Washington, Alexandria Ry. Co. v. Downey
236 U.S. 190 (1915)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Washington, Alexandria Ry. Co. v. Downey, 236 U.S. 190 (1915)

Washington, Alexandria & Mount

Vernon Railway Company v. Downey

No. 144

Argued January 21, 1915

Decided February 23, 1915

236 U.S. 190

Syllabus

The expression "law of the United States," referred to in clause 6 of § 250, Judicial Code, regulating appeals from and writs of error to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, embraces only laws of the United States not local in their application to the District of Columbia.

A statute of the United States, general in its application but which has been declared unconstitutional except as it relates to the District of Columbia and to Territories of the United States, is not a law of the United States within the meaning of clause 6 of § 250, Judicial Code.

Where jurisdiction to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia is sought under clause 6 of § 250, Judicial Code, the test of jurisdiction is the character of the statute, and not the character of the act to which the statute applies.

In an action brought under the original Employers' Liability Act of 1906, which was declared unconstitutional as to the states but not as to the territories, although the transit of the train involved was interstate, if the accident occurred within the confines of the District of Columbia, the statute became applicable concerning it as a local statute in the absence of any general legislation by Congress, and not as a general law of the United States, and this Court cannot review the judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia on writ of error under clause 6 of § 250, Judicial Code.

The fact that a local statute is applicable to a given situation solely because there is no general law to control does not make the local statute a general one.

Writ of error to review 40 App.D.C. 147 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court of writs of error to review judgments of the Court of

Page 236 U. S. 191

Appeals of the District of Columbia, are stated in the opinion.

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