Frothingham v. Mellon

288 F. 252 (D.C. Cir. 1923)

 

RULE:

While the government is not entitled to any privilege in the courts, so far as the merits of a controversy between it and a citizen are concerned, when a showing is made by the government that public policy requires the advancement of a cause, and the other party joins in the showing, the court thinks it not improper to grant the request.

FACTS:

The suit was based on the assumption that the Act of Congress approved November 23, 1921, and otherwise known as the Maternity Bill, was an unwarranted exercise of power by Congress. An injunction was sought to restrain appellee government from enforcing it. The trial court sustained a motion to dismiss the bill. Pending in the Supreme Court was another case that involved the same question, which was set for hearing on the April 9th. The government counsel suggested there was doubt as to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain it. Both cases involved a matter of great public interest which should be adjudicated at an early date. For these reasons the government, with the individual concurring, asked the court to expedite the disposition of the case so that an appeal may be lodged in the Supreme Court in time to be argued and submitted with the other case.

ISSUE:

May the government motion the trial court to expedite the disposition of a case and directly appeal the same to the Supreme Court on the ground of great public interest?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court granted the request and held that pro forma that the decree should be affirmed. Further, the motion for appeal to the Supreme Court was granted. While the government is not entitled to any privilege in the courts, so far as the merits of a controversy between it and a citizen are concerned, when a showing is made by the government that public policy requires the advancement of a cause, and the other party joins in the showing, the court thinks it not improper to grant the request.

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