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244 U.S. PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting.
v. Rigsby, 241 U. S. 33, 39); and it was doubtless because treble damages were to be allowed that an express authorization of suit at law was included in the act. Section 7.
The fourth section provides: "The several circuit courts of the United States are hereby invested with jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this act; and it shall be the duty of the several district attorneys of the United States, in their respective districts, under the direction of the Attorney-General, to institute proceedings in equity to prevent and restrain such violations,” etc. The act was designed to be highly remedial, so far as preventing restraints of trade and commerce is concerned, and the semi-colon in the sentence just quoted indicates, as I think, that the grant of jurisdiction was intended to be general, and that the following clause was intended to impose a special duty upon the district attorneys to resort to that jurisdiction whenever, in the discretion of the Attorney General, a public prosecution should seem to be called for.
Nor is the omission of an express declaration that persons threatened with special injury through violations of the act may have relief by injunction, of particular significance. Declarations of that character are rarely met with in the legislation of Congress.' The reason is not far to seek. By § 2 of Article III of the Constitution, the judicial power is made to extend to "all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States,” etc. This had the effect of adopting equitable remedies in all cases arising under the Consti
Section 16 of the so-called Clayton Act of October 15, 1914, c. 323, 38 Stat. 730, 737, contains such a provision; but this was inserted only because some of the federal courts had held-erroneously, as I thinkthat private parties could have no relief by injunction against threatened violations of the Sherman Act. These decisions will be discussed below.
PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting. 244 U. S.
tution and laws of the United States where such remedies are appropriate. The federal courts, in exercising their jurisdiction, are not limited to the remedies existing in the courts of the respective States, but are to grant relief in equity according to the principles and practice of the equity jurisdiction as established in England. Robinson v. Campbell, 3 Wheat. 212, 221, 223; United States v. Howland, 4 Wheat. 108, 115; Irvine v. Marshall, 20 How. 558, 565. In United States v. Detroit Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 339, the court, by Mr. Justice Brewer, declared: “It is a mistake to suppose that for the determination of equities and equitable rights we must look only to the statutes of Congress. The principles of equity exist independently of and anterior to all Congressional legislation, and the statutes are either annunciations of those principles or limitations upon their application in particular cases."
To speak accurately, it is not the statute that gives a right to relief in equity, but the fact that in the particular case the threatened effects of a continuing violation of the statute are such as only equitable process can prevent. The right to equitable relief does not depend upon the nature or source of the substantive right whose violation is threatened, but upon the consequences that will flow from its violation. As the court, by Mr. Justice Field, declared in Holland v. Challen, 110 U. S. 15, 25: “If the controversy be one in which a court of equity only can afford the relief prayed for, its jurisdiction is unaffected by the character of the questions involved."
To take a familiar example: The Constitution of the United States does not declare in terms that infringements of the rights thereby secured may be prevented by injunction. Ordinarily they may not be. It is only where a threatened infringement will produce injury and damage for which the law can afford no remedy-such, for instance, as irreparable and continuing damage, or a
244 U.S. PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting.
multiplicity of suits--that resort may be had to equity; and when this does appear, the right to an injunction arises because that is the only appropriate relief. Osborn v. United States Bank, 9 Wheat. 738, 838-845; Pennoyer v. McConnaughy, 140 U. S. 1, 12, 18; Fargo v. Hart, 193 U. S. 490, 503.
So, tax laws rarely, if ever, contain express authorization of an injunction to restrain illegal taxes. And a suit in equity will not lie on the mere ground that a tax is illegal. But if, in addition, enforcement of the tax would lead to a multiplicity of suits, or produce irreparable injury, or if the property taxed is real estate and the tax throws a cloud upon the title, equity will interfere by injunction. Dows v. City of Chicago, 11 Wall. 108, 112; Hannewinkle v. Georgetown, 15 Wall. 547; Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. Cheyenne, 113 U. S. 516, 525; Pacific Express Co. v. Seibert, 142 U. S. 339, 348; Ogden City v. Armstrong, 168 U. S. 224, 237; Ohio Tax Cases, 232 U. S. 576, 587.
