The question as to the character of interests requisite for the institution and maintenance of suits by the States of the Union has necessarily to be considered as well when individuals have been proceeded against as when States have been the parties defendant. The case of Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co.33 has been spoken of in the preceding paragraphs. A few other cases will sufficiently indicate the character and extent of this branch of the federal judicial power.

In Pennsylvania v. Wheeling & B. Bridge Co.34 upon suit of the plaintiff State the defendant was, by decree, ordered to remove or elevate a bridge which, under color of a Virginia statute, it was constructing, on the ground that it obstructed navigation to and from the ports of Pennsylvania, and that the State, as a State, was interested directly in having the obstruction removed.35

31 108 U. S. 76; 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 176; 27 L. ed. 656.

32 192 U. S. 286; 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 269; 48 L. ed. 448.

33 206 U. S. 230; 27 Sup. Ct. Rep. 618; 51 L. ed. 1038.

34 13 How. 518; 14 L. ed. 249.

35 Chief Justice Taney and Justice Daniel dissenting.

In Wisconsin v. Duluth36 suit was brought to enjoin the city of Duluth from maintaining a canal which drained water from the St. Louis river, and thus injured that stream as a channel of navigation to the detriment of the interests of the citizens of the plaintiff State. The court, however, found the United States had, as a matter of fact, assumed possession and control of the canal, and that this being so, the State of Wisconsin could not complain or be granted relief.

In Wisconsin v. Pelican Insurance Co.37 was raised the very important question as to the right of a State to sue citizens or corporations of other States to recover pecuniary penalties imposed by the criminal law of the plaintiff State.

This was an action brought upon a judgment recovered by the State of Wisconsin in one of her own courts against the Pelican Insurance Co., a Louisiana corporation, for penalties imposed by a statute of Wisconsin for not making returns to the insurance commissioner of the State as required by statute. The jurisdictional point was raised by the defendant that the judicial power of the United States, and the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court did not extend to suits, prosecuted by a State, which, on the settled principles of public and international law, could not be entertained by the judiciary of another State, and that it was one of these settled principles of law that the courts of one country or State will not execute the penal laws of another. The Supreme Court sustained the point. After a review of authorities showing that the only cases in which the courts of the United States had entertained suits by a foreign State, were to enforce demands of a civil nature,38 the opinion declares: "Notwithstanding the comprehensive words of the Constitution, the mere fact that a State is the plaintiff is not a conclusive test that the controversy is one in which this court is authorized to grant relief against another State or her citizens. . . . This court has declined to take jurisdiction of suits between States to compel the performance of obligations which, if the States had been independent nations, could not have been enforced judicially, but only through the political departments of their governments.39 . . . The rule that the courts of no country execute the penal laws of another applies not only to prosecutions and sentences for crimes and misdemeanors, but to all suits in favor of the State for the recovery of pecuniary penalties for any violation of statutes for the protection of its revenue or other municipal laws, and to all judgments for such penalties. . . . The application of the rule to the courts of the several States and of the United States is not affected by the provision of the Constitution and of the Act of Congress, by which the judgments of the courts of any State are to have such faith and credit given to them in every court within the United States as they have by law or usage in the State in which they were rendered."

36 96 U. S. 379; 24 L. ed. 668.

37 127 U. S. 265; 8 Sup. Ct Rep. 1370; 32 L. ed. 239.

38 The Sapphire, 11 Wall. 164; 20 L. ed. 127; King of Spain v. Oliver, 2 Wash. 429.

In Mississippi v. Johnson40 and Georgia v. Stanton41 the Supreme Court refused to grant injunctions restraining the defendants from executing in the course of their official duties, an act of Congress which was alleged unconstitutionally to affect the political rights of the State. The political rights, rights of sovereignty, the court held were not subjects within the power of the judiciary to determine and protect.

In Texas v. White42 proprietary rights of the State were involved, and jurisdiction was assumed by the court and relief granted. So also, in Craig v. Missouri,43 Florida v. Anderson,44 and Alabama v. Burr45 proprietary rights were involved, and jurisdiction exercised.

39 Citing (inter alia) Kentucky v. Dennison (24 How. 66; 16 L. ed.717), in which was refused a mandamus to the governor of Kentucky to compel him to surrender a fugitive from justice.

40 4 Wall. 475; 18 L. ed. 437.

41 6 Wall. 50; 18 L. ed. 721.

42 7 Wall. 700; 19 L. ed. 227.

43 4 Pet. 410; 7 L. ed. 903.

44 91 U. S. 667; 23 L. ed. 290.

45 115 U. S. 413; 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 81; 29 L. ed. 435.