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U.S. Supreme Court

Postmaster General v. Trigg, 36 U.S. 11 Pet. 173 173 (1837)

Postmaster General v. Trigg

36 U.S. (11 Pet.) 173


Mandamus. Motion for a rule on the District Judge of the District Court of the United States for the Missouri District to show cause why a mandamus should not issue from this Court commanding him to order an execution to issue on a judgment entered in that court in the case of Postmaster General of the United States v. Rector's Administrator. The motion was founded on an attested copy of the record of the proceedings in the district court by which it appeared that the district judge, on the motion of the district attorney of the United States for an order for an execution on this judgment "after mature deliberation thereon," overruled the motion. The rule to show cause was refused.

The Court has looked into the practice of this Court upon motions of this sort, and it does not appear to have been satisfactorily settled. For anything that appears in this case, there may have been sufficient reason for the decision of the district court overruling the motion for an execution, and there is nothing in the record to create a prima facie case of mistake, misconduct, or omission of duty on the part of the district court. In such a state of facts, the Court is bound to presume that everything was rightly done by the court until some evidence is offered to show the contrary, and they cannot, upon the evidence before the Court, assume that there is any ground for its interposition.

A rule to show cause is a rule upon the judge to explain his conduct, and implies that a case had been made out which makes it proper that this Court should know the reasons for his decision. When the record does not show mistake, misconduct, or omission of duty on the part of the court, unless such a prima facie case to the contrary is made out, supported by affidavit as would make it the duty of the court to interpose, such a rule ought not to be granted.

Mr. Butler, Attorney General, moved the Court for a rule on the District Judge of the United States for the District of Missouri to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not be issued commanding him to order an execution to issue on judgment of the said district court in this case.


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