Richardson v. McChesney - 218 U.S. 487 (1910)
U.S. Supreme Court
Richardson v. McChesney, 218 U.S. 487 (1910)
Richardson v. McChesney
Argued October 31, November 1, 1910
Decided November 28, 1910
218 U.S. 487
The duty of this Court is limited to actual pending controversies. It should not pronounce judgment on abstract questions, even if its opinion might influence future action under like circumstances.
This Court judicially knows that the members of Congress elected at the regular congressional election of November, 1908, have taken their seats, served their terms, and that their successors have been elected.
This Court also judicially knows when the term of a secretary of state of a state expires and whether his successor has been inducted into his office.
An action against the secretary of a state to compel him in certifying nominees for Congress, to proceed under a former apportionment act on the ground that the present act is unconstitutional, is not a suit against the state, nor is it in this case one against a continuing board, but against the secretary of state personally, and, on the termination of his official authority, his successor cannot be substituted.
In this case, as the thing sought to be prevented has been done and cannot be undone by judicial action, it is now only a moot case.
Writ of error to review 12 Ky. 363 dismissed.
The facts, which involve the validity of the Kentucky act of 1900 apportioning the state into Congressional districts, are stated in the opinion.