that there is no inconsistency between the
Daylight Saving Acts of Massachusetts and the Act of Congress of
March 19, 1918, § 2, which fixes standard time with relation to the
acts of federal officers and departments and the accrual and
determination of rights and performance of acts by persons subject
to the jurisdiction of the United States. P. 272 U. S.
Page 272 U. S. 526
2. No injunction should issue from a federal court to retrain
state officers from enforcing a state law unless in a case
reasonably free from doubt and when necessary to prevent great and
irreparable injury. P. 272 U. S.
3. A court of the United States should not intervene between a
state and a town of the state's creation to determine how far the
town should share in the state's benevolence. P. 272 U. S.
4. Distinction explained between want of "jurisdiction" in
equity -- e.g.,
want of a fitting case for an injunction
-- and want of jurisdiction, i.e.,
power, in the court. P.
272 U. S.
10 F.2d 515 affirmed.
Appeal from a decision of the district court dismissing a bill
brought by The Massachusetts State Grange, The Inhabitants of the
Town of Hadley, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and
others, to enjoin Jay R. Benton, Attorney General of Massachusetts,
Frederick W. Cook, Secretary, Payson Smith, Commissioner of
Education, et al.,
from performing official acts in
execution of the Daylight Savings Acts of that state.
MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a bill brought by different parties having different and
unconnected interests seeking a declaration that the Daylight
Saving Acts of Massachusetts, Acts 1920, c. 280; Acts 1921, c. 145,
are inconsistent with the Act of Congress of March 19, 1918, c. 24,
40 Stat. 450 (see
Act Aug. 20, 1919, c. 51, 41 Stat. 280),
and unconstitutional, and asking an injunction to prevent the
several defendants from doing their respective official parts to
carry out the Massachusetts law. It was heard by three
Page 272 U. S. 527
judges in the district court, and, upon motion, it was
dismissed. 10 F.2d 515.
The Act of Congress, § 2, fixes the standard time and provides
"In all statutes, orders, rules, and regulations relating to the
time of performance of any act by any officer or department of the
United States, whether in the legislative, executive, or judicial
branches of the government, or relating to the time within which
any rights shall accrue or determine, or within which any act shall
or shall not be performed by any person subject to the jurisdiction
of the United States, it shall be understood and intended that the
time shall be the United States standard time of the zone within
which the act is to be performed."
The Massachusetts statute advances the standard time thus fixed
by one hour, and provides that the time shall be the United States
standard eastern time so advanced, in all laws, regulations, etc.,
relating to the time of performance of any act by any officer or
department of the Commonwealth or of any county, city, etc.,
thereof, or relating to the time in which any rights shall accrue
or determine, or within which any act shall or shall not be
performed by any person subject to the jurisdiction of the
Commonwealth, and in all the public schools and institutions of the
Commonwealth, etc., and in all contracts or choses in action made
or to be performed in the Commonwealth.
The court below found no inconsistency between the two Acts, and
we have seen no sufficient reason for differing from it upon that
point. But it also went on the important rule, which we desire to
emphasize, that no injunction ought to issue against officers of a
state clothed with authority to enforce the law in question unless
in a case reasonably free from doubt and when necessary to prevent
great and irreparable injury. Cavanaugh v. Looney,
248 U. S. 453
248 U. S. 456
Hygrade Products Co. v. Sherman, 266 U.
, 266 U. S. 500
Page 272 U. S. 528
U.S. 240. No such necessity is shown here. The corporations
other than the Town of Hadley do not even allege any direct
interest. The Town of Hadley makes a case that concerns none of the
other plaintiffs, and complains only that, by failure to comply
with the Massachusetts statute, it will be held to have lost its
claim to certain state aid for its schools. It is said that, in
fact, Hadley has received its share, and has no further interest in
the case, but, in any event, it is plain that a Court of the United
States would not intervene between a state and a town of the
state's creation to determine how far the town should share in the
state's benevolence. Of the individual plaintiffs, Mann alleges
that the statute makes it more costly for him to employ labor at
the first hours of the day, that he owns land on both sides of the
New Hampshire line, and has to travel to and fro between them, that
New Hampshire and the railroad keep to the standard Eastern time,
and that to adjust himself to the two standards causes him worry
and pecuniary loss. The plaintiff Snow alleges that her children
have to get up an hour earlier to go to school, and so lose an
hour's sleep, and that women who have husbands employed by the
railroads, as well as children, have to keep two standards of time
in their heads, and other matters that do not concern her. The
plaintiff Clarke alleges nothing that needs mention. Evidently this
is not a case for an exception to the general rule.
Courts sometimes say that there is no jurisdiction in equity
when they mean only that equity ought not to give the relief asked.
In a strict sense, the Court in this case had jurisdiction. It had
power to grant an injunction, and, if it had granted one, its
decree, although wrong, would not have been void. But, upon the
merits, we think it too plain to need argument that to grant an
injunction upon the allegations of this bill would be to fly in
Page 272 U. S. 529
the face of the rule which, as we have said, we think should be
very strictly observed.
The separate opinion of MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS.
Unless much said in Ex parte Young, 209 U.
, is trivial or nonsense, this is a suit against
Massachusetts, and beyond the possible jurisdiction of federal
courts, as expressly declared by the Eleventh Amendment.
"The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed
to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted
against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or
by citizens or subjects of any foreign state."
Accordingly, the trial court had no jurisdiction, and should
have dismissed the proceeding for that reason.
It is well to remember that the Massachusetts Daylight Saving
Act is not a criminal statute, that no penalty is prescribed for
nonobservance, that no defendant was charged with the duty of
enforcement, that no proceeding against any complainant could be
instituted thereunder, and none was in contemplation.
The bill discloses a bald purpose to secure an adjudication in
respect of the constitutionality of a state statute. In no just
sense did it seek protection of any property right threatened with
unlawful invasion by an officer claiming to proceed under a void
enactment. Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U.
, as construed in Ex parte Young, supra,
pp. 209 U. S.
-157, ought to be followed and treated as
"In making an officer of the state a party defendant in a suit
to enjoin the enforcement of an Act alleged to be unconstitutional,
it is plain that such officer must have some connection with the
enforcement of the Act, or else it is merely making him a party as
a representative of the state, and thereby attempting to make the
state a party. "
Page 272 U. S. 530