« 이전계속 »
This decision was reaffirmed in Prout v. Starr, 188 U. S. 537, 542.
Attention is also directed to the case of Missouri &c. Rwy. Co. v. Missouri R. R. &c. Commissioners, 183 U. S. 53. That was a suit brought in a state court of Missouri by the railroad commissioners of the State, who had the powers granted them by the statutes set forth in the report. Their suit was against the railway company to compel it to discontinue certain charges it was making for crossing the Boonville bridge over the Missouri River. The defendant sought to remove the case to the Federal court, which the plaintiffs resisted, and the state court refused to remove on the ground that the real plaintiff was the State of Missouri, and it was proper to go behind the face of the record to determine that fact. In regular manner the case came here, and this court held that the State was not the real party plaintiff, and the case had therefore been properly removed from the state court, whose judgment was thereupon reversed.
Applying the same principles of construction to the removal act which had been applied to the Eleventh Amendment, it was said by this court that the State might be the real party plaintiff when the relief sought enures to it alone, and in whosefavor the judgment or decree, if for the plaintiff, will effectively operate.
Although the case is one arising under the removal act and does not involve the Eleventh Amendment, it nevertheless illustrates the question now before us, and reiterates the doctrine that the State is not a party to a suit simply because the State Railroad Commission is such party.
The doctrine of Smyth v. Ames is also referred to and reiterated in Gunter, Attorney General, v. Atlantic &c. Railroad Co., 200 U. S. 273, 283. See also McNeill v. Southern Railway, 202 U. S. 543–559; Mississippi Railroad Commission v. Illinois &c. Railroad Co., 203 U. S. 335, 340.
The various authorities we have referred to furnish ample justification for the assertion that individuals, who, as officers
of the State, are clothed with some duty in regard to the enforcement of the laws of the State, and who threaten and are about to commence proceedings, either of a civil or criminal nature, to enforce against parties affected an unconstitutional act, violating the Federal Constitution, may be enjoined by a Federal court of equity from such action.
It is objected, however, that Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U. S. 516, has somewhat limited this principle, and that, upon the authority of that case, it must be held that the State was a party to the suit in the United States Circuit Court, and the bill should have been dismissed as to the Attorney General on that ground.
We do not think such contention is well founded. The doctrine of Smyth v. Ames was neither overruled nor doubted in the Fitts case. In that case the Alabama legislature, by the act of 1895, fixed the tolls to be charged for crossing the bridge. The penalties for disobeying that act, by demanding and receiving higher tolls, were to be collected by the persons paying them. No officer of the State had any official connection with the recovery of such penalties. The indictments mentioned were found under another state statute, set forth at page 520 of the report of the case, which provided a fine against an officer of a company for taking any greater rate of toll than was authorized by its charter, or, if the charter did not specify the amount, then the fine was imposed for charging any unreasonable toll, to be determined by a jury. This act was not claimed to be unconstitutional, and the indictments found under it were not necessarily connected with the alleged unconstitutional act fixing the tolls. As no state officer who was made a party bore any close official connection with the act fixing the tolls, the making of such officer a party defendant was a simple effort to test the constitutionality of such act in that way, and there is no principle upon which it could be done. A state superintendent of schools might as well have been made a party. In the light of this fact it was said in the opinion (page 530):
"In the present case, as we have said, neither of the State officers named held any special relation to the particular statute alleged to be unconstitutional. They were not expressly directed to see to its enforcement. If, because they were law officers of the State, a case could be made for the purpose of testing the constitutionality of the statute, by an injunction suit brought against them, then the constitutionality of every act passed by the legislature could be tested by a suit against the governor and the attorney general, based upon the theory that the former, as the executive of the State was, in a general sense, charged with the execution of all its laws, and the latter, as attorney general, might represent the State in litigation involving the enforcement of its statutes. That would be a very convenient way for obtaining a speedy judicial determination of questions of constitutional law which may be raised by individuals, but it is a mode which cannot be applied to the States of the Union consistently with the fundamental principle that they cannot, without their assent, be brought into any court at the suit of private persons."
