MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.
The certificate made by the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia as the basis for the questions which
At bar the subject is discussed as if the case were here on error or appeal and, on the other hand, it is prayed that the power conferred in a case where a certificate is pending to order up the whole record be exerted. But as the want of power in the court below to make the certificate has been suggested, and as that naturally arises on the face of the record and will, if well founded, preclude present inquiry into other questions, we come to consider that subject.
It is indisputable that the court below had no power to certify questions to this court in any case where its judgment or decree would be susceptible of review in this court on error or appeal. Arant v. Lane, 245 U.S. 166, 168.
But it is suggested that, as it was held in American Security & Trust Co. v. District of Columbia, 224 U.S. 491, that the power conferred upon this court by paragraph sixth of § 250, to review on error or appeal judgments or decrees of the court below "in cases in which the construction of any law of the United States is drawn in question by the defendant," embraced only the construction of laws of general operation as distinguished from those which were local to the District of Columbia, therefore the grant of power to determine the constitutionality of acts of Congress must be treated as applying only to such acts as are general in character, of which it is insisted the act involved in this case is not one.
But the contention disregards the suggestion of a difference between the two subjects which was made in the American Security Case, and overlooks the implication resulting from a subsequent case directly dealing with the same matter. United Surety Co. v. American Fruit Co., 238 U.S. 140.
In addition, as the paragraphs of § 250 in question but reenact provisions of prior statutes which had been construed as conveying authority to review controversies
That a decision below which merely deals with and interprets a local statute is not subject to review by error or appeal, affords no basis for saying that the exertion of the infinitely greater power to determine whether Congress had constitutional authority to pass a statute local in character should be necessarily subjected to a like limitation. To the contrary, the elementary principle is that the right to pass upon the greater question, the constitutional power of Congress, draws to it the authority to also decide all the essential incidents, even though otherwise there might not be a right to consider them. Field v. Barber Asphalt Paving Co., 194 U.S. 618, 620; Williamson v. United States, 207 U.S. 425, 432; Michigan Central R.R. Co. v. Vreeland, 227 U.S. 59, 64; Wilson v. United States, 232 U.S. 563, 565; Singer Sewing Machine Co. v. Brickell, 233 U.S. 304, 313.
It follows that the certificate must be and it is
Dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
"2. If it does, is it invalid? And if invalid, does that fact render void the entire section?
"3. Does the section require the District of Columbia to assess the bonds and other securities of the States and their municipal corporations held by residents of the District of Columbia; and if it does, does its invalidity on that account render the entire section void?"