MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.
By an act of Congress approved June 16, 1880, c. 243, the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims was extended to all claims then existing against the District of Columbia arising out of contracts by the late Board of Public Works and extensions thereof made by the Commissioners of the District, as well as to such claims as had arisen out of contracts by the District Commissioners after the passage of the act of June 20, 1874, 18 Stat. 116, c. 337, and all claims for work done by the order or direction of the Commissioners and accepted by them for the use, purposes or benefit of the District prior to March 14,
By the same act it was provided that if no appeal was taken from the judgment of the Court of Claims in the cases therein provided for, within the term limited by law for appealing from the judgments of that court, "and in all cases of final judgments by the Court of Claims, or, on appeal, by the Supreme Court where the same are affirmed in favor of the claimant, the sum due thereby shall be paid, as hereinafter provided, by the Secretary of the Treasury." § 5.
These consolidated suits were brought under the above act, and within the time limited by its provisions.
In the progress of the cause a judgment was rendered in one of the cases in favor of the District for $658.05, and in the others the petitions were severally dismissed. New trials were granted in each case, and time was given for further proof.
By an act of Congress approved February 13, 1895, c. 87, amendatory of the above act of June 16, 1880, it was provided that in the adjudication of claims brought under the act of 1880, "the Court of Claims shall allow the rates established by the Board of Public Works; and whenever said rates have not been allowed, the claimant or his personal representative shall be entitled, on motion made within sixty days after the passage of this act, to a new trial of such cause." 28 Stat. 664.
The cases were heard on the exceptions of the defendant to a referee's report, and the aggregate amount found due from the District was $13,458.33. And the record states that upon the facts set forth in the referee's report "the court, under the act of February 13, 1895, 28 Stat. 664, and in accordance with the agreement of the parties, decides as conclusions of law as to the said sum of $13,458.33, so found due from the District of Columbia, that the several claimants named below each recover judgment against the United States in the amounts stated, viz."
The order referring the cause for a statement of the several accounts was made after the passage of the act of February 13, 1895, and the referee's report was made pursuant to the provisions of that act.
In accordance with the findings of fact and of law the court, on the 22d of June, 1896, entered final judgment in favor of the respective claimants for the amounts found due them respectively, the judgment upon its face purporting to be "within the intent and meaning of the act of February 13, 1895."
On the 3d of September, 1896, the District of Columbia, by the Attorney General of the United States, made application for and gave notice of an appeal to this court. Subsequently, February 25, 1897, the District moved to set aside the judgment of June 22, 1896, and to grant a new trial.
While the motion for new trial was pending Congress passed the act of March 3, 1897, c. 387, making appropriations for the expenses of the government of the District for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1898. That act among other things provided that the above act of February 13, 1895, "be, and the same is hereby, repealed, and all proceedings pending shall be vacated, and no judgment heretofore rendered in pursuance of said act shall be paid." 29 Stat. 665, 669.
Our attention was called by counsel to the case of In re Hall, 167 U.S. 38, 41, in which it is stated that the Court of Claims made the following general order: "The act of 13 February, 1895, 28 Stat. 664, having been repealed by Congress, it is ordered in all suits brought under or subsequent to said act that motions for new trial, applications for judgments and all other papers in such suits be restored to and retained upon the files of the court without further proceedings being had." This order is not found in the present record.
What was the effect of the act of 1897 upon the power of this court to reexamine the final judgment of the Court of Claims in these cases? In our opinion, there can be only one solution of this question.
The present cases were brought under the act of 1895, and
It results that:
As no judgment now rendered by this court would have the sanction that attends the exercise of judicial power, in its legal or constitutional sense, the present appeal must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction and without any determination of the rights of the parties. It is so ordered.