170 U.S. 182 (1898)

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U.S. Supreme Court


170 U.S. 182

PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS ex rel. AKIN, Attorney General (two cases).

Nos. 586 and 601.

April 18, 1898

Charles S. Thornton, for plaintiff in error.

Geo. W. Smith, E. C. Akin, Frank P. Blair, and Murry Nelson, Jr., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

The attorney general of Illinois filed in the supreme court of Illinois, at its June term, 1897, an original petition against Joseph Kipley, superintendent of police of the city of Chicago, and Adolph Kraus, Dudley Winston, and Hempstead Washburne, commissioners appointed under the act of the legislature of Illinois in force on and after March 20, 1895, entitled 'An act to regulate the civil service of cities.'

Page 170 U.S. 182, 183

The application for leave to file the petition was accompanied by a suggestion upon the part of the attorney general that the case involved an interpretation of the above act.

The prayer of the petition was that a writ of mandamus issue, commanding Kipley, as superintendent of police of Chicago, to notify the civil service commissioners of all vacancies existing in the positions of assistant superintendent of police, inspectors of police, and captains of police in the city of Chicago, and commanding the civil service commissioners to submit to Kipley, as superintendent of police, the names of not more than three applicants for promotion for each vacancy from the grade next below that in which such vacancy or vacancies exist, and that the petitioner have such other or further relief as the nature of the case required.

Kipley filed a separate answer, in which he insisted that he had acted in all respects in conformity with law. He also averred that although the act regulating the civil service of cities was passed and approved substantially as stated in the petition, and was afterwards submitted to a vote of the electors of Chicago, and adopted by a large majority of votes, it was 'unconstitutional and void,' in that it purported to confer judicial powers and authority to make and enforce judgments and decisions of a nonjudicial body, described and set forth in the act as the 'Civil Service Commission.'

Subsequently, June 28, 1897, the city council of Chicago passed an ordinance designating certain public officers who should be selected by the mayor with the concurrence of the council. Kipley, July 10, 1897, filed a plea setting forth this ordinance, and alleging, in relation to the appointment by the civil service commissioners of certain subordinate police officers of the city, that they 'have been, if they ever were within the same, wholly taken away from and removed out of the control, jurisdiction, and power of the said civil service commissioners, so that such matters are now expressly excepted, by its very terms from the force and effect of said civil service act.'

On the 7th day of October, 1897, Kipley asked leave of the [170 U.S. 182, 184]

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