Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1

Document 72

Cooper v. Galbraith

6 Fed. Cas. 472, no. 3,193 C.C.D.Pa. 1819

Washington, Circuit Justice, charged the jury:

The question of jurisdiction is first to be considered. It is composed of law and fact; and as soon as the latter is ascertained, the question is relieved from every difficulty. Citizenship, when spoken of in the constitution in reference to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States, means nothing more than residence. The citizens of each state, are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states; but to give jurisdiction to the courts of the United States, the suit must be between citizens residing in different states, or between a citizen and an alien. If a citizen of one state should think proper to change his domicil, and to remove himself and family, if he have one, into another state, with a bona fide intention of abandoning his former place of residence, and to become an inhabitant or resident of the state to which he removes; he becomes, immediately upon such removal, accompanied with such intention, a resident citizen of that state, and may maintain an action in the circuit court of the state which he has abandoned, or in that of any other state, except the one in which he has settled himself. Time, in relation to his new residence, occupation, a sudden removal back to the state he had abandoned, after instituting a suit in the circuit court of that state; and the like; are circumstances which may be relied upon, to show, that his first removal was not bona fide, or intended to be permanent; but they will not be sufficient to disprove his citizenship in the place of his new domicil, and to exclude him from the jurisdiction of the circuit court for the district in which he had formerly resided; if the jury are satisfied, from the evidence, that his first removal was bona fide, and without an intention of returning. And, if the jury be so satisfied, the jurisdiction will not be ousted, though it should appear, that one of the motives of the plaintiff in removing, or indeed his only motive, was to enable him to bring a suit in a court of the United States, sitting in the state he had removed from. The circumstances to prove a bona fide intention in the lessor of the plaintiff, to change his domicil, are very strong. He was the professor of chemistry, in the College of Carlisle; the salary was small; and it is probable, insufficient to support his family. He spoke to his friends, at different times, of his determination to remove to New Orleans, or to Alabama; and there to prosecute the practice of law. He accordingly resigned his professorship, sold his furniture, broke up his family establishment; and, after spending some time in the family of a friend, as guests, he rented a house for a year, in Camden, and there re-established himself and his family. It was after this step was taken, that he was elected a professor in the university of this city; where he was seen in the forenoon attending to his duties; and in the evening he returned to his family. His occupation in Philadelphia, under these circumstances, is not of itself sufficient to disprove his having been, at the same time, a resident citizen of the state where his family was. In Hylton's Lessee v. Brown [Case No. 6,981], in this court, the case was, that Joseph Griswold, who resided with his family in New-York, came to Philadelphia, with his son, in order to establish him here as a distiller, and to instruct him in that art. He continued here, engaged in that business, for eight or nine months, returning at intervals, during that period, to visit his family; and, after he had completed the business which caused his visit to this city, he returned to his family in New-York, and there remained. The court decided, that the temporary abode of Griswold in Philadelphia, without his family, for a special purpose, with the animo revertendi always continuing, did not make him an inhabitant of this state.

Having thus stated what are the principles of law which must govern this case, the jury will decide, whether, upon the evidence, the removal of the plaintiff to New-Jersey was bona fide, and with intention to become a resident and inhabitant of that state.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1, Document 72
The University of Chicago Press

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