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EX PARTE LA PRADE, 289 U. S. 444 (1933)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte La Prade, 289 U.S. 444 (1933)

Ex Parte La Prade

No. 21, Original

Argued April 17, 18, 1933

Decided May 22, 1933

289 U.S. 444


1. A suit against a state officer in a federal court, alleging that a state statute is unconstitutional, that the defendant threatens to enforce it by suing colori officii for drastic penalties prescribed by the statute for its violation, and so will subject the plaintiff to irreparable injury unless enjoined, is a suit against the defendant as an individual, Ex parte Young, 209 U. S. 123. P. 289 U. S. 455.

2. Such a suit abates upon the defendant's retirement from office, unless it can be revived against his successor under authority of a statute. P. 289 U. S. 456.

3. Arizona laws do not provide for substitution of the successor. Irwin v. Wright, 258 U. S. 219. P. 289 U. S. 456.

4. Section 780(b), U.S.C. Title 28, providing for substitution of state officials in suits by or against them in the federal courts "relating to the present or future discharge of official duties," does not authorize the imposition of liability or restraint upon the successor on account of anything done or threatened by the predecessor individually. P. 289 U. S. 458.

5. In construing § 78, supra, which relates to substitution of both federal and state officers, it is to be borne in mind that, while Congress can direct the conduct of federal officers in proceedings brought by or against them as such, and may ordain that they may sue or be sued as representatives of the United States and stand in judgment on its behalf, it is not so empowered as to state officers. P. 289 U. S. 458.

6. Wrongs committed or threatened by an officer under an unconstitutional statute do not constitute ground for an injunction against his successor; nor does a declaration of the statute that he shall bring penalty suits to enforce it, since he might hold it unconstitutional and deem himself justified by his official oath in refraining. P. 289 U. S. 458.

7. In the absence of statutory authority, the District Court had no jurisdiction to substitute the successor as defendant in this case or to direct that the suit be continued against him. P. 289 U. S. 459.

8. The question is reserved whether or in what circumstances a successor in office who adopts the attitude of his predecessor and is proceeding or threatening to enforce an unconstitutional statute may be substituted in a pending suit. P. 289 U. S. 459.

Mandamus to issue.

Motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of mandamus requiring a circuit and two district judges to dismiss, as to the relator, two suits in which he was made party defendant by orders of substitution. The argument was on the motion for leave to file and the judges' return to an order to show cause. See 2 F.Supp. 855.

Page 289 U. S. 451

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