Pennsylvania v. Quicksilver Company,
77 U.S. 553 (1870)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania v. Quicksilver Company, 77 U.S. 10 Wall. 553 553 (1870)

Pennsylvania v. Quicksilver Company

77 U.S. (10 Wall.) 553


1. In a suit against a corporation by one state, an averment that the defendant is a body politic by the law of another state, named and "doing business" in it, is not sufficient to give jurisdiction to this Court.

2. This Court has no original jurisdiction of a suit brought by a state against its own citizens.

The first clause of the second section of the third article of the Constitution ordains that the judicial power shall extend to certain cases named, and among them "to controversies between a state and the citizens of another state."

The second clause of this same section provides:

"That in all cases affecting ambassadors &c., and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction,' and that 'in all the other cases before mentioned, it shall have appellate jurisdiction."

The 13th section of the Judiciary Act provides:

"That the Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies of a civil nature where a state is a party, except between a state and its citizens, and except also between

Page 77 U. S. 554

a state and citizens of another state or aliens, in which latter case it shall have original, but not exclusive, jurisdiction."

In this state of the law, constitutional and statutory, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania brought an original suit against the Quicksilver Mining Company. The declaration was thus:

"The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by her attorney-general, complains of the Quicksilver Mining Company, a body politic in the law of, and doing business in, the State of California, of a plea that the said company render unto the said commonwealth the sum of $100,000,"


Page 77 U. S. 555

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