« AnteriorContinuar »
to railroad aid bonds, following the judgment of a competent court of that state that the provision of the Constitution of Missouri, adopted in 1865, limiting the power to vote railroad aid, did not affect corporations previously created by special charter; but the court of appeals, in 82 N. Y. 218, did not agree with the general term on this point, and held that the validity of the act in question had not been sustained by the courts of Missouri, and was invalid under its Constitution.
Chancellor Kent, in Livingston v. Tompkins (1820) 4 Johns. Ch. 430, declined to consider the validity of a statute of New Jersey, observing that the constitutionality of that act was not a proper subject of discussion in that case. “That question belongs, in the first instance, to the courts of that state, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of the United States."
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
Accused, rights of.—The provision in the 6th Amendment of the Federal Constitution, that the accused shall be confronted with the witnesses against him, applies only to citizens of the United States on trial in the Federal courts, charged with a violation of the Constitution of the United States or laws of Congress. People v. Penhollow (1886) 42 Hun, 103.
Attainder.—The provision of the public health law, $ 140, making it a misdemeanor for a person to practise medicine who had ever been convicted of felony, is not an act of attainder under article 1, § 10, of the Federal Constitution. People v. Hawker (1897) 152 N. Y. 234, 240, 46 N. E. 607.
Bankruptcy.—The voluntary branch of the Federal bankruptcy law, passed August 19, 1841, was within the power of Congress, and therefore constitutional. Kunzler v. Kohaus (1843) 5 Hill, 317. See also Sackett v. Andross (1843) 5 Hill, 327; Dresser v. Brooks (1848) 3 Barb. 429; McCormick v. Pickering (1850) 4 N. Y. 276.
Bills of credit.-Bills of credit under the provision of the Federal Constitution, article 1, § 10, subd. 1, include paper designed to circulate as money, or answering the ordinary purposes of coin. Indiana v. Woram (1843) 6 Hill, 33, 40 Am. Dec. 378.
Certificates issued under a law of the state of Missouri, for service rendered by members of the militia of that state, are not bills of credit within the provision of the Federal Constitution, article 1, $ 10, prohibiting states from emitting them. People v. Brie (1887) 43 Hun, 317, affirmed in (1887) 105 N. Y. 618.
Common carriers.-Congress has power to enact legislation designed to secure the safety of passengers on steam vessels, and to give to them a remedy by action against the carrier for injuries resulting from his violation of the law designed for their protection. Carroll v. Staten Island R. Co. (1874) 58 N. Y. 126, 17 Am. Rep. 221.
Construction by state courts.—The Federal courts will be governed by the construction given to a state law by the courts thereof, in the absence of any objection that the act is repugnant to the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. Barker v. Jackson (1826) 1 Paine, 559, Fed. Cas. No. 989.
Corporations.-Congress has power to alter or amend the charter of ac orporation created by it, even to the disadvantage of such corporation, especially where the right of amendment has been reserved in the act of incorporation. Brewer v. Union P. R. Co. (1884) 31 Hun, 545, (1886) 101 N. Y. 647.
Crimes.—The Federal Constitution does not regulate the punishment of crimes against the state. Barker v. People (1824) 3 Cow. 686.
It was not the purpose of the 14th Amendment to interfere with the ordinary administration of justice by the courts of a state, nor to affect their jurisdiction over crimes and offenses defined and declared by its laws, and committed within its territorial jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over crimes, with some exceptions, is a state, and not a Federal, jurisdiction. The 14th Amendment confers upon the courts of the United States no jurisdiction to supervise the administration by the state tribunals of the criminal law of the state, or to correct errors, or to modify or change their judgments.
Errors. in procedure must be corrected, if at all, by the state courts. “The extent or limitations of the new jurisdiction devolved on the United States courts under the 14th Amendment has not yet been fully ascertained or adjudged, but the Supreme Court of the United States has steadily and in repeated instances disclaimed jurisdiction under it to review errors assigned on trials in state courts, or to constitute itself a general court of review.” Re Buchanan (1895) 146 N. Y. 264, 271, 40 N. E. 883.
Due process.—The provision of the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution, that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, was held to have been violated by the proceedings in an action in Vermont, in which an attachment was issued against property of a nonresident, but in which no notice of attachment was given to him. People v. Duane (1890) 121 N. Y. 367, 24 N. E. 845.
Faith and credit.-The requirement that full faith and credit must be given to the judgments of the courts of another state does not prevent a court in this state from determining whether such other court had jurisdiction of the subject-matter and of the persons of the parties. A judgment without such jurisdiction is a nullity. The record is not conclusive. Noyes v. Butler (1849) 6 Barb. 613; Kerr v. Kerr (1869) 41 N. Y. 272; Re Norwood (1884) 32 Hun, 196; Smith v. Central Trust Co. (1897) 154 N. Y. 333, 48 N. E. 553; Atherton v. Atherton (1898) 155 N. Y. 129, 40 L. R. A. 291, 63 Am. St. Rep. 650, 49 N. E. 933; Martin v. Central Vermont R. Co. (1888) 50 Hun, 347, 3 N. Y. Supp. 82; Ward v. Boyce (1897) 152 N. Y. 191, 36 L. R. A. 549, 46 N. E. 180.
The effect of the faith and credit clause in the Federal Constitution is not impaired by holding that it does not apply to a divorce granted in another state, where both parties were residents of this state, and the defendant was not personally served with process, and did not appear in the action. “The Constitution did not mean to confer a new power or jurisdiction, but simply to regulate the effect of the acknowledged jurisdiction over persons and things within the state." Hoffman v. Hoffman (1871) 46 N. Y. 30, 33, 7 Am. Rep. 299.
