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numerous. Some of them are: Folsom v. Ninety-six, 159 U. S. 611, 624; Loeb v. Columbia Township, supra; Jones v. Great Southern Hotel Co., 86 Fed. Rep. 370, affirmed by this court, 193 U. S. 532. If the District Court erred in following the later decision of the Indiana court the error could have been corrected by the Circuit Court of Appeals, and the judgment of the latter court might be reviewed by this court under a writ of certiorari. The cases of Folsom v. Ninety-six, and Jones v. Great Southern Hotel Company, supra, reached this court through the Circuit Court of Appeals, one by a certified request for an instruction, and the other by certiorari.
The right to bring the case to this court from the District Court by a direct appeal depended upon the question whether the decree denying to appellant the lien it claimed under the law of Indiana, “necessarily and directly involved the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States." Empire &c. Mining Co. v. Hanley, 205 U. S. 225, 232. The change of decision in respect of the scope of the Indiana statutes was not a law of the State impairing the obligation of the contract which is the only basis for the claim that the case is one which involved the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States. We are, therefore, precluded from an examination of the merits of the case, Cosmopolitan Mining Co. v. Walsh, 193 U. S. 460; Knop v. Monongahela &c. Co., 211 U. S. 485, and the appeal
must be dismissed.
STATE OF LOUISIANA v. McADOO, SECRETARY
OF THE TREASURY.
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE PETITION.
Original. Argued April 14, 1914.-Decided June 22, 1914.
The United States may not be sued in the courts of this country with
out its consent. Whether the United States is in legal effect a party is not always de
termined by whether it appears as a party on the record but by
the effect of the decree that can be rendered. A State which happens to operate sugar plantations by its convict
labor may not review the action of the Secretary of the Treasury in determining the rate of duty to be collected on foreign sugar any
more than any other producer of sugar may do so. A suit against the Secretary of the Treasury to review his action
in determining the rate of duty to be collected, under statutes and treaties, on an imported article, and to mandamus him to collect a specific amount, is in effect a suit against the United
States. Even an importer may not invoke the aid of the courts to clog the
wheels of government by attempting to review by mandamus the action of the Secretary of the Treasury in determining the rate of
duty to be collected on imported articles. Determining the rate of duty to be collected under the existing statutes
and treaties on foreign sugar is not a mere ministerial act on the part of the Secretary of the Treasury, but one involving judgment and
discretion. While a public officer may by law, and at the instance of one having
a particular legal interest, be required to perform a mere ministerial act not requiring the exercise of judgment or discretion, he may not be so required in respect to matters committed to him by law and
requiring the exercise of judgment and discretion. The courts will not interfere with the ordinary functions of the ex
ecutive department of the Government. Application for leave to file a petition for writ of mandamus against
the Secretary of the Treasury to compel him to collect a different amount of duty on sugar imported from Cuba under the provisions
of the existing statute and the treaty of 1902 with Cuba, denied, without expressing any opinion on the merits of the questions involved.
The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this court to entertain an original suit against the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and the determination of whether the suit is one against the United States, are stated in the opinion.
Mr. Ruffin G. Pleasant, Attorney General of the State of Louisiana, and Mr. Joseph W. Bailey, with whom Mr. Paul J. Christian was on the brief, for petitioner.
The Solicitor General, with whom Mr. Assistant Attorney General Adkins was on the brief, for the United States.
MR. JUSTICE LURTON delivered the opinion of the court.
The State of Louisiana has appeared at the bar of this court, through its Attorney General, for the purpose of obtaining permission to file this petition against the Honorable William Gibbs McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and the Honorable C. S. Hamlin, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. The United States, by its Solicitor General, has appeared in opposition, contending that the suit is one against the United States and cannot, therefore, be brought without its consent.
No principle is better established than that the United States may not be sued in the courts of this country without its consent. If, therefore, this be a suit against the United States, the State, though entitled as a State to appeal to the original jurisdiction of this court, must show some authority.from Congress under which such a suit may be brought, or leave to file must be denied. United
States v. Clarke, 8 Peters, 436; United States v. Lee, 106 U. S. 196; Kansas v. United States, 204 U. S. 331, 333.
That the United States is not named on the record as a party is true. But the question whether it is in legal effect a party to the controversy is not always determined by the fact that it is not named as a party on the record, but by the effect of the judgment or decree which can here be rendered. Minnesota v. Hitchcock, 185 U. S. 373, 387; Kansas .y. United States, supra.
The facts, briefly stated, upon which relief is asked are these:
The State, as a part of its economic policy, operates with its convicts three sugar plantations and three sugar mills. It is therefore a producer of sugar, which must find a market in competition with that imported from the Republic of Cuba and other sugar exporting countries.
The petition avers that under the instructions of the defendant Treasury officials Cuban sugar, since March 1, 1914, the date upon which the Underwood Tariff Act became effective, is admitted into the United States at a rate of 1 1-100 cents per pound, being 80% of 75% of the rate of duty on sugar imposed by the Dingley Tariff Act of July 24, 1897, c. 11, 30 Stat. 151, which was 1 685-1000 cents per pound. The contention made is that the rate which should be collected on Cuban sugar is the rate imposed by the Dingley tariff bill, less a reduction of 20%, making the net rate legally collectible 1 348-1000 cents per pound, as provided in the commercial treaty between the United States and the Republic of Cuba of December 1, 1902, as made effective by the act of Congress of December 17, 1903, c. 1, 33 Stat. 3, “or, in the alternative, the duty on all such sugar imported into the United States should be 75% of the Dingley bill rate, or 1 26-100 cents per pound, as provided
in the Underwood bill of October 3, 1913, without any preferential rate whatever being allowed in favor of said Cuban sugar.”
Article II of the convention referred to provides that the products of the soil or industry of Cuba not included in Article I “shall be admitted at a reduction of 20% of the rate of duty as provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897, or as may be provided by any tariff law of the United States subsequently approved." A proviso to Article VIII is in these words:
“That while this convention is in force, no sugar imported from the Republic of Cuba, and being the product of the soil or industry of the Republic of Cuba, shall be admitted into the United States at a reduction of duty greater than twenty per centum of the rates of duty thereon as provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897, and no sugar, the product of any other foreign country, shall be admitted by treaty or convention into the United States, while this convention is in force, at a lower rate of duty than that provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897.”
The reduction in all sugar duties made by the Tariff Act of 1913, effective March 1, 1914, is 25% upon the former rate of the Dingley bill, and the same act after May 1, 1916, provides for the free admission of all sugar.
The contention seems to be that the proviso, that no sugar“shall be admitted into the United States at a reduction of duty greater than 20%” of the rate of duty provided by the Dingley Act, operates to prevent any reduction in favor of Cuban sugar after March 1, 1914, since the reduction made in duty on all imported sugar, including Cuban sugar, is 23% of the Dingley rate, and that as such reduction is more than the preferential under the Cuban convention, the preferential duty under that convention ceases. Upon the other hand, the contention is that the Underwood Act manifested a plain purpose to continue a preferential of 20% upon the reduced duties provided therein, a purpose manifested by the abrogation