Constitutional Law – Due Process – Dismissal of Appeal as Exercise of Contempt Power

A superior court of the state of Washington rendered a $475,000 judgment against the petitioner union for the circulation of a libelous letter. The union filed an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court but obtained no stay of proceedings in the lower court because it made no offer of the required supersedeas bond. In a supplemental proceeding it was learned that the union had no substantial assets in Washington but did have $298,000 of United States bonds in its possession in California. The Superior Court ordered the union to deliver these bonds to the court’s receiver to protect the judgment creditors pending the appeal of the main action. Upon failure to comply with the court order, the union was held in contempt. The Washington Supreme Court affirmed the contempt and ordered the appeal in the main action dismissed if the union did not purge itself of contempt within fifteen days. The condition was not met and the appeal was dismissed. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, affirmed, two justices dissenting. The dismissal of the union’s appeal was a reasonable action taken to sustain the effectiveness of the state’s judicial process and did not violate due process of law. National Union of Marine Cooks and Stewards v. Arnold, 348 U.S. 37, 75 S.Ct. 92 (1954).