DILLON v. STRATHEARN S S CO.(1918)
Messrs. William J. Waguespack, of New Orleans, La., and Silas Blake Axtell, of New York City, for Dillon.
Mr. Assistant Attorney General Brown, for the United States.
Mr. Ralph James M. Bullowa, of New York City, for Strathearn S. S. Co.
Mr. Justice DAY delivered the opinion of the court.
John Dillon, a British subject, filed a libel in admiralty in the United States District Court for the Northern [248 U.S. 182, 183] District of Florida in which he claimed the sum of $125 alleged to be due him for wages as a carpenter on the steamship Strathearn. The District Court dismissed the libel (239 Fed. 583). An appeal was taken to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The libel was filed under the provisions, of section 4 of the Seaman's Act March 4, 1915, c. 153, 38 Stat. 1165, 1168 (Comp. St. 1916, 8322).1
The Circuit Court of Appeals certifies two questions to this court:
First. Is section 4530 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, as the same was amended by section 4 of the act of Congress, approved March 4, 1915, entitled 'An act to promote the welfare of American seamen in the merchant marine of the United States; to abolish arrest and imprisonment as a penalty for desertion and to secure the abrogation of treaty provisions in relation thereto; and to promote safety at sea'- violative of the Constitution of the United States?
Second. Is section 4530 of the Revised Statutes of the [248 U.S. 182, 184] United States, as the same was amended by the last-mentioned act of Congress approved March 4, 1915, violative of the Constitution of the United States in so far as it provides:
The certificate is made under section 239 of the Judicial Code (Act March 3, 1911, c. 231, 36 Stat. 1157 [Comp. St. 1916, 1216]), which makes provision for the certification of questions of law to this court from a Circuit Court of Appeals. The section provides that this court may give instruction on the questions certified, or it may order the whole record sent up for consideration and decision. Rule 37 of this court (32 Sup. Ct. xiv) provides that in such cases the certificate shall contain a proper statement of the facts on which the questions of law arise. The certificate in this case fails to comply with this rule of court. It contains a partial statement of Dillon's contract with the ship. It states that no part of the sum sued for was due under the shipping articles signed by Dillon. It does not state the terms of payment agreed upon, when or where payments were to be made under the contract, or what advancements, if any, were to be made during the voyage. The certificate concludes:
Counsel argue the case by reference to the transcript of the record in the Circuit Court of Appeals, and it is apparent that a proper consideration of the case requires such reference. This transcript is no part of our record. This court alone has authority to have it sent up. The briefs in the Circuit Court of Appeals are no part of the record here. The certificate is required to state the pertinent facts in order that this court may answer the questions of law certified with reference to such facts, and not by searching the records and briefs of the Circuit Court of Appeals itself.
The certificate therefore fails to comply with our rule, [248 U.S. 182, 185] and in accordance with the established practice must be dismissed. Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton R. R. Co. v. McKeen, 149 U.S. 259, 261 , 13 S. Sup. Ct. 840; Stratton's Independence v. Howbert, 231 U.S. 399, 422 , 34 S. Sup. Ct. 136, and cases cited.
[ Footnote 1 ] 'Sec. 4. That section forty-five hundred and thirty of the Revised Statutes of the United States be, and is hereby, amended to read as follows: