of the injunction of the Chancery Court by the Attorney General or by any other law enforcement officer of New Jersey would bring upon him or them adequate punitive sanctions to be applied by the Chancellor. Moreover, Section 266 states that if the suit in the State court is not being prosecuted with diligence and good faith this court may vacate any stay issued by it. The doors of the District Court of the United States will remain open.
Finally, the plaintiffs assert that because the chancery suit was filed and the Chancellor's injunction was obtained after the entry of the temporary restraining order in this court the proviso of Section 266 hereinbefore quoted does not apply. In support of their position the plaintiffs cite Union Light, Heat & Power Co. v. Railroad Commission, D.C.E.D. Ky. 1926, 17 F.2d 143, 147, and in particular that part of the opinion which reads: 'That portion of the section dealing with abatement of the action in the federal court obviously refers to those cases where no temporary restraining order has been issued and where, before final hearing on the application for the interlocutory injunction, suit has been brought in the state court to enforce the statute or order complained of, accompanied by a stay of all proceedings under such statute or order. We cannot conceive how that portion of section 266 of the Judicial Code relied upon by the defendants can be construed to apply to a case where a temporary restraining order issued by the federal court was in full force and effect at the time those against whom it was directed instituted their suit in the state court to enforce the state statute or order complained of.'
With all respect we must state that we are unable to agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the learned Court. As we read the proviso of Section 266 there is no limitation in time save that the injunctive relief granted by the State court must have issued before the final hearing of the application for a preliminary injunction in the District Court of the United States. In the case at bar, as we have stated, the Chancellor issued his restraining order on the 19th of April, 1947, and the hearing in this court upon the application for preliminary injunction was had on April 23, 1947. The action of the Chancellor of New Jersey in our opinion is literally within the purview of the language of Section 266 hereinbefore quoted.
In their complaint, in their briefs and in their arguments the plaintiffs lay emphasis upon the denial of their civil rights by the New Jersey Act against which relief is sought. The plaintiffs assert also that the New Jersey statute deprives them of rights secured to them by Congress under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 151-166, and under the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, §§ 1501-1511. They contend in substance that since the New Jersey statute will have an impact, disastrous in their view, upon rights and privileges secured to them by the Constitution of the United States and by federal laws, this court, having first obtained jurisdiction, should presently adjudicate every pertinent question involved and should not stay its proceedings. The reach of the New Jersey Act is indeed broad, even as modified by the amendments, but we are convinced that Congress intended the effect of the proviso of Section 266 to be such that when its requirements have been met by the appropriate action in and by a State tribunal, a District Court of the United States must stay its hand unless and until the State tribunal should declare itself to be without power to determine the issues. The Constitution and laws of the United States are before the Court of Chancery of New Jersey which must determine the rights of the parties, and if there be error in the decision of that tribunal, a result which we cannot presume, an appeal lies therefrom to the Court of Errors and Appeals of New Jersey. From that Court the plaintiffs may bring their case before the Supreme Court of the United States. To assume that the plaintiffs would not receive justice under such circumstances is to presume an absurdity.
The provisions of Section 266 of the Judicial Code, as well as those of Section 265, 28 U.S.C.A. § 379, were intended to effect comity between Federal and State tribunals to preserve the independence of each. We think we need dilate no further upon this subject except to point out that in the recent decision in A.F. of L. v. Watson, 327 U.S. 582, 595-599, 66 S. Ct. 761, 90 L. Ed. 873, the Supreme Court of the United States pointed out the desirability of a district court of the United States not passing upon the merits of a controversy concerning the provisions of a State constitution until the question had been authoritatively construed by the State court. What the Supreme Court has stated in the cited case in respect to the constitution of a State we deem to be applicable to the New Jersey statute now before the Court of Chancery.
In our opinion we are required to grant the motion of the Attorney General of New Jersey for stay.
In view of what we have stated it is presently unnecessary for us to pass upon the numerous applications for intervention in the suit at bar.
An order may be submitted.