« PreviousContinue »
A statute giving a municipal corporation the right to purchase the property of a private corporation at the expiration of its charter, may be repealed or modified at pleasure. Crescent C. G. Co. v. New Orleans G. Co. 27 La. Ann. 138.
The legislature may unite and divide townships and their school funds as it may think best. Greenleaf v. Township, 22 Ill. 236.
A statute taking part of the territory of one municipal corporation and giving it to another does not impair the obligation of the contract made by the former with its creditors. Wade v. Richmond, 18 Gratt. 583.
A State may repeal or alter the charter of an eleemosynary corporation established for educational purposes, where it is the sole contributor of the fund which supports it, and creates a corporation for the purpose simply of carrying out its objects. Dart v. Houston, 22 Geo. 506; Trustees v. Winston, 5 Stew. & Port. 17; Bass v. Fontleroy, ni Tex. 698; Mobile School Com. v. Putnam, 44 Ala. 406.
The legislature may release a party from a contract entered into with a public corporation in relation to public property. The corporation is simply the agent authorized to bind the people. In conferring this authority the legislature acted for the people. The legislature can also revoke or resume this authority at any time, or confer it upon others. The legislature may also, either by its direct action, or by authority conferred upon and exercised by any designated agents, modify or rescind the contract, with the assent of the other party. People v. Fishkill Plank Road Co. 27 Barb. 445.
The legislature can not require a municipal corporation to rescind a contract for the sale of land held by it for the purposes of education. Butler v. Chariton, 13 Mo. 112.
The legislature can not alter or revoke a municipal charter so as to destroy the lawful contracts of the corporation, or enact a law impairing the obligation of a contract made by a municipal corporation. Bleakley v. Williams, 20 Pitts. L. J. 66.
If a charter of a private corporation provides that a municipal corporation may purchase the property of the former after the expiration of a certain time, and issue bonds therefor, any subsequent act forbidding the issue of the bonds or imposing onerous conditions upon their issue, as that the question of their issue shall be submitted to a vote of the electors, or that the ordinance allowing the issue shall provide for their payment, is void. Sala v. New Orleans, 2 Woods, 188.
If a State law authorizes a municipal corporation to issue bonds and levy a tax to pay the indebtedness, no subsequent act can destroy the corporation, and thus impair the obligation of the contract. Milner v. Pensacola, 2 Woods, 632.
An amendment to a charter allowing municipal corporations to subscribe to the stock may be repealed before the subscriptions are completed. Cov. & L. R. R. Co. v. Kenton, 12 B. Mon. 144.
A State can not release a municipal corporation from its contracts. Davenport Co. v. Davenport, 13 Iowa, 229.
The legislature may provide that the filing of the affidavits of the consent of the tax-payers to a subscription by a municipal corporation for the stock of a private corporation shall be conclusive evidence of such consent. People v. Mitchell, 45 Barb. 208.
A statute to be accepted by a municipal corporation and a private corporation may constitute a contract. Central Bridge v. Lowell, 81 Mass. 106.
The legislature may authorize a county corporation to change the mode of paying its subscription to a private corporation, with the consent of the latter. L. & N. R. R. Co. v. Davidson, 1 Sneed, 637.
A State may prohibit a public corporation from subscribing to the stock of a private corporation, although the subscription has been sanctioned by a vote of the people of the county or city, for until the subscription is made the contract is unexecuted, and obligatory upon
neither party. Aspinwall v. Commissioners, 22 How. 364.
A State during a civil war has the right to take measures to remove those who refuse to take an oath of allegiance from the management of corporations of a public nature. State v. Adams, 44 Mo. 570.
The legislature may confirm an election of municipal officers made by mistake prior to the act of incorporation. State v. Kline, 23 Ark. 587.
The power conferred upon a municipal corporation to grant licenses may be withdrawn. Morris v. People, 13 Wend. 325; Gatzweiller v. People, 14 Ill. 142.
A forfeiture in favor of a municipal corporation may be waived, even after it has been incurred. State v. Railroad Co. 3 How. 534 ; S. C. 12 G. & J. 399; Coles v. Madison, Breese, 115.
