Contempt by Disobedience of Orders.

Disobedience of in- junctive orders, particularly in labor disputes, has been a fruitful source of cases dealing with contempt of court. In United States v. United Mine Workers,242 the Court held, first, that disobedience of a temporary restraining order issued for the purpose of maintaining existing conditions, pending the determination of the court’s jurisdiction, is punishable as criminal contempt where the issue is not frivolous, but substantial.243 Second, the Court held that an order issued by a court with jurisdiction over the subject matter and person must be obeyed by the parties until it is reversed by orderly and proper proceedings, even though the statute under which the order is issued is unconstitutional.244 Third, on the basis of United States v. Shipp,245 the Court held that violations of a court’s order are punishable as criminal contempt, even if the order is set aside on appeal as in excess of the court’s jurisdiction and even if the basic action has become moot.246 Finally, the Court held that conduct can amount to both civil and criminal contempt, and the same acts may justify a court in resorting to coercive and punitive measures, which may be imposed in a single proceeding.247


330 U.S. 258 (1947). See also International Union, UMW v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821 (1994). back
330 U.S. at 292–93. back
330 U.S. at 293. See Walker v. City of Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307 (1967). back
203 U.S. 563 (1906). back
330 U.S. at 290–92. back
330 U.S. at 299. But see Cheff v. Schnackenberg, 384 U.S. 273 (1966), and “Due Process Limitations on Contempt Power: Right to Jury Trial,” supra. back