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U.S. Supreme Court

Madisonville Traction Co. v. St. Bernard Mining Co., 196 U.S. 239 (1905)

Madisonville Traction Company v. St. Bernard Mining Company

No. 362

Submitted November 28, 1904

Decided January 16, 1905

196 U.S. 239


In regard to the removal of cases, the following principle, have been settled:

If the case be a removable one, that is, if the suit, in its nature, be one of which the circuit court could rightfully take jurisdiction, then, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 196 U. S. 240

upon the filing of a petition for removal, in due time, with a sufficient bond, the case is, in law, removed, and the state court in which it is pending will lose jurisdiction to proceed further, and all subsequent proceedings in that court will be void.

After the presentation of a sufficient petition and bond to the state court in a removable case, it is competent for the circuit court, by a proceeding ancillary in its nature -- without violating § 720, Rev.Stat., forbidding a court of the United States from enjoining proceedings in a state court -- to restrain the party against whom a cause has been legally removed from taking further steps in the state court.

If, upon the face of the record, including the petition for removal, a suit does not appear to be a removable one, then the state court is not bound to surrender its jurisdiction, and may proceed as if no application for removal had been made.

Under the Judiciary Act of 1887-1888, a suit cannot be removed from a state court unless it could originally have been brought in the circuit court of the United States.

A state cannot, by any statutory provisions, withdraw a suit in which there is a controversy between citizens of different states from the cognizance of the federal courts.

A proceeding brought by a Kentucky railroad company in the county court under §§ 835-839, Kentucky Statutes, to condemn lands for a public use, valued at over $2,000, belonging to a corporation which is a citizen of another state, is a suit involving a controversy to which the judicial power of the United States extends within the meaning of the judiciary clauses of the Constitution and of which the circuit court has original cognizance under § 1 of the Judiciary Act of 1887, and may be removed to the circuit court of the United States.

In the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred upon it of controversies between citizens of different states, a circuit court of the United States is for every practical purpose a court of the state in which it sits, and will enforce the rights of the parties according to the law of that state taking care, as a state court must, not to infringe any right secured by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. And, in a case of condemnation, it would proceed under the sanction of, and enforce, the state law so far as it was not unconstitutional.

It is fundamental in American jurisprudence that private property cannot be taken by the government, National or state, except for purposes which are of a public character, although such taking be accompanied by compensation to the owner.

It is for the state, primarily and exclusively, to declare for what local public purposes private property, within its limits, may be taken upon compensation to the owner, as well as to prescribe a mode in which it may be condemned and taken. But the state may not prescribe any mode of taking private property for a public purpose and of ascertaining the compensation to be made therefor which would exclude from the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 196 U. S. 241

jurisdiction of a circuit court of the United States a condemnation proceeding which in its essential features is a suit involving a controversy between citizens of different states.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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