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International Steel & Iron Co. v. National Surety Co., 297 U.S. 657 (1936)

International Steel & Iron Co. v. National Surety Co.

No. 252

Argued January 9, 1936 and March 11, 1936

Decided March 30, 1936

297 U.S. 657


1. Jurisdiction over an appeal from a state court may be sustained with the aid of a continuance after the case has been reached for argument, by obtaining from the state court, duly certified, and adding to the record, a supplement to its opinion showing that the federal question here relied on by the appellant was raised in and decided by that court. P. 297 U. S. 662.

2. A state law relative to the settlement of public construction contracts, which attempts retroactively to release the surety on a bond given by the contractor for the security of the claims of materialmen, and to substitute therefor, without their consent, the obligation of another bond, not merely changes the remedy but destroys substantive obligations in violation of the contract clause of the Constitution. P. 297 U. S. 662.

3. A party whose rights under the Federal Constitution are prejudiced by a decision of a state supreme court construing a state statute for the first time is not estopped from attacking the decision on appeal because he did not anticipate such construction in the earlier stages of the case, but relied upon another, not unreasonable, construction of the statute and invoked it in his own behalf. P. 297 U. S. 665.

4. The rule that, when the decision of a state court may rest upon a nonfederal ground adequate to support it, this Court will not take jurisdiction to determine the federal question has no application where, as here, the nonfederal ground might have been considered by the state court, but was not. P. 297 U. S. 666.


Appeal from a judgment affirming a Judgment of the state court of appeals, which reversed a decree of the chancellor, in a suit involving the question of the liability of the surety company on a contractor's bond as affected by a statute of the State.

Page 297 U. S. 658

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