Massachusetts v. Rhode IslandAnnotate this Case
37 U.S. 755
U.S. Supreme Court
Massachusetts v. Rhode Island, 37 U.S. 12 Pet. 755 755 (1838)
Massachusetts v. Rhode Island
37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 755
The State of Massachusetts, after having appeared to process issued against her at the suit of the state of Rhode Island on a bill filed for the settlement of boundary, and after having filed an answer and plea to the bill and having failed in a motion to dismiss the bill for want of jurisdiction, was, on motion of her counsel, allowed to withdraw her appearance.
In the case of Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, ante, page 37 U. S. 657, the Court did not mean to put the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on the ground that jurisdiction was assumed in consequence of the State of Massachusetts' having appeared in that cause. It was only intended to say that the appearance of the state superseded the necessity of considering the question whether any and what course would have been adopted by the Court if the state
had not appeared. The Court did not mean to be understood that the state had concluded herself on the ground that she had voluntarily appeared, or that if she had not appeared, the Court would not have assumed jurisdiction of the case. Being satisfied the Court had jurisdiction of the subject matter of the bill, so far at least as respected the question of boundary, all inquiry as to the mode and manner in which the state was to be brought into court, or what would be the course of proceeding, if the state declined to appear, became entirely unnecessary.
The practice seems to be well settled that in suits against a state, if the state shall neglect to appear on due service of process, no coercive measures will be taken to compel appearance, but the complainant will be allowed to proceed ex parte.
Mr. Webster, in behalf of the State of Massachusetts, as her attorney and counsel in Court, moved the Court for leave to withdraw the plea filed in this case on the part of the State of Massachusetts, and also the appearance which has been entered in this Court for the said state.
Mr. Hazard, counsel for the State of Rhode Island, moved the Court for leave to withdraw the general replication to the defendant's plea in bar and answer and to amend the original bill.
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