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EX PARTE REPUBLIC OF PERU, 318 U. S. 578 (1943)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ex parte Republic of Peru, 318 U.S. 578 (1943)

Ex parte Republic of Peru

No. 13, original

Argued March l, 1943

Decided April 5, 1943

318 U.S. 578


1. This Court has power, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 342, 377, to issue a writ of prohibition or mandamus to restrain the district court from exercise of further jurisdiction in rem, in an admiralty suit, although the case be one in which direct appellate jurisdiction is vested in the circuit court of appeals, this Court having ultimate discretionary jurisdiction by certiorari; but such power will be exercised only where the question is of public importance or is of such nature that the exercise of such power is peculiarly appropriate. Ex parte United States, 287 U. S. 241. Pp. 318 U. S. 582, 318 U. S. 586.

2. A case of that character is presented by the claim of a friendly foreign state that its vessel, seized by the district court under a libel in rem in a private litigation, should be released as immune from suit, which claim of immunity had been recognized by the Department of State, whose action has been certified to the district court. P. 318 U. S. 586.

3. In a suit in rem in admiralty by a private libelant for breach of a charter party, the district court acquired jurisdiction in rem by seizure and control of a vessel owned by the Republic of Peru. The Republic moved for release of the vessel upon the ground of sovereign immunity from suit and there was presented to the court by the Attorney General a certification showing that such immunity had been recognized and allowed by the State Department. Held:

Page 318 U. S. 579

that it was the duty of the court to surrender the vessel and remit the libelant to the relief obtainable by diplomatic negotiation. P. 318 U. S. 587.

4. The Republic of Peru did not waive its claim of immunity by urging it both before the Department of State and the court or by reserving the right to interpose other defense. P. 318 U. S. 589.

Leave to file granted.

On motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of prohibition and/or mandamus to prohibit the district court from further exercise of jurisdiction over a proceeding in rem in which a vessel was seized, and to direct the district judge to enter an order declaring the vessel immune.

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