Bolen v. Wisconsin,
231 U.S. 616 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bolen v. Wisconsin, 231 U.S. 616 (1914)

Bolen v. Wisconsin

No. 447

Motion to dismiss submitted December 15, 1913

Decided January 5, 1914

231 U.S. 616


In this case, this Court follows the construction given by the highest court of the state to the provisions of the state constitution in regard to its jurisdiction of cases in which the state is a party or which are brought by the consent of the state on the relation of an individual.

Where the relator has no authority to sue except by consent of the state, and he is a mere agent for calling judicial authority into activity for protection of general public rights, and not for redress of individual wrongs, the state is the real party plaintiff and the relator has no power without its consent to prosecute error to this Court.

Where, in such a case, the state does not consent that the relator prosecute error, the writ will be dismissed; the case is not within Rev.Stat., § 709 (Judicial Code, § 237), and this Court has not jurisdiction.

The fact that this Court has authority under § 237, Judicial Code, to decide a legal question in a case where jurisdiction exists does not give it power to decide that question in a case where jurisdiction does not exist.

Where jurisdiction does not exist, this Court will not pass upon the questions involved so that, in future cases involving those questions, the state court may be guided by the views expressed by this Court thereon.

Writ of error to review 148 Wis. 456 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court of a writ of error to review the judgment of a state court against a relator who is not the agent of the state, and who has without authority of the state sued out the writ of error, are stated in the opinion.

Page 231 U. S. 617

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