Minor v. Tillotson (42 U.S. 287)
Webster, of counsel for the defendant, moved to dismiss the writ of error in this case, for the following reasons:
1. Because this court has no jurisdiction on writs of error of any question apparent in this record.
2. Because the record does not show any question of law to have been decided in the court below, which this court can revise.
3. Because there is no question of law stated on the record by bill of exception; nor any special verdict, or agreed state of facts, or any unquestioned evidence of facts, on which any question of law can arise.
4. Because it does not appear whether any, or, if any, what matter of law was in dispute between the parties.
The action was brought to recover certain tracts of land. Two trials had been had; the verdict rendered on the first had been set aside by the court, and the judgment rendered on the second verdict reversed by this court.
Another jury was empannelled to try the cause, June 11, 1839; and after the trial had proceeded for some time, the parties agreed that the whole case should be submitted to the court, on the facts and the law, and that the judge should state the facts as he should find them; that such statement might be regarded as a special verdict.
On the 10th April, 1840, the court rendered a general judgment for the defendant, without making any statement of facts whatever. And thereupon, the next day, April 11, 1840, the parties agreed that all documents, plans, depositions, evidence, and exhibits, read in the cause, should be taken for a statement of facts in the case. The whole mass, therefore, of various and conflicting evidence, mixed up with questions of law, if there be such questions, is submitted to the decision of the judges of this court. This is a form of exercising its appellate jurisdiction on writs of error which it is not supposed to be competent to this court to adopt. 2 Wheat. 363; 3 Peters, 410; 16 Peters, 169.
Walker opposed the motion, and contended that there were three questions of law in the case, and that the statement of the judge was adopted, by agreement, as a special verdict.
Mr. Chief Justice TANEY delivered the opinion of the court.