Ex Parte Hobbs - 280 U.S. 168 (1929)


U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Hobbs, 280 U.S. 168 (1929)

Ex Parte Hobbs

No. 20, Original

Argued November 25, 26, 1929

Decided December 9, 1929

280 U.S. 168

Syllabus

A fire insurance company sued to enjoin state officers from enforcing an order fixing its rates, and from revoking its license for failure to obey the same, alleging diversity of citizenship and

Page 280 U. S. 169

that the order, and certain state statutes if construed to sanction it, were violative of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The bill prayed for an interlocutory injunction on these grounds, but the plaintiff, without pressing them, applied for and obtained an interlocutory injunction enjoining the revocation of license only and based on the ground that such revocation would not be authorized by the state statutes, considering them as valid. Defendants applied to this Court for a mandamus to compel the district judge to call to his assistance two other judges under Jud.Code § 266, U.S. Title 28, § 380, to determine the prayers for interlocutory and final injunction as made in the bill.

Held:

1. That the scope of the judge's decision was to be determined by the words of his order, which accorded with the statement of his intention in granting it contained in his return to the order to show cause. P. 280 U. S. 172.

2. That the decision, as so explained, being based only on a construction of the state statutes, three judges were not required by Jud.Code § 266 for its rendition, and, as there was jurisdiction by diversity of citizenship, appeal lay to the Circuit Court of appeals. Id.

3. The fact that the bill raised the constitutional issue did not empower the defendants to force a decision of it or prevent the plaintiff from limiting to the narrower ground its claim to interlocutory relief. Id.

Petition for a writ of mandamus to require the Honorable John C. Pollock, District Judge, to call to his assistance two other judges to determine the prayers for interlocutory and final injunctions in the suit of the Agricultural Insurance Company, and other like suits, pending in his district against the Insurance Commissioner and the Attorney General of Kansas. The matter was heard upon the petition and the return made by the respondent to a rule to show cause. The rule is discharged and mandamus denied.

Page 280 U. S. 170



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