Bank of the United States v. Martin
30 U.S. 479 (1831)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bank of the United States v. Martin, 30 U.S. 5 Pet. 479 479 (1831)

Bank of the United States v. Martin

30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 479

ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA

Syllabus

The District Court of the United States for the State of Alabama has not jurisdiction of suits instituted by the Bank of the United States. This jurisdiction is not given in the act of Congress establishing that court, nor is it conferred by the act incorporating, the Bank of the United States.

Mr. Webster stated, that on inspecting the record of the proceedings in the court below, he was satisfied the District Court of Alabama had not jurisdiction of suits instituted by the Bank of the United States. It has already been decided that the courts of the United States have jurisdiction in suits brought by the bank only by virtue of the special provision in the charter, and the right of the bank to sue in the District Court of Alabama is not given by the act incorporating the bank. He referred to the tenth section of the Act of Congress of September 1789, and to the Act of 21 April, 1820, constituting the courts of Louisiana. Bank of the United States v. Deveaux, 5 Cranch 61.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a writ of error to a judgment rendered in the Court of the United States for the District of Alabama dismissing a suit brought by the Bank of the United States in that court for want of jurisdiction. Consequently the jurisdiction of that court presents the only question to be considered.

The act which establishes a District court in the State of Alabama declares that the judge thereof

"shall in all things have and exercise the same jurisdiction and powers which were by law given to the judge of the Kentucky District under an act entitled "An act to establish the judicial courts of the United States" and an act entitled, "An act in addition to the act entitled An act to establish the judicial courts of the United States,'" approved 2 March, 1793."

The 10th section of the Judiciary Act provides

"That the

Page 30 U. S. 480

Circuit Court in Kentucky shall, besides the jurisdiction aforesaid, have jurisdiction of all other causes except appeals and writs of error hereinafter made cognizable in a circuit court, and shall proceed therein in the same manner as a circuit court."

The 11th section of the same act describes the jurisdiction of the circuit court. A Bank of the United States did not then exist, and it was determined by this Court in the case of Bank of the United States v. Deveaux

"that the courts of the United States could not take jurisdiction of actions brought by the bank unless the declaration contained averments which enabled the court to look behind the corporate character of the plaintiff."

The judicial act, not having given the circuit courts jurisdiction over causes instituted by the Bank of the United States, cannot be construed to have given that jurisdiction to the District Court of Kentucky. Of course it has not been conferred on the District Court of Alabama by the act establishing that court. Neither has it been conferred by the act establishing the Bank of the United States.

The judgment is affirmed with costs.

This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of Alabama and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof it is the opinion of this Court that there was no error in the judgment of the said district court in dismissing this cause for want of jurisdiction. Whereupon it is considered, ordered, and adjudged by this Court that the judgment of the said district court in this cause be and the same is hereby affirmed without costs.

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