Walker v. Sauvinet , 92 U.S. 90 ( 1876 )


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  • 92 U.S. 90 (____)

    WALKER
    v.
    SAUVINET.

    Supreme Court of United States.

    *92 Mr. C.W. Hornor for the plaintiff in error.

    Mr. J.Q.A. Fellows, contra.

    MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

    So far as we can discover from the record, the only Federal question decided by either one of the courts below was that which related to the right of Walker to demand a trial by jury, notwithstanding the provisions of the act of 1871 to the contrary. He insisted that he had a constitutional right to such a trial, and that the statute was void to the extent that it deprived him of this right.

    All questions arising under the Constitution of the State alone are finally settled by the judgment below. We can consider only such as grow out of the Constitution of the United States. By art. 7 of the amendments, it is provided, that "in suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved." This, as has been many times decided, relates only to trials in the courts of the United States. Edwards v. Elliot, 21 Wall. 557. The States, so far as this amendment is concerned, are left to regulate trials in their own courts in their own way. A trial by jury in suits at common law pending in the State courts is not, therefore, a privilege or immunity of national citizenship, which the States are forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment to abridge. A State cannot deprive a person of his property without due process of law; but this does not necessarily imply that all trials in the *93 State courts affecting the property of persons must be by jury. This requirement of the Constitution is met if the trial is had according to the settled course of judicial proceedings. Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken L. & I. Co., 18 How. 280. Due process of law is process due according to the law of the land. This process in the States is regulated by the law of the State. Our power over that law is only to determine whether it is in conflict with the supreme law of the land, — that is to say, with the Constitution and laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, — or with any treaty made under the authority of the United States. Art. 6 Const. Here the State court has decided that the proceeding below was in accordance with the law of the State; and we do not find that to be contrary to the Constitution, or any law or treaty of the United States.

    The other questions presented by the assignment of errors and argued here cannot be considered, as the record does not show that they were brought to the attention of either of the courts below.

    Judgment affirmed.

    MR. JUSTICE FIELD and MR. JUSTICE CLIFFORD dissented from the opinion and judgment of the court.