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courts to interfere, so as to review, and, if necessary, correct their decision? No doubt, the functions and authority of the courts do extend to all questions of right arising between private persons, and between private persons and corporations, and in the management of private corporations; and this cannot be changed by the legislature, because it is declared by the constitution, in providing for the judicial department, and assuring to every one a remedy by due course of law. It is founded on the principle, that it is necessary for the order of society, and for the security of persons and property, and that for every wrong, which society recognises as a wrong, there should be a remedy in some regular and established form. But though the courts have this general and indefeasible authority, they never feel themselves entitled to exercise it, when the parties to the question have provided a mode of their own for settling their differences, unless that mode prove inadequate, for they could not do it without violence to the proper arrangements of the parties. In other words, society does not need to interfere by its courts and remedies, when the parties have provided a sufficient tribunal of their own; and no question for the courts is considered as being properly raised, unless the private remedy has, in some measure, failed in its purpose.
Thus, when parties submit their differences to arbitrators, and an award is made, the courts do not try the case over again; but only enforce the award, if that is necessary. And so in regard to private corporations; if the articles of association, or the charter, provide a mode of settling disputes about the corporate rights of the members, the courts do not feel inclined to interfere, unless where the corporate remedy is inadequate; and a remedy is not regarded as inadequate, merely because it produces unsatisfactory results, but because it has some inherent inadequacy, or has resulted in some impracticable decision, or has been defeated of its purpose by some fraudulent contrivance; no mere misjudgment, in such cases, is suffi
cient to justify the intervention of the courts, for no human tribunal can be exempt from this, and especially, from the charge of it. Exactly the same is the rule relative to disputes arising in the official organization of public corporations. The constitution does not require any judicial intervention therein, and the legislature may dispense with it; and whenever the corporate law provides a mode of settling disputes therein, without the intervention of the courts, that mode is deemed exclusive of the ordinary remedies, and the judicial authority is dispensed with, because adequately supplied. The two political parties in Philadelphia were in dispute before us twice, on this point, during the first year and the year before, in Hulseman's case (41 Penn. St. R. 396), and the sheriff's case (43 Ibid. 384), and both times we decided this principle as we now decide it; we cannot surrender it.
In none of these classes of cases, does this rule leave the parties without a remedy; but it refers them very decidedly to the remedy, public or private, which has been specially provided; and it is usually, after this remedy has disappointed their wishes, that they complain of the want of an adequate remedy. Their meaning, then, ordinarily is, that the special remedy has produced an unfavorable or displeasing result, and that there ought to be a remedy for that; an argument that would allow no human tribunal to render a final decision in any cause. And perhaps this rule ought to be regarded as much less subject to equitable exceptions, in its application to public, than in its application to private causes; because measures of social organization are not necessarily subject to judicial cognisance, whilst questions of private right are. Yet we are far from saying, that there can be no case in which the courts would be justified in interfering with the administration of such special remedies, even in public cases.
Here, it is clear, that the remedy for the case of a disqualified member, is given to the council; it must judge and determine the question, and remove or not, according
to its decision. That remedy sets aside the judicial authority, in such cases, except where it is retained by equitable considerations. We discover no such equitable reasons here; we do not even discover that there was any clear misjudgment. The supreme court seems to have had much hesitation in saying, that the designation of Mr. Binns's newspaper, for the publication of the United States laws, was not an appointment of him to an office (17 S. & R. 219); and probably they would have hesitated much more to say so, in such a case as this, where the person appears in the government Blue Book, as an officer of trust, salary and authority. But the case does not need this consideration; no sort of equity is pretended to be shown, in order to justify a departure from the remedy specially given by the law; no equitable remedy is sought; our case is one of pure law, in the form of a mandamus, and pure law rejects that as a remedy for the case. The point taken in the return is sustained, and the demurrer of the plaintiff is overruled.
Judgment for defendants.
That the acceptance of a disqualifying office, after the member has taken his seat, operates as a forfeiture of it, has been repeatedly decided by congress, in the case of members of the house of representatives. Van Ness's Case, 1 Cong. Elect. Cas. 122; Zell's Case, 2 Ibid. 92; Byington v. Vandever, Ibid. 395; Stanton v. Lane, Ibid. 637.
COMMONWEALTH v. GARRIGUES.
In the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
JANUARY TERM 1857.
(REPORTED 28 PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPORTS 9.)
Where a statute prescribes a mode for inquiring into, and determining the regularity and legality of a municipal election, and provides that the decision of the tribunal shall be final, such jurisdiction is exclusive, and a writ of quo warrante will not lie.
This was a writ of quo warranto issued upon the suggestion of the attorney-general against William Garrigues, the defendant, to show by what warrant he claimed to exercise the office of alderman of the Twenty-fourth ward of the city of Philadelphia. The defendant pleaded to the jurisdiction, on the ground that under the act of 1854, the election could only be contested by proceedings for that purpose in the court of common pleas of Philadelphia. To this plea the commonwealth demurred.
Waite, for the commonwealth.
Townsend, for the defendant.
LEWIS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the court. The act of 2d February 1854, provides that the returns of all municipal elections (with exceptions not material to the present case), "shall be subject to the inquiry and determination of the court of common pleas of the county of Philadelphia, upon the complaint of fifteen or more of the qualified voters of the proper ward or division, which complaint shall be filed in the said court, within twenty days after such election," &c., and "the said court, in judging of such elections, shall proceed upon the merits
thereof, and determine finally concerning the same, according to the laws of the commonwealth." If the election of William Garrigues had been contested in the manner thus prescribed, the judgment of the court of common pleas would have been final; it would not have been reversed by quo warranto, nor by any other collateral proceeding; even a certiorari would only draw into review in this court the regularity of the proceedings, without reaching the merits of the case, as disclosed in the evidence; on the merits, the judgment of the common pleas, by the terms of the act of 1854, is final and conclusive.
In addition to the provision of the statute to this effect, the principle of the common law produces the same result. It is the interest of the public, that there should be an end of contention; justice to the parties requires, that no one should be twice vexed for the same cause; for these reasons, the general rule of the common law has been established, that no judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction can be re-examined in a collateral proceeding. If the election had been contested in the manner prescribed by the statute, the decree of the common pleas could not have been re-examined in this form of action; can the commonwealth gain any advantage by disregarding the requirements of the statute? The act of 1806 furnishes an answer to this question; the remedy prescribed by the statute must be pursued.
But it is argued, that the commonwealth is not bound by the statute. It is true, that the general rule in England is, that the king is not bound by a statute, if he be not named in it; but this rule has many exceptions. All statutes made to suppress wrong, to take away fraud, to prevent the decay of religion, to prevent tortious usurpations, or to secure to electors the right to make free election, are excepted out of this rule, in England, and bind the king, although he be not named. 5 Co. 146; Dwarris on Stat. 27-8. The act of 1854 comes within the spirit of several of these exceptions. In addition to this, the