Service as a Requirement of Due Process in Actions in Personam

A prime requisite of due process is, of course, that the court shall have jurisdiction of the subject-matter. “To give such proceedings any validity, there must be a tribunal competent by its constitution-that is, by the law of its creation-to pass upon the subject-matter of the suit.”‘ In proceedings in personam-proceedings to determine the personal liability of the defendant, no property being brought by the proceedings within the control of the court-the court must also have jurisdiction of the defendant. Attempts have repeatedly been made to take jurisdiction of nonresident defendants through service by publication or through personal service made outside of the state in which the action is brought. The Supreme Court has held that such procedure does not give jurisdiction of the non-resident, for a state cannot in that way extend its jurisdiction beyond its territorial limits. The defendant “must be brought within its jurisdiction by service of process in the State, or by his voluntary appearance.”2