The Courts of the United States Cannot be Made Mere Aids to a Commission of Inquiry Created by Congress: In the Matter of the Application of the Pacific Railway Commission for an Order Upon a Witness Before it to Answer Certain Interrogatories Propounded to Him

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In the matter of the application of the Pacific Railway Commission for an order upon a witness before it to answer certain interrogatories propounded to him, opinions of Mr. Justice Field, and Judges Sawyer and Sabin delivered in the U.S. Circuit Court at San Francisco, Aug. 29th, 1887.

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Page 8 - Commission (and produce books and papers if so ordered) and give evidence touching the matter in question ; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.
Page 8 - Any of the district courts of the United States within the jurisdiction of which such inquiry is carried on may, in case of contumacy or refusal...
Page 36 - ... is capable of acting on it. That power is capable of acting only when the subject is submitted to it by a party who asserts his rights in the form prescribed by law. It then becomes a case, and the constitution declares that the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States.
Page 45 - ... in the same manner and to the same extent and with the same effect as is provided in section one thousand five hundred seventy-eight of the Code of Civil Procedure with reference to mortgages of real property.
Page 33 - The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and such inferior Courts as Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish.
Page 7 - And in case of disobedience to a subpoena the commission may invoke the aid of any court of the United States in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence.
Page 36 - This clause enables the judicial department to receive jurisdiction to the full extent of the constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, when any question respecting them shall assume such a form that the judicial power is capable of acting on it.
Page 24 - of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books and papers f-oin the inspection and scrutiny of others. "Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.
Page 26 - Papers are the owner's goods and chattels: they are his dearest property; and are so far from enduring a seizure, that they will hardly bear an inspection ; and though the eye cannot by the laws of England be guilty of a trespass, yet where private papers are removed and carried away, the secret nature of those goods will be an aggravation of the trespass, and demand more considerable damages in that respect.
Page 48 - the United States cannot any more than a state interfere with private rights, except for legitimate governmental purposes. They are not included within the Constitutional prohibition which prevents States from passing laws, impairing the obligation of contracts, but equally with the states they are prohibited from depriving persons or corporations of property without due process of law.

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