The fact that the threatened invasion of plaintiffs' rights will amount at the same time to an offense against the criminal laws is no bar to relief by injunction at the instance of a private party. In re Debs, 158 U. S. 564, 593.
I find nothing in the letter or policy of the Sherman Act to exclude the application of the ordinary principles of equity, recognized in the constitutional grant of jurisdiction. Applying them to the facts of the present case, appellants are entitled to an injunction to restrain the threatened, continuing, and irreparable injury and damage that otherwise will result from defendants' violation of the act.
The special duty imposed upon the Attorney General and the district attorneys is not inconsistent with this view. The field to be covered by such public prosecutions, and the objects sought thereby, are quite different from the scope and effect of an injunction granted to a private party threatened with special and irreparable injury to
PITNEY, MCKENNA, and Van DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting. 244 U.S.
his property rights through a violation of the act. The proceeding by the district attorney is a kind of equitable quo warranto, calculated to bring the entire combination to an end, whether it be in the form of a corporation or otherwise. But there may be and are cases of direct and irreparable injury to private parties resulting from violations of the act, not capable of being redressed through actions at law under $7; and justice to the parties aggrieved requires that the act be construed, if the language admits of such a construction (and I think it does), so as to allow an injunction to prevent irreparable injury to a private party, otherwise remediless, without going to the extent of dissolving the combination altogether, which in some cases might not be a matter of public interest or importance. Unless so construied, the act must operate in many instances to deprive parties of a right of injunction that they would have had without it. So far at least as boycotting combinations are concerned—and this case is of that character—the act creates no new offense and gives no new right of action. Temperton v. Russell, 1893, 1 Q. B. Div. 715; Quinn v. Leathem, 1901, A. C. 495; Barr v. Essex Trades Council, 53 N. J. Eq. 101, 112-121; Jonas Glass Co. v. Glass Bottle Blowers' Assn., 77 N. J. Eq. 219, 225.
I find no controlling decision in this court. Minnesota v. Northern Securities Co., 194 U. S. 48, 71, is not an authority against the right of complainants to an injunction to prevent special and irreparable damage to their property rights through a violation of the Sherman Act; the effect of that decision being merely to deny relief by injunction to individuals not directly and specially injured. There the State of Minnesota sued in one of its own courts under certain statutes of its own, as well as under the Sherman Act, and the case was removed to the United States Circuit Court as being one arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States. The purpose of
244 U.S. PITNEY, MCKENNA, and Van DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting.
the suit was to annul an agreement and suppress a combination alleged to exist between the defendant railroad corporations; and the only threatened injury because of which an injunction was prayed was that the State, being the owner of large tracts of land whose value depended upon free and open competition over the lines of railway involved in the combination, and being the owner of certain public institutions whose supplies must of necessity be shipped over the same railways, it was alleged that the successful maintenance of these institutions as well as the performance by the State of its governmental functions depended largely upon the value of real and personal property situate within the State and the general prosperity and business success of its citizens, and that these in turn depended upon maintaining free and unrestricted competition between the railway lines involved. The court, by Mr. Justice Harlan, said (p. 70) that the threatened injury was at most only remote and indirect, and such as would come alike, although in different degrees, to every individual owner of property in a State by reason of the suppression of free competition between interstate carriers, and was “not such a direct, actual injury as that provided for in the seventh section of the statute"; and that upon the view contended for, "every individual owner of property in a State may, upon like general grounds, by an original suit, irrespective of any direct or special injury to him (italics mine), invoke the original jurisdiction of a Circuit Court of the United States, to restrain and prevent violations of the Anti-trust Act of Congress.” It was said further (p. 71): “Taking all the sections of that act together, we think that its intention was to limit direct proceedings in equity to prevent and restrain such violations of the Anti-trust Act as cause injury to the general public, or to all alike, merely from the suppression of competition in trade and commerce among the several States and with foreign nations, to those instituted