339 U.S. 321
70 S.Ct. 640
94 L.Ed. 877
SHIPMAN et al.
DU PRE et al.
On Jurisdictional Statement Distributed
March 31, 1950.
Decided April 24, 1950.
Mr. Aaron Kravitch, Savannah, Ga. Phyllis Kravitch, Savannah, Ga., Mr. Joseph Fromberg, Charleston, S.C., for appellants.
Messrs. John M. Daniel, Columbia, S.C., T. C. Callision, Lexington, S.C., R. Hoke Robinson, Asst. Atty. Gen. of South Carolina, for appellees.
Appellants sought a declaratory judgment that certain sections of the South Carolina statute, Code 1942, § 3408, as amended by Act April 21, 1948, 45 St. at Large, p. 2059, regulating the fisheries and shrimping industry were unconstitutional and interlocutory and permanent injunctions restraining the state officials from carrying out those provisions. The statutory three-judge District Court assumed jurisdiction, decided the issues on the merits, and dismissed the complaint. 88 F.Supp. 482. From the papers submitted on appeal, it does not appear that the statutory sections in question have as yet been construed by the state courts. We are therefore of opinion that the District Court erred in disposing of the complaint on the merits. See American Federation of Labor v. Watson, 327 U.S. 582, 595—599, 66 S.Ct. 761, 767—769, 90 L.Ed. 873.
The judgment of the District Court is vacated and the cause is remanded to that court with directions to retain jurisdiction of the complaint for a reasonable time, to afford appellants an opportunity to obtain, by appropriate proceedings, a construction by the state court of the statutory provisions involved.
Judgment vacated and cause remanded with directions.
Mr. Justice DOUGLAS dissents.