MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
Having, in the cases at law, in which the opinion has just been delivered, and for reasons therein given, reached the conclusion that the dispensary law of South Carolina, approved January 2, 1895, is so far unconstitutional and void that this
The bill prays for an injunction on the several grounds of irreparable damage; that the acts complained of prevent the exercise by the complainant of his right to import without molestation lawful commodities, the products of other States; to avoid multiplicity of suits; and the want of adequate remedies at law.
The objections to proceedings against state officers by injunction are that it is, in effect, proceeding against the State itself, and that it interferes with the official discretion vested in the officers. The answer to such objections is found in a long line of decisions of this court: Osborn v. The United States Bank, 9 Wheat. 738; Dodge v. Woolsey, 18 How. 331; Board of Liquidation v. McComb, 92 U.S. 531; Cummings v. National Bank, 101 U.S. 153; Memphis & Little Rock Railroad v. Railroad Commissioners, 112 U.S. 609; Virginia Coupon cases, 114 U.S. 269, 295, 315; Pennoyer v. McConnaughy, 140 U.S. 1; Belknap v. Schild, 161 U.S. 10, 18.
In re Tyler, 149 U.S. 164, was a case where the receiver of the South Carolina Railway Company filed a bill in equity in the Circuit Court of the United States against the treasurers and sheriffs, eighteen in number, in the counties through which the railroads in his possession passed, alleging that the treasurers were about to issue tax executions and the sheriffs about to levy and seize thereunder property of the railway company for the taxes for the fiscal year beginning November 1, 1890. The bill alleged that the taxes for that fiscal year were unconstitutional and illegal in part upon various grounds; that the levy and sale of the road would cause irreparable injury; that there was no adequate remedy at law; that a multiplicity of suits would be necessary to protect his rights if he sued at law; and prayed for an injunction against the issue and levy of the tax warrants in question. After
This court denied the writ, and, speaking through the Chief Justice, thus expressed the conclusion reached in the previous cases, many of which were cited in the argument:
"The object of this petition was to protect the property, but even if it were to be regarded as a plenary bill in equity properly brought for the purpose of testing the legality of the tax, we ought to add that, in our judgment, it would not be obnoxious to the objection of being a suit against the State. It is unnecessary to retravel the ground so often traversed by this court in exposition and application of the Eleventh Amendment. The subject was but recently considered in Pennoyer v. McConnaughy, 140 U.S. 1, in which Mr. Justice Lamar, delivering the opinion of the court, cites and reviews a large number of cases. The result was correctly stated to be that where a suit is brought against defendants who claim to act as officers of a State, and, under color of an unconstitutional statute, commit acts of wrong and injury to the property of the plaintiff, to recover money or property in their hands unlawfully taken by them in behalf of the State; or for compensation for damages; or, in a proper case, for an
"And while it is conceded that the principle stated by Chief Justice Marshall in the leading case of Osborn v. Bank of the United States, 9 Wheat. 738, that `in all cases where jurisdiction depends on the party, it is the party named in the record,' and that the `Eleventh Amendment is limited to those suits in which a State is a party to the record,' had been qualified to a certain degree in some of the subsequent decisions of this court; yet it was also rightly declared that the general doctrine there announced, that the Circuit Courts of the United States will restrain a state officer from executing an unconstitutional statute of the State when to execute it would be to violate rights and privileges of the complainant that had been guaranteed by the Constitution and would do irreparable damage and injury to him, has never been departed from."
Suppose it established that the objections just mentioned fail, it is suggested that jurisdiction did not exist in the Circuit Court because the value in controversy did not exceed the sum of two thousand dollars. It is alleged in the bill, and there was evidence to show, that the complainant intends to import for his own use, from time to time as he may need the same, ales, wines and liquors, the products of other States, of the value exceeding two thousand dollars, which are threatened to be seized by the state constables, claiming to act under the dispensary law. And the agreed statement of facts contains the following statements: "Previous to filing of bill and temporary injunction granted in this case the state constables seized, intended and threatened to seize in future, all intoxicating liquors whatsoever coming into the State from other States and foreign countries, and to carry out in full all the provisions of the dispensary law of January 2, 1895; and the value of the right of importation of ales, wines and other liquors, products of other States and countries, is of the value of two thousand dollars and upwards; and the difference in the price to the consumer, like the plaintiff, of such liquor
Such statements sufficiently concede that the pecuniary value of plaintiff's rights in controversy exceed the value of two thousand dollars. Nor can it be reasonably claimed that the plaintiff must postpone his application to the Circuit Court, as a court of equity, until his property to an amount exceeding in value two thousand dollars has been actually seized and confiscated, and when the preventive remedy by injunction would be of no avail.
But while we think that the complainant was entitled to an injunction against those defendants who had despoiled him of his property, and who were threatening to continue so to do, we are unable to wholly approve the decree entered in this case.
The theory of the decree is that the plaintiff is one of a class of persons whose rights are infringed and threatened, and that he so represents such class that he may pray an injunction on behalf of all persons that constitute it. It is, indeed, possible that there may be others in like case with the plaintiff, and that such persons may be numerous, but such a state of facts is too conjectural to furnish a safe basis upon which a court of equity ought to grant an injunction. We prefer to accept, in this respect, the views expressed by Mr. Justice Nelson, in the case of Cutting v. Gilbert, 5 Blatchford, 259, 261. There a bill had been filed by several bankers, as well for themselves as all others in the same interest, against the assessor and collector of a certain tax under the ninety-ninth section of the Internal Revenue Act of June 30, 1864, seeking to restrain the collection of such tax as illegal, and the learned justice disposed of the question in the following language:
"This is a bill of peace to quiet the rights of parties, and to put an end to further litigation. The bill is founded on the idea that all persons in business as brokers, or who are bankers doing business as brokers, charged with the tax in question, have such a unity or joinder of interest in contesting it, that all may join in the bill for that purpose; and that as the
The decree is also objectionable because it enjoins persons not parties to the suit. This is not a case where the defendants named represent those not named. Nor is there alleged any conspiracy between the parties defendant and other unknown parties. The acts complained of are tortious, and do not grow out of any common action or agreement between constables and sheriffs of the State of South Carolina. We have, indeed, a right to presume that such officers, though not named in this suit, will, when advised that certain provisions of the act in question have been pronounced unconstitutional by the court to which the Constitution of the United States refers such questions, voluntarily refrain from enforcing such provisions; but we do not think it comports with well-settled principles of equity procedure to include them in an injunction in a suit in which they were not heard or represented, or to subject them to penalties for contempt in disregarding such an injunction. Fellows v. Fellows, 4 John. Chan. 25, citing Iveson v. Harris, 7 Ves. 257.
The decree of the court below should therefore be amended by being restricted to the parties named as plaintiff and defendants in the bill, and this is directed to be done, and it is otherwise
MR. JUSTICE BROWN dissented, for the reason given by him in his dissent in Scott v. Donald, ante, 102.
MR. JUSTICE BREWER did not hear the argument and took no part in the decision of this case.