The power conferred upon a municipal corporation to raise a revenue by taxation is a political power, and its application when collected must necessarily be within the control of the legislature for political purposes. People v. Power, 25 III. 187.
If a municipal corporation by its charter, or in any other way, is made the trustee of an estate, its right and title as such is subject to be defeated whenever the State shall deem it necessary to abolish its existence as a municipal organization. Montpelier v. East Montpelier, 29 Vt. 12; Bass v. Fontleroy, 11 Tex. 698.
If the legislature gives the revenues accruing from a ferry to a municipal corporation, without any consideration inuring to the State or onerous condition imposed upon the corporation, it does not deprive itself, by express or implied contract, of the power of repealing or altering the law at will. It may take those revenues, or a portion of them, from the corporation, and appropriate them to other purposes. Police Jury v. Shreveport, 5 La. Ann. 661; Manks v. Donaldson, 24 La. Ann. 242.
Where an act of Congress granting lands to the inhabitants of a township for the use of schools has been accepted by the State, the State legislature can not divert the fund from the use, although it may abolish the township. State v. Springfield, 6 Ind. 83; Morton v. Granada Academy, 16 Miss. 773
A charter exempting the capital stock of the corporation from all taxation except for State purposes, is binding on a municipal corporation, for it is a modification of the charter of the latter. State Bank v. Madison, 3 Ind. 43; Bank v. New Albany, 11 Ind. 139.
The legislature can not divest a municipal corporation of its private property without the consent of its inhabitants. Milwaukee v. Milwaukee, 12 Wis. 93 ; Grogan v. San Francisco, 18 Cal. 590.
If an act of the legislature grants bonds to a municipal corporation, a subsequent statute vesting a right to the bonds in others is void. Spaulding v. Andover, 54 N. H. 38.
If money is raised by a municipal corporation by taxation to aid in building a railroad, and it takes stock in its own name, a subsequent statute requiring that the railroad corporation shall issue stock to the taxpayers in proportion to the taxes paid by them, does not impair the obligation of contracts. Commissioners v. Lucas, 93 U. S. 108.
Where a municipal corporation has condemned land as a highway, and paid for the same, a State can not diminish the width of the highway, and give the land back to the former owner. People v. Commissioners, 53 Barb. 70; s. C. 47 N. Y. 501.
Remedies. The remedy is not a part of the contract itself, nor does the obligation Xe
of a contract consist in any particular form of the remedy. It is only necessary that there should be an adequate subsisting remedy. It is therefore competent for the legislature to change the remedy. Every form of remedy is a mere question of policy over which the legislature has entire control, so that the power to enforce the duty be not weakened. If the remedy given be as good as that which was taken away, the obligation of the contract is not thereby impaired. McMillan v. Sprague, 4 How. (Miss.) 647 ; Lapsley v. Brashears, 4 Litt. 47; Davis v. Ballard, 1 J. J. Marsh. 563; Bronson v. Kinzie, i How. 311; Commercial Bank v. State, 12 Miss. 439; Savings Institution v. Makin, 23 Me. 360; Van Rensselaer 2. Snyder, 13 N. Y. 299; In re Trustees of Public Schools, 31 N. Y. 574; Longfellow v. Patrick, 25 Me. 18; Pratt v. Jones, 25 Vt. 303; Morse v. Gould, i N. Y. 281.
If a statute impairs the obligation of contracts, it is immaterial whether it is done by acting on the remedy or directly on the contract itself. In
int either case it is prohibited by the Constitution. Bronson v. Kinzie, i How. 311; Green v. Biddle, 8 Wheat. I; Smith v. Morse, 2 Cal. 524; Johnson v. Duncan, 3 Mart. 531 ; Coffman v. Bank, 40 Miss. 29.
The obligation of a contract, in the sense in which those words are used in the Constitution, is that duty of performing it which is recognized and enforced by the law, and if the law is so changed that the means of legally enforcing this duty are materially impaired, the obligation of the contract no longer remains the same. Curran v. State, 15 How. 304; S. C. 12 Ark. 321 ; Green v. Biddle, 8 Wheat. 1; Von Baumbach v. Bade, 9 Wis. 559.
The epithet “material” is vague, uncertain and calculated to confuse and mislead. Taylor v. Stearns, 18 Gratt. 244.
