ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, Brown, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.
A motion to dismiss the writ of error first requires our attention. It is urged that the writ should be dismissed because the bill of exceptions filed below and the certificate made as to the question of jurisdiction on this writ of error were authenticated by a judge other than the trial judge, and further, because the certificate was not made at the term in which the judgment complained of was entered. We are relieved, however, from the necessity of considering these objections, for the reason that the judgment of dismissal and the prior proceedings clearly exhibit the ground upon which the judgment was based, and plainly make apparent on the record the fact that the only matter tried and decided in the Circuit Court were demurrers to pleas to the jurisdiction, and that the petition upon which the writ of error was allowed asked only for the review of the judgment, which decided that the court had no jurisdiction of the action. This being the state of the record, no bill of exceptions or formal certificate in respect to the matter decided was required, and the question of jurisdiction alone was sufficiently certified to this court, as required by the act of March 3, 1891. 26 Stat. 826, 828, c. 517, sec. 5; Interior Construction & Improvement Company v. Gibney, 160 U.S. 217, and cases cited; Chappell v. United States, 160 U.S. 499, 507.
We pass then to a consideration of the merits. The plaintiffs in error insist that the Circuit Court for the Northern Division of the Northern District of Illinois had jurisdiction over the defendants, who, being citizens of Illinois, were residents of the Southern District of that State, because such jurisdiction was expressly conferred by section 740, Rev. Stat., and by the terms of a special act relating to the judicial districts
in Illinois, approved March 2, 1887. 24 Stat. 442. On the contrary, in effect, the defendants in error maintain that the court below rightly held that it had no jurisdiction over the defendants who resided in the Southern District of Illinois, because section 740 of the Revised Statutes had been repealed by the Judiciary Acts of March 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 470, and March 3, 1887, 24 Stat. 552, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888, 25 Stat. 433, and because no such jurisdiction was given by the special act of March 2, 1887, and if it was conferred by that act, the act was repealed by the Judiciary Act of March 3, 1887.
In order, as far as may be, to narrow the question for decision to the case before us, we shall come first to consider the contentions concerning jurisdiction, based on the special act of March 2, 1887, which deals alone with the State of Illinois, since, if we conclude that that act gave the jurisdiction and has not been repealed, we will be relieved of the necessity of determining whether the general provision (Rev. Stat. 740), applicable to all States having more than one judicial district, is yet in force.
In approaching the consideration of the special act relating to the Illinois districts we shall assume, for the purposes of such consideration, that the provisions of section 740, Rev. Stat., were repealed by any or all of the Judiciary Acts of March 3, 1875, and the act of March 3, 1887, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888.
In coming to consider the special act two questions arise: 1. Did the terms of that act give jurisdiction to the Circuit Courts of the United States in Illinois as to all the defendants in a civil action where there were two or more such defendants residing in different districts of the State? 2. If the act conferred such jurisdiction, was it repealed at the time of the bringing of the action?
First. The special act of March 2, 1887, was entitled, "An act to amend section 536 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, relating to the division of the State of Illinois into
judicial districts." At the time of the passage of this special act there were two judicial districts in the State of Illinois, the Northern and the Southern. The first section of the act took certain counties from the Southern District and added them to the Northern District. The second section divided the Northern District as enlarged into two divisions. The third section fixed the place and times of holding ...