ex rel. Stokes, 12 Pet. 524, 613, 614, 9 L. ed. 1181, 1216, 1217.
McBride claimed a patent for land under a right of pre-emption. The regular proceedings had taken
place in the Department of the Interior; the right of the applicant had been affirmed; the patent had been made out in the Land Office, signed by the President, sealed with the Land Office seal, counter-signed by the Recorder of the Land Office, recorded in the proper book, and transmitted to the local land officers for delivery; but delivery had been refused, because instructions had been received from the Commissioner to return the patent. Upon an application for a mandamus, the defense was that it had been discovered that the land belonged to a town site. The court held that this defense was insufficient; that the title had passed to the applicant; that he was entitled to the patent subject to any equity which other parties might have to the land, or subject to a proceeding to set the patent aside; and that the duty of the Commissioner and of the Secretary of the Interior had become a mere ministerial duty to deliver the instrument. A mandamus was granted accordingly. U. S. v. Schurz, 102 U. S. 407, 26 L. ed. 175.
Upon an application for a patent in the case of interference, the Commissioner of patents had decided in favor of Gill, and adjudged that a patent should issue to his assigns accordingly. An appeal was taken to the Secretary of the Interior, and he reversed the decision of the Commissioner. The latter for that reason refused to issue a patent. Upon an application for a mandamus, the Supreme Court held that no appeal lay from the decision of the Commissioner to the Secretary
of the Interior; that "the latter officer had no jurisdiction in the matter;" that the patent ought to be issued to Gill's assigns in accordance with the decision of the Commissioner. A mandamus to compel the issue of such a patent was granted accordingly. Butterworth v. Hoe, 112 U. S. 50, 28 L. ed. 656. The Commissioner of Pensions had refused to grant an application for an increase of a pension. The applicant appealed to the Secretary of the Interior, who overruled the decision of the Commissioner, and held that the applicant was entitled to an increase of his pension. The Commissioner refused to carry out the Secretary's decision and to grant the increase requested. It was held that the Commissioner could be compelled by a mandamus to grant the increase of the pension for which the application had been made, in accordance with the deci. sion of the Secretary of the Interior. U. S. ex rel. Dunlap v. Black, 128 U. S. 40, 50, 52, 32 L. ed. 354, 358, 359, per Bradley, J. See also U. S. ex rel. Hufty y. Trimble, 14 App. D. C. 414. The writ of mandamus was granted to compel the Secretary of the Interior to erase the marks and notations, made by his predecessor, striking the name of the relator from the enrollment of an Indian nation. Garfield v. U. S. ex rel. Goldsby, 211 U. S. 249, 53 L. ed. 168. The writ has been issued to compel the Secretary of the Interior to cause a patent to be issued upon a homestead entry, when no contest or protest proceed. ing had been initiated and no departmental order made for the pur