Howat v. Kansas
258 U.S. 181 (1922)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Howat v. Kansas, 258 U.S. 181 (1922)

Howat v. Kansas

Nos. 154 and 491

Argued February 27, 28, 1922

Decided March 13, 1922

258 U.S. 181

Syllabus

1. The constitutionality of a state statute presenting very important questions should not be decided unless the case before the court so requires. P. 258 U. S. 184.

2. Whether the Kansas Industrial Relations Act (Laws 1920, c. 29), in providing in effect for compulsory arbitration of labor controversies in certain industries before an administrative body whose orders it makes reviewable and enforceable through the state supreme court, violates the federal Constitution is not determinable upon a review of a judgment of that court sustaining, as a separable feature of the act, the power it gives the administrative body to call witnesses to testify in a general investigation of industrial

Page 258 U. S. 182

condition and the power of the state district court, of general jurisdiction, to order their attendance and to enforce their obedience through contempt proceedings. P. 258 U. S. 185.

3. An injunction issued by a court of general jurisdiction and equity powers upon proper pleadings and served upon parties within the jurisdiction must be obeyed, even if erroneous and based upon an invalid statute, until set aside by orderly review. P. 258 U. S. 190.

4. Where a sentence imposed by the Kansas district court for contempt in disobeying an injunction issued in a suit brought by the state to prevent execution of a conspiracy to cause a general strike and cessation of work in coal mines contrary to the state laws, including the Industrial Relation Act, supra, was affirmed by the state supreme court independently of that act (though its constitutionality was drawn in question) upon the ground that the district court had general power to grant the injunction and that the validity of the injunction could not be questioned collaterally in the contempt proceeding, held that the judgment of affirmance, having a nonfederal basis, was not reviewable by this Court. P. 258 U. S. 189.

Writs of error to review 107 Kans. 423, 109 Kans. 376, dismissed

Writs of error to review two judgments of the Supreme Court of Kansas affirming sentences to confinement for contempt.

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