This Court is without jurisdiction to review a judgment of a
state court based not only upon a ground involving a federal
question, but also upon an independent ground of state procedure
involving no federal question and broad enough to sustain the
judgment. P. 261 U. S. 592
Writ of error to review 197 App.Div. 225; 232 N.Y. 96,
Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of New York, entered on
mandate from the Court of Appeals, dismissing petitions for habeas
MR. JUSTICE SANFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.
The record presents a preliminary question as to our
jurisdiction under the writ of error.
The relators were arrested by the police of the City of Mt.
Vernon, New York, while holding a street meeting, on the charge of
violating an ordinance which prohibited, under
Page 261 U. S. 591
penalty of fine, the gathering or assembling of persons or the
holding of public meetings upon the public streets of the city
without special permit of the mayor. Before trial, the relators
obtained writs of habeas corpus from the Supreme Court of the state
at Special Term, which, being heard together, resulted in an order
sustaining the writs and discharging the relators. The Appellate
Division of the Supreme Court, on appeal, reversed this order and
dismissed the writs [197 App.Div. 225], and the Court of Appeals of
the state, on a further appeal, affirmed the order of the Appellate
Division [232 N.Y. 96], and remitted the record and proceedings to
the Supreme Court to be proceeded upon according to law.
Thereafter, this writ of error was granted by the Chief Judge of
the Court of Appeals to review the judgment of that court.
It is urged, in substance, that the Court of Appeals denied the
contention of the relators that the ordinance, both by its
provisions and through the alleged discriminatory manner in which
it was enforced, deprived them of their rights of freedom of speech
and assembly in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court of
Appeals, however, held not only that the ordinance was a valid and
constitutional exercise of the police power, but also that the writ
of habeas corpus was not, under the state practice, the proper
method of contesting its validity. In the opinion of that court,
after passing upon the constitutional question, it was said:
"A writ of habeas corpus cannot take the place of [or] perform
the functions of an appeal from a judgment of conviction. The court
before which a person is brought under such writ simply inquires
whether the court rendering the judgment had jurisdiction to do so.
If that fact appears, and the mandate under which the defendant is
held be regular upon its face, the writ must be dismissed.
People ex rel. Hubert v Kaiser,
206 N.Y. 46. The
Page 261 U. S. 592
whom the relators were taken had jurisdiction to try them for a
violation of the ordinance in question, and they are now legally in
custody. The Appellate Division therefore properly held that the
order of the Special Term was erroneous, reversed the same,
dismissed the writs, and remanded the relators."
It is settled law that, where the record discloses that the
judgment of a state court was based not alone upon a ground
involving a federal question, but also upon another and independent
ground broad enough to maintain the judgment, this Court will not
take jurisdiction to review such judgment, and will dismiss a writ
of error brought for that purpose. Eustis v. Bolles,
150 U. S. 361
150 U. S. 366
Dibble v. Land Co., 163 U. S. 63
163 U. S. 69
Allen v. Arguimbau, 198 U. S. 149
198 U. S. 155
Adams v. Russell, 229 U. S. 353
229 U. S. 358
Cuyahoga Power Co. v. Realty Co., 244 U.
, 244 U. S.
Hence, as the decision of the Court of Appeals as to the effect
of the writs of habeas corpus was broad enough to maintain the
judgment, independently of its decision as to the constitutional
question, the writ of error is