The precise point at which laws cease to operate upon the remedy and begin to infringe upon the obligation of the contract can never be governed by any general rules, but must, in every case where the question is made, be governed by the circumstances of that case. Grimes v. Bryne, 2 Minn. 89; Von Baumbach v. Bade, 9 Wis. 559; Von Hoffman v. Quincy, 4 Wall. 535; Ex parte Pollard, 40 Ala. 77.
The legislature may alter remedies, but they must not
, as far as regards y
antecedent contracts, be rendered less efficacious or more dilatory than those ordained by the law in being when the contract was made. Townsend v. Townsend, Peck, 1.
Although a new remedy may be deemed less convenient than the old one, and may in some degree render the recovery of debts more tardy and difficult, yet it will not follow that the law is unconstitutional. Bronson v. Kinzie, i How. 311; Guild v. Rogers, 8 Barb. 502.
A change of the remedy, in order to impair the obligation of a contract, must reach the intention of the parties resulting from the stipulations in the contract. Something contracted about must be changed. Commercial Bank v. State, 12 Miss. 439.
So long as contracts are submitted without legislative interference to the ordinary and regular course of justice, and the existing remedies are preserved in substance, the obligation of the contracts is not impaired. Holmes v. Lansing, 3 Johns Cas 73; Morse v. Gould, 11 N. Y. 281.
A condition will not render an act consistent with the Constitution, which, without such a condition, would be in collision with that instrument. Lapsley v. Brashears, 4 Litt. 47 ; Townsend v. Townsend, Peck, 1.
Although a State may change the remedies that are used before judgment, yet when the right is judicially ascertained, it can not interfere with the process to enforce that right so as to make it materially less efficient than that in existence when the contract was made. Oliver v. McClure, 28 Ark. 555.
Courts are erected for the purpose of deciding contested rights when those rights are drawn in question before them, through the instrumentality of remedies prescribed by law; but courts exist independent of those remedies, and, in a legal sense, compose no part of them. To create, alter and abolish courts, and to change their sessions, is a subject which falls properly within the sphere of legislative discretion. Lapsley v. Brashears, 4 Litt. 47; Rathbone v. Bradford, 1 Ala. 312; Ex parte Pollard, 40 Ala. 77; Woods v. Buie, 5 How. (Miss.) 285; Morse v. Gould, 11 N. Y. 281; Johnson v. Duncan, 3 Mart. 531 ; Wood v. Wood, 14 Rich. 148; State v. Barringer, Phil. 554; Newkirk v. Chapron, 17 Ill. 344; Johnson v. Higgins, 3 Met. (Ky.) 566.
If the alteration of the remedy is merely the consequence of a general law whose primary and essential object was to promote the administration of justice, and not specially to alter the remedy, the merely incidental delay following from the enactment of such a law, would not render it unconstitutional. Jones v Crittenden, i Car L. Rep. 385; Townsend v. Townsend, Peck, 1; Rathbone v. Bradford, i Ala. 312; Wood v. Wood, 14 Rich. 148.
A change of the terms for holding courts which is not an incidental and subordinate result from a general and permanent change in the system of judicature, or the course of legal proceedings, but operates on contracts only, is void. Wood v. Wood, 14 Rich. 148; Jacobs v. Smallwood, 63 N. C. 112; Johnson v. Winslow, 64 N. C. 27.
The change of the remedy may affect pending actions. Read v. Frankfort Bank, 23 Me. 318; Oriental Bank v. Freeze, 18 Me. 109; Woods v. Buie, 5 How. (Miss.) 285; Lockett v. Usry, 28 Geo. 345.
A State has a right to prescribe a remedy if there be none. Commercial Bank v. State, 12 Miss. 439; Simmons v. Hanover, 40 Mass. 188; Milne v. Huber, 3 McLean, 212; Brandon v. Gaines, 7 Humph. 130.
A statute repealing a prior act under which a party was exempt from suit on his contracts, and rendering him liable to suit thereon, is valid. Stokes v. Rodman, 5 R. I. 405.
A mere change in one of two remedies does not impair the obligation of a contract. Heyward v. Judd, 4 Minn. 483.