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state court without passing upon the Federal question this court will not take cognizance of the cause. Railroad Co. v. Rock, 4 Wall. 177; Lawler v. Walker, 14 How. 149; De Saus sure v. Gaillard, 127 U. S. 216.
There are other grounds upon which the decision of the court refusing the mandamus might have been placed without touching any Federal question. A mandamus is not a writ of right in Michigan even when it is asked against a public officer to compel him to discharge a public duty. In all cases it is granted or refused in the sound discretion of the court. People v. Regents of the University of Michigan, 4 Michigan, 98; Mabley v. Superior Court Judge of Detroit, 41 Michigan, 31; Hale v. Risley, 69 Michigan, 596.
(b) The subject-matter of this controversy is not of judicial cognizance. Judicial power is, in its nature, necessarily exclusive. It does not trench upon the domain of any other department of the government. It will not allow any other department of the government to trench upon its domain. A matter is of judicial cognizance when the courts have power to dispose of it finally. Miller on the Constitution, 314; Hayburn's Case, 2 Dall. 408, 409, note; United States v. Ferreira, 13 How. 40; United States v. Yale Todd, 13 How. 52, note; In re Cooper, 143 U. S. 472.
Applying the principles of these decisions to the case at bar, we say that this controversy is not judicial, because whatever decision this court, or any other court, may make as to the validity of the state law, is subject to review by political officers and agencies. See Royce v. Goodwin, 22 Michigan, 496, and Sutherland v. The Governor, 29 Michigan, 320.
The legal status of the situation may be stated thus:
1. The canvass and final determination as to who is elected to the office of elector rests with the board of state canvassers in the first instance. This decision is not subject to review or control by any court within the State of Michigan.
2. If the decision of the board of canvassers as to who is elected to the office of presidential elector is contested, the final decision of the controversy rests in the next place with the legislature of the State in joint convention. It cannot be
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contended that the action of the legislature is subject to judicial review or control.
3. It then rests with the governor of the State, whose duty it is to certify the action of the state board of canvassers. He may have to decide between contending boards. The action of the governor, as we have already shown, is not subject to judicial review or control.
4. And, finally, the whole matter rests with both houses of the Congress of the United States.
It is manifest, therefore, that whatever decision the court may render in this case is not final, but is subject to review by the political agencies already referred to.
The object of this proceeding is not to determine whether the notice prayed for in the petition should be given, but to obtain a decision upon the validity of the State law. That decision is, as we have already seen, subject to review, and subject to be utterly disregarded by the various political agencies referred to.
II. This court is bound by the decision of the Supreme Court of Michigan as to all matters sought to be raised by the petition, except the question as to whether the state statute contravenes the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
The only conflict between the state statute and the act of Congress relates to the time of the meeting of the electors and the certification of their appointment. Wherever the state law and the act of Congress conflict, the latter of course controls. The Supreme Court of Michigan held that what remained of the state law was a valid expression of the legislative will within constitutional limitations. The validity of so much of the state statute as does not conflict with the act of Congress, barring the Federal question already referred to, is, we submit, a question of local law upon which the determination of the local tribunal is conclusive.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after stating the case as above reported, delivered the opinion of the court.1
1 The judgment of affirmance was entered as above stated October 17, 1892, and the mandate issued at once. The opinion was delivered and filed November 7, 1892.
The Supreme Court of Michigan held in effect that if the act in question were invalid, the proper remedy had been sought. In other words, if the court had been of opinion that the act was void, the writ of mandamus would have been awarded.
And, having ruled all objections to the validity of the act urged as arising under the state constitution and laws adversely to the plaintiffs in error, the court was compelled to, and did, consider and dispose of the contention that the act was invalid because repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States.
We are not authorized to revise the conclusions of the state court on these matters of local law, and those conclusions being accepted, it follows that the decision of the Federal questions is to be regarded as necessary to the determination of the cause. De Saussure v. Gaillard, 127 U. S. 216.
Inasmuch as under section 709 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, we have jurisdiction by writ of error to re-examine and reverse or affirm the final judgment in any suit in the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had, where the validity of a statute of the State is drawn in question on the ground that it is repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States and the decision is in favor of its validity, we perceive no reason for holding that this writ was improvidently brought.
It is argued that the subject-matter of the controversy is not of judicial cognizance, because it is said that all questions connected with the election of a presidential elector are political in their nature; that the court has no power finally to dispose of them; and that its decision would be subject to review by political officers and agencies, as the state board of canvassers, the legislature in joint convention, and the governor, or, finally, the Congress.
But the judicial power of the United States extends to all cases in law or equity arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and this is a case so arising, since the validity of the state law was drawn in question as repugnant to such constitution and laws, and its validity was sustained.
Boyd v. Thayer, 143 U. S. 135. And it matters not that the judgment to be reviewed may be rendered in a proceeding for mandamus. Hartman v. Greenhow, 102 U. S. 672.
As we concur with the state court, its judgment has been affirmed; if we had not, its judgment would have been reversed. In either event, the questions submitted are finally and definitively disposed of by the judgment which we pronounce, and that judgment is carried into effect by the transmission of our mandate to the state court.
The question of the validity of this act, as presented to us by this record, is a judicial question, and we cannot decline the exercise of our jurisdiction upon the inadmissible suggestion that action might be taken by political agencies in disregard of the judgment of the highest tribunal of the State as revised by our own.
On behalf of plaintiffs in error it is contended that the act is void because in conflict with (1) clause two of section one of Article II of the Constitution of the United States; (2) the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution; and (3) the act of Congress of February 3, 1887.
The second clause of section one of Article II of the Constitution is in these words: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."
The manner of the appointment of electors directed by the act of Michigan is the election of an elector and an alternate elector in each of the twelve Congressional districts into which the State of Michigan is divided, and of an elector and an alternate elector at large in each of two districts defined by the act. It is insisted that it was not competent for the legislature to direct this manner of appointment because the State is to appoint as a body politic and corporate, and so must act as a unit and cannot delegate the authority to subdivisions created for the purpose; and it is argued that the appoint
ment of electors by districts is not an appointment by the State, because all its citizens otherwise qualified are not permitted to vote for all the presidential electors.
"A State in the ordinary sense of the Constitution," said Chief Justice Chase, Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 721, " is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed." The State does not act by its people in their collective capacity, but through such political agencies as are duly constituted and established. The legislative power is the supreme authority except as limited by the constitution of the State, and the sovereignty of the people is exercised through their representatives in the legis lature unless by the fundamental law power is elsewhere reposed. The Constitution of the United States frequently refers to the State as a political community, and also in terms to the people of the several States and the citizens of each State. What is forbidden or required to be done by a State is forbidden or required of the legislative power under state constitutions as they exist. The clause under consideration does not read that the people or the citizens shall appoint, but that "each State shall"; and if the words "in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct," had been omitted, it would seem that the legislative power of appointment could not have been successfully questioned in the absence of any provision in the state constitution in that regard. Hence the insertion of those words, while operating as a limitation upon the State in respect of any attempt to circumscribe the legislative power, cannot be held to operate as a limitation on that power itself. If the legislature possesses plenary authority to direct the manner of appointment, and might itself exercise the appointing power by joint ballot or concurrence of the two houses, or according to such mode as designated, it is difficult to perceive why, if the legislature prescribes as a method of appointment choice by vote, it must necessarily be by general ticket and not by districts. In other words, the act of appointment is none the less the act of the State in its entirety because ar