The printed record in this case is so fragmentary in its nature
as to leave no foundation for the court to even guess that there
was a federal question in the case, or that it was decided by the
state court against the right set up here by the plaintiff's in
error, and, under the well settled rule that, where a case is
brought to this Court on error or appeal from a judgment of a state
court, unless it appear in the record that a federal question was
raised in the state court before entry of final judgment in the
case, this Court is without jurisdiction, it must be dismissed.
The case is stated in the opinion.
Page 164 U. S. 253
MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the Court.
The printed record which is before this Court in this case is so
fragmentary in its nature as to leave no foundation for us to even
guess that there was a federal question in the case, or that it was
decided by the state court against the right now set up by
plaintiffs in error.
The record opens with an assignment of errors which it is
alleged were made by the Supreme Court of Illinois, and fourteen
grounds of error are set forth, many of them setting up that such
court, by the judgment in suit, erred in the decision of several
federal questions. Then follows the writ of error. Then comes what
is termed a decree in the case of George Fowler v. The Cherokee
Brilliant Coal & Mining Company and others,
Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois, which decree, after
reciting the fact of a hearing and a reference to a master in
chancery and his report thereon, proceeds to make certain findings
of fact and to give extracts from the Constitution and statutes of
Kansas, which, briefly stated, are as follows:
(1) The incorporation of the coal and mining company under the
statutes of Kansas.
(2) An extract from the Constitution and statutes of Kansas
providing for a double liability of stockholders of an insolvent
(3) An extract from the statutes of Kansas providing for the
dissolution of corporations, and for a recovery against the
stockholders therein for debts due from the company.
(4) An extract from the statutes of limitation of Kansas
relating to absconding or concealed debtors.
(5) Findings of indebtedness from the coal and mining company to
the Fowlers, plaintiffs in error, the giving of a note and mortgage
for such indebtedness, and default in the payment thereof, and a
dissolution of the company.
(6) The recovery of judgment in Illinois in favor of the
Page 164 U. S. 254
plaintiffs in error herein on account of the debt due them from
the corporation, the issue and return of execution upon such
judgment wholly unsatisfied.
(7) The ownership of stock in the company by the Lamsons.
Upon these findings, the decree directs a recovery by the
plaintiffs herein against the defendants Lamson, stockholders in
the dissolved and insolvent corporation, of the amount of the
Illinois judgment against the corporation which had been obtained
by plaintiffs herein.
This decree is followed in the record by an order made by the
appellate court in Illinois reversing the decree of the court
below. Then follows an assignment of errors committed by the court
in ordering such reversal, after which the opinion of Judge Wilkin,
of the Supreme Court of Illinois, is printed, which affirms the
judgment of the appellate court. In that opinion no federal
question is discussed or decided. The point actually decided by the
Supreme Court of Illinois was, as shown by that opinion, that the
Constitution and statutes of Kansas in relation to the liability of
stockholders in an insolvent corporation provide a special remedy
for enforcing forcing that liability, and that such remedy only
could be pursued, and that the courts of Illinois would not enforce
a statutory liability under a Kansas statute providing a special
remedy against stockholders. Following this opinion is a decree of
affirmance by the Supreme Court of Illinois, after which comes a
petition for a writ of error from this Court and an allowance
thereof. This completes the record.
It will be seen that there are no pleadings in the record, no
evidence is returned, no exceptions to any decision of the court
are to be found, no request to the court to find upon any federal
question, no refusal of the court to find, and no finding upon, any
such question. Thus there is an entire absence in this whole record
of any fact showing that the Supreme Court of Illinois or either of
the lower courts decided any federal question whatever. The
assignment of errors alleged to have been made by the Illinois
Supreme Court is unavailable for the purpose of showing any federal
question decided where the record itself does not show that
Page 164 U. S. 255
any such question was passed upon by the state court.
Missouri Pacific Railway v. Fitzgerald, 160 U.
, 160 U. S.
Where a case is brought to this Court on error or appeal from a
judgment of a state court, unless it appear in the record that a
federal question was raised in the state court before the entry of
final judgment in the case, this Court is without jurisdiction.
Simmerman v. Nebraska, 116 U. S. 54
It has also been frequently decided that to give this Court
jurisdiction on writ of error to a state court, it must appear
affirmatively not only that a federal question was presented for
decision by the state court, but that its decision was necessary to
the determination of the cause and that it was decided adversely to
the party claiming a right under the federal laws or Constitution,
or that the judgment as rendered could not have been given without
deciding it. Eustis v. Bolles, 150 U.
; California Powder Works v. Davis,
151 U. S. 389
151 U. S. 393
Missouri Pacific Railway Company v. Fitzgerald,
160 U. S. 556
160 U. S.
Nothing of the kind appears from this record, and the writ of
error must therefore be