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KNOX V. EXCHANGE BANK, 79 U. S. 379 (1870)

U.S. Supreme Court

Knox v. Exchange Bank, 79 U.S. 12 Wall. 379 379 (1870)

Knox v. Exchange Bank

79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 379


1. A party to an action who has received his discharge in bankruptcy pending the action has no further interest in the suit, and therefore cannot bring a writ of error to a judgment rendered against him before receiving such discharge.

2. The assignee of the bankrupt is the proper party to bring error in such case.

3. This Court cannot entertain jurisdiction of a case from a state court, because the judgment of that court impairs or fails to give effect to a contract.

4. The judgment must give effect to some state statute or state constitution which impairs the obligation of a contract, or is alleged to do so by the plaintiff in error, or the case for review here does not arise.

5. It is not sufficient in such case that the party in his pleading or the counsel in argument assailed such statute on that ground. And it must appear that the state court rested its judgment on the validity of the statute, either expressly or by necessary intendments.

6. Hence, if the judgment of the court would have been the same without the aid of the special statutory provisions assailed by the plaintiff in error, there is no case for review in this Court.

The Exchange Bank of Virginia was, by its charter, authorized to issue notes of circulation, which were made a valid tender to the bank in payment of any debt due to it. After the war of the rebellion was over, a law was passed, February 12, 1866, authorizing the insolvent banks of the state to make general assignments for the benefit of their creditors. The Exchange Bank, being in that condition, made such an assignment, and the assignee sued Knox & Brothers, and also J. S. Knox, upon a negotiable note. The pleas were nil debet, tender and offset, and these were the issues. In the progress of the case, the defendants brought into court and tendered notes of the bank sufficient to cover the debt, interest, and costs to that date, which they pleaded in payment.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia, in the judgment which the present writ was designed to bring before this Court,

Page 79 U. S. 380

held that this could not be done, and gave judgment accordingly. From that judgment the case was brought here under an assumption that it was within the 25th section of the Judiciary Act, which provides that a final judgment of the highest court of a state,

"where is drawn in question the validity of a statute . . . of any state on the ground of its being repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, and the decision is in favor of such, its validity may be reexamined and reversed"

in this Court.

Page 79 U. S. 382

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