In making an officer of the State a party defendant in a suit to enjoin the enforcement of an act alleged to be unconstitutional it is plain that such officer must have some connection with the enforcement of the act, or else it is merely making him a party as a representative of the State, and thereby attempting to make the State a party.
It has not, however, been held that it was necessary that such duty should be declared in the same act which is to be cnforced. In some cases, it is true, the duty of enforcement has been so imposed (154 U.S. 362, 366, § 19 of the act), but that may possibly make the duty more clear; if it otherwise exist it is equally efficacious. The fact that the state officer by virtue of his office has some connection with the enforcement of the act is the important and material fact, and whether it · arises out of the general law, or is specially created by the act itself, is not material so long as it exists.
In the course of the opinion in the Fitts case the Reagan and
Smyth cases were referred to (with others) as instances of state officers specially charged with the execution of a state enactment alleged to be unconstitutional, and who commit under its authority some specific wrong or trespass to the injury of plaintiff's rights. In those cases the only wrong or injury or trespass involved was the threatened commencement of suits to enforce the statute as to rates, and the threat of such commencement was in each case regarded as sufficient to authorize the issuing of an injunction to prevent the same. The threat to commence those suits under such circumstances was thercfore necessarily held to be equivalent to any other threatened wrong or injury to the property of a plaintiff which had theretofore been held sufficient to authorize the suit against the officer. The being specially charged with the duty to enforce the statute is sufficiently apparent when such duty exists under the general authority of some law, even though such authority is not to be found in the particular act. It might exist by reason of the general duties of the officer to enforce it as a law of the State.
The officers in the Fitts case occupied the position of having no duty at all with regard to the act, and could not be properly made parties to the suit for the reason stated.
It is also objected that as the statute does not specifically make it the duty of the Attorney General (assuming he has that general right) to enforce it, he has under such circumstances a full general discretion whether to attempt its enforcement or not, and the court cannot interfere to control him as Attorney General in the exercise of his discretion.
In our view there is no interference with his discretion under the facts herein. There is no doubt that the court cannot control the exercise of the discretion of an officer. It can only direct affirmative action where the officer having some duty to perform not involving discretion, but merely ministerial in its nature, refuses or neglects to take such action. In that case the court can direct the defendant to perform this merely ministerial duty. Board of Liquidation v. McComb, 92 U. S. 531, 541.
The general discretion regarding the enforcement of the laws when and as he deems appropriate is not interfered with by an injunction which restrains the state officer from taking any steps towards the enforcement of an unconstitutional enactment to the injury of complainant. In such case no affirmative action of any nature is directed, and the officer is simply prohibited from doing an act which he had no legal right to do. An injunction to prevent him from doing that which he has no legal right to do is not an interference with the discretion of an officer.
It is also argued that the only proceeding which the Attorney General could take to enforce the statute, so far as his office is concerned, was one by mandamus, which would be commenced by the State in its sovereign and governmental character, and that the right to bring such action is a necessary attribute of a sovereign government. It is contended that the complainants do not complain and they care nothing about any action which Mr. Young might take or bring as an ordinary individual, but that he was complained of as an officer, to whose discretion is confided the use of the name of the State of Minnesota so far as litigation is concerned, and that when or how he shall use it is a matter resting in his discretion and cannot be controlled by any court.
The answer to all this is the same as made in every case where an official claims to be acting under the authority of the State. The act to be enforced is alleged to be unconstitutional, and if it be so, the use of the name of the State to enforce an unconstitutional act to the injury of complainants is a proceeding without the authority of and one which does not affect the State in its sovereign or governmental capacity. It is simply an illegal act upon the part of a state official in attempting by the use of the name of the State to enforce a legislative enactment which is void because unconstitutional. If the act which the state Attorney General seeks to enforce be a violation of the Federal Constitution, the officer in proceeding under such enactment comes into conflict with the