The faith and credit clause does not apply to the disqualifications as a witness in consequence of a judgment of conviction in another state. Such disqualifications are wholly a subject of state regulation. The New York statute (2 Rev. Stat. 701, § 23 [2 Edm. $ 23, P. 724]) disqualifying a person as a witness upon conviction of a felony relates only to convictions in the state. Sims v. Sims (1878) 75 N. Y. 466.
The faith and credit clause does not apply to the status of persons sustaining to each other the relation of parent and child, whether such relation is a natural one or is established by state law; and such relationship can have no extraterritorial effect. Each state is the sole judge of the consequences of such relationship, and may regulate the descent and inheritance of property. Miller v. Miller (1879) 18 Hun, 507.
The clause applies only to final judgments, and not to provisions for alimony, which are subject to a further order of the court. The courts of this state will not give effect to such foreign judgment by enforcing collateral remedies. Lynde v. Lynde (1900) 162 N. Y. 405, 48 L. R. A. 679, 76 Am. St. Rep. 332, 56 N. E. 979.
This subject was considered in Commercial Pub. Co. v. Beckwith (1903) 188 U. S. 567, 47 L. ed. 598, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 382
The general purpose of the constitutional provision relating to faith and credit appears to be "to introduce uniformity in the rules of proof, to prescribe the effect of such proof or authentication, and to attribute to foreign judgments positive and absolute verity, so that they cannot be contradicted or the truth of them denied, any more than in the state where they originated.'” The provision of the New York Code of Civil Procedure, 8 1780, limiting the right of a foreign corporation to sue another foreign corporation in this state to cases where the cause of action arose in this state, does not authorize an action here upon a judgment rendered in another state. The restriction in the Code does not violate the faith and credit clause of the Federal Constitution. Anglo-American Provision Co. v. Davis Provision Co. (1902) 169 N. Y. 506, 88 Am. St. Rep. 608, 62 N. E. 587, affirmed in (1903) 191 U. S. 373, 48 L. ed. 225, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 92.
Federal Constitution supreme.-If a provision in a state Constitution is in conflict with any of the provisions of the Federal Constitution, it must fail; for within its sphere of operation that instrument is supreme, and no more by constitutional provisions than by legislation can the states of the Union override its prohibitions. Re Tuthill (1900) 163 N. Y. 133, 49 L. R. A. 781, 79 Am. St. Rep. 574, 57 N. E. 303.
Fugitives from justice.—Under the provision of the Federal Constitution relating to fugitives from justice, article 4, § 2, subd. 2, a warrant by the governor for the arrest of such a fugitive, which contains a recital of the required facts, is, without other proof, a sufficient justification for holding the prisoner on habeas corpus. People ex rel. Draper v. Pinkerton (1879) 77 N. Y. 245.
Under the Federal Constitution, article 4, § 2, relating to interstate extradition of fugitives from justice, a person arrested and surrendered on one charge may be indicted and tried for another; but authorities are cited to show that a fugitive from justice, surrendered on a specific charge, by a foreign nation, in pursuance of a treaty, cannot be tried for another offense. People ex rel. Post v. Cross (1892) 64 Hun, 348, 19 N. Y. Supp. 271, affirmed by court of appeals, (1892) 135 N. Y. 536, 31 Am. St. Rep. 850, 32 N. E. 246; United States v. Rauscher (1886) 119 U. S. 407, 30 L. ed. 425, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 234.
Fugitive slaves.—The fugitive slave provision of the Federal Constitution, article 4, § 2, subd. 3, applied only to fugitives, and a slave would be free if the master voluntarily brought him into a free state for any purpose of his own. The Federal convention
evidently framed the provision upon the principle that the escape of a slave from a state in which he was lawfully held to service, into one which had abolished slavery, would, ipso facto, transform him into a free man. A slave who, in 1852, came into this state with his master, not as a fugitive, was adjudged to be free by operation of the provisions of the Revised Statutes relating to slavery. Lemmon v. People (1860) 20 N. Y. 562. This subject is also considered under the head of “Slaves,” in the note on "Legislative Power,” article 3, $ 1.
Hudson river.-The people of the state of New York, as the successors of their former sovereign, were, by the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, invested with all the prerogative rights of the King of England, and the state thereby became the owner of the soil under the waters of the Hudson river, below highwater mark, as far up as the tide ebbs and flows, and it also became vested with the absolute control over the river, and by valid legislation might exercise all the power which could have been exerted by the King previous to the American Revolution; but, on the ratification by New York of the Federal Constitution, containing the clause, article 1, § 8, subd. 3, that "Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states," the state yielded and granted to Congress the power to regulate commerce and navigation upon the waters of the Hudson river, but it surrendered nothing more. The United States did not thereby acquire any proprietary or territorial rights, but only the use of the water, and the right of the state as the owner of the soil was in no way diminished. Rumsey v. New York & N. E. R. Co. (1892) 63 Hun, 200, 206, 17 N. Y. Supp. 672.
Involuntary servitude.—The application of the 13th Amendment prohibiting involuntary servitude was considered in connection with one of the Van Rensselaer leases which required certain personal service to be performed by the lessee, and the court say that the amendment does not "embrace contract service of any description.
. . Such service is never involuntary. The party may at any time renounce it. It is connected with the enjoyment of property, and by refusing to accept or enjoy the property, the party may at all times escape the personal servitude.” Tyler v. Heidorn (1866) 46 Barb. 439.
Jurisdiction of courts.—The jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution on a Federal court in an action by a state against a citizen of another state is not exclusive, but such an action may be main