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1825. tions made by the States must apply equally to Wayman M otheir own Courts; and it was an inadmissible and
extravagant supposition, that any State would Southard.
thus entirely suspend the course of civil justice.
The cause was continued to the present term for advisement.
Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court, and, after stating the case, proceeded as follows:
Some preliminary objections have been made by the counsel for the defendants, to the manner in which these questions are brought before the Court, which are to be disposed of before the questions themselves can be considered.
It is said that the proceeding was cx parte. The law which empowers this Court to take cognizance of questions adjourned from a Circuit, gives jurisdiction over the single point on which the Judges were divided, not over the whole cause. The inquiry, therefore, whether the par
ties were properly before the Circuit Court, can- 1825. not be made, at this time, in this place.
Wayman The defendants also insist, that the judgment, the execution, and the return, ought to be stated, in order to enable this Court to decide the question which is adjourned.
But the questions do not arise on the judgment, or the execution ; and, so far as they depend on the return, enough of that is stated, to show the Court, that the Marshal had proceeded according to the late laws of Kentucky. In a general question respecting the obligation of these laws on the officer, it is immaterial whether he has been exact, or otherwise, in his observance of them. It is the principle on which the Judges were divided, and that alone is referred to this Court.
In arguing the first question, the plaintiffs contend, that the common law, as modified by acts of Congress, and the rules of this Court, and of the Circuit Court by which the judgment was rendered, must govern the officer in all his proceedings upon executions of every description. One of the counsel for the defendants insists, Congress has
power to reguthat Congress has no power over executions late the proissued on judgments obtained by individuals; and ses, in the that the authority of the States, on this subject, Union. remains unaffected by the constitution. That the government of the Union cannot, by law, regulate the conduct of its officers in the service of executions on judgments rendered in the Federal Courts; but that the State legislatures retain complete authority over them.
The Court eannot accede to this novel con
cess in all ca
tates on this whine Courts of the v.
1825. struction. The constitution concludes its enu
meration of granted powers, with a clause authoWayman
rizing Congress to make all laws which shall be Southard.
necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. The judicial department is invested with jurisdiction in certain specified cases, in all which it has power to render judgment.
That a power to make laws for carrying into execution all the judgments which the judicial department has power to pronounce, is expressly conferred by this clause, seems to be one of those plain propositions which reasoning cannot render plainer. The terms of the clause, neither require nor admit of elucidation. The Court, therefore, will only say, that no doubt whatever is entertained on the power of Congress over the subject. The only inquiry is, how far has this
power been exercised ? tion of the sur The 13th section of the Judiciary Act of 1789, diciary Act of c. 20. describes the jurisdiction of the Supreme 1789, c. 20. au.
e Court, and grants the power to issue writs of proCourts of the U. S. to issue hibition and mandamus, in certain specified cation, as well as ses. The 14th section enacts, “ that all the be
fore mentioned Courts of the United States shall have power to issue writs of scire facias, habeas corpus, and all other writs not specially provided by statute, which may be necessary for the exercise of their respective jurisdictions, and agreeable to the principles and usages of law.” The 17th section authorizes the Courts “ to make all necessary rules for the orderly conducting busi
The 14th sec
writs of execu
ness in the said Courts ;” and the 18th, empow- 1825. ers a Court to suspend execution, in order to give
Wayman time for granting a new trial. These sections have been relied on by the coun
Southard. sel for the plaintiffs.
The words of the 14th are understood by the Court to comprehend executions. An execution is a writ, which is certainly “ agreeable to the principles and usages of law.”
There is no reason for supposing that the general term “writs,” is restrained by the words, “ which may be necessary for the exercise of their respective jurisdictions,” to original process, or to process anterior to judgments. The jurisdiction of a Court is not exhausted by the rendition of its judgment, but continues until that judgment shall be satisfied. Many questions arise on the process subsequent to the judgment, in which jurisdiction is to be exercised. It is, therefore, no unreasonable extension of the words of the act, to suppose an execution necessary for the exercise of jurisdiction. Were it even true, that jurisdiction could technically be said to terminate with the judgment, an execution would be a writ necessary for the perfection of that which was previously done; and would, consequently, be necessary to the beneficial exercise of jurisdiction. If any doubt could exist on this subject, the 18th section, which treats of the authority of the Court over its executions as actually existing, certainly implies, that the power to issue them had been granted in the 14th section. : The same implication is afforded by the 24th
1825. and 25th sections, both of which proceed on the
idea that the power to issue writs of execution Wayman
was in possession of the Courts. So, too, the Southard.
Process Act, which was depending at the same time with the Judiciary Act, prescribes the forms of executions, but does not give a power to issue them.
On the clearest principles of just construction, then, the 14th section of the Judiciary Act must be understood, as giving to the Courts of the
Union, respectively, a power to issue executions · on their judgments.
But this section provides singly for issuing the writ, and prescribes no rule for the conduct of the officer while obeying its mandate. It has been contended, that the 34th section of the act
supplies this deficiency. The 34th sec- That section enacts, “ that the laws of the tion of the Jue diciary Act of several States, except where the constitution, 1789, c. 20. does not apply treaties, or statutes, of the United States, shall
or otherwise require or provide, shall be regarded the Courts.
as rules of decision in trials at common law, in the Courts of the United States, in cases where they apply.”
This section has never, so far as is recollected, received a construction in this Court ; but it has, we believe, been generally considered by gentlemen of the profession, as furnishing a rule to guide the Court in the formation of its judgment; not one for carrying that judgment into execution. It is “a rule of decision,” and the proceedings after judgment are merely ministerial. It is, too, “ a rule of decision in trials at
to the P