The jurisdiction of a court to judicially decide a cause is its judicial power to do so. Jurisdiction is of several kinds as jurisdiction of the subject matter; of the parties; and what it termed venue jurisdiction. The latter means the power of the particular court to function. We are a court of the United States. Our judicial power, as the Constitution happily terms it, does not extend to all cases in law or equity but to a restricted number of them. Beyond the power conferred by the Constitution we have none. Among others we are restricted in the exercise of our judicial authority to cases arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States and to controversies between citizens of different states. District Courts, being statutory courts, may be further restricted in their judicial powers by Congress.All legislative bodies have exercised the power to constitute nonjudicial tribunals to afford more prompt and less expensive methods of settling controversies than those afforded by the courts. These are all dominated by the thought that they are an aid to the judicial branch of government and do not curtail its constitutional powers. Thus we have boards and commissions to regulate carriers in intra and interstate commerce; workmen's compensation for injuries not due to negligence; trade regulations; and for the settlement of labor disputes.
This case concerns itself with the Act of May 20, 1926, as amended by the Act of June 21, 1934, 45 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq. passed to aid in solving problems which arise out of the relation of employer and employees engaged in interstate commerce. It is an accepted doctrine that such boards and commissions have the legal power to function without being interfered with by the courts. Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 58 S. Ct. 459, 82 L. Ed. , decided January 3u, 1938.
Indeed, some legislative enactments go far toward directing the courts to accept the fact findings of such tribunals without review. Here the board defendant has ruled upon the seniority rights of employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The ruling is said to infringe upon the rights of the plaintiffs, and complaint is made not merely that it is unsound and unjust but also that it was made without notice to the plaintiffs, followed by the refusal to give them a hearing. They accordingly have appealed to the judicial power to declare, among other things, the order or award thus made to be a nullity.
The defendants have moved to dismiss the bill for lack of jurisdiction. This is a narrower ground than want of equity. We in consequence assume that it is not denied that a statutory tribunal may be enjoined from enforcing an award entered without notice to the party injuriously affected thereby. It is objected, however, that, although a cause of action may exist, a court of the United States has no jurisdiction to entertain it because there is no diversity of citizenship averred. There is, however, an act of Congress to be passed upon, and hence the case concerns itself with a law of the United States, and, if the power of Congress is in question, a case under the Constitution arises. Besides this difficulty presents itself. If it is made a state court case, that court must pass upon the application and validity of an act of Congress.
The case of Nord v. Griffin, 7 Cir., 86 F.2d 481, rules that a bill of this kind may be maintained. The Supreme Court, it is true, has, in the Myers Case, supra, ruled that a District Court cannot restrain a Wagner Act Board from functioning. This, however, is a different proposition from that of deciding that the enforcement of an invalid order may not be restrained.
The case of Carroll v. Erie Railroad, ruled by the Supreme Court of New York for the Eighth Circuit, on January 7, 1938, denied a motion for an injunction restraining a board from enforcing its order in a seniority claim case. This, however, is a state case.
Without prolonging the discussion, we deny the motion to dismiss the bill. This takes us to the motion for a preliminary injunction. It is evident that such an injunction is much more than a restraining one. It would be mandatory upon the railroad company defendant.
The motion for a preliminary injunction is likewise refused.
To give definiteness of date to the decree made, none is now made, but leave is granted to submit a formal order or decree denying the motion to dismiss and denying also the motion for a preliminary injunction.
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