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An exemption law which divests the lien of a judgment, and leaves no means for the collection of the debt, is unconstitutional. Gunn v. Barry, 15 Wall. 610; Forsyth v. Marbury, R. M. Charlt. 324; Smith v. Morse, 2 Cal. 524; McKeithan v. Terry, 64 N. C. 25; contra, In re Sarah Kennedy, 2 Rich. N. S. 116; Hardeman v. Downer, 39 Geo. 425; Adams v. Smith, 2 Rich. N. S. 228.
No State law can divest the lien of a judgment so as to give the home. stead to the debtor, even after he abandons it. Tillotson v. Millard, 7 Vinn. 513.
The subjection of property to execution, which was not so at the time the contract was made, does not in the slightest degree impair the obligation of the contract. It only extends and enlarges the remedy. Contracts are not made with an eye to the laws that shall enforce them, or to what property shall or shall not be liable to execution, but with an expectation of each party's performing with good faith what he has stipulated to do. Reardon v. Searcy, 2 Bibb, 202.
A homestead law is valid, although it leaves the debtor no property liable to execution. Hill v. Kessler, 63 N. C. 437.
A State law exempting a homestead is valid if it is such as sound policy, humanity, and the well-being of the community dictate. Cusic v. Douglas, 3 Kans. 23; Root v. McGrew, 3 Kans. 215.
The legislature may exempt real estate as well as personal property. Hill v. Kessler, 63 N. C. 437.
What are necessaries is a question for the legislature, and not for the court.
Hill v. Kessler, 63 N. C. 437.
If the object of the law is not so much to secure the well-being of the citizens as to enable them to hold large amounts of property, with a view of making it available to their own aggrandizement, the statute is void. Cusic v. Douglas, 3 Kans. 23.
A State can not enact that the property of a debtor shall not be taken to satisfy his debts, if it was liable to such seizure and appropriation when the debt was incurred. Penrose v. Erie Canal Co. 56 Penn. 46; State v. Bank, i Rich. N. S. 63.
A statute permitting the declaration of a homestead is constitutional so far as it affects debts created after the passage of the statute, though prior to the declaration of the homestead, for the creditors knew, or are presumed to have known, at the time they gave credit, what rights and privileges the debtor was allowed by law, and to what property they must look for a satisfaction of their debts. In re Henkel, 2 Saw. 305.
Stay Laws. A statute which grants a stay of execution for a certain period is unconstitutional. Jones v. Crittenden, i Car. L. Rep. 385; Townsend v. Townsend, Peck, 1 ; Grayson v. Lilly, 7 Mon. 6; Bumgardner v. Circuit Court, 4 Mo. 50; Baily v. Gentry, 1 Mo. 164; Dormire v. Cogly, 8 Blackf. 177; Strong 2. Daniel, 5 Ind. 348; Aycock v. Martin, 37 Geo. 124; Huds
5 peth v. Davis, 41 Ala. 389; Stevens v. Andrews, 31 Mo. 205 ; Brown v. Ward, i Mo. 209; Barnes v. Barnes, 8 Jones (N.C.) 366; Burt v. Williams, 24 Ark. 91; Ex parte Pollard, 40 Ala. 77 ; Jacobs v. Smallwood, 63 N. C. 112; State v. Carew, 13 Rich. 498; Coffman v. Bank, 40 Miss. 29; Sequestration Cases, 30 Tex. 689; Canfield v. Hunter, 30 Tex. 712; Culbreath v. Hunter, 30 Tex. 713; Levison v. Norris, 30 Tex. 713; Levison v. Krohne, 30 Tex. 714; Webster v. Rose, 6 Heisk. 93; Garlington v. Priest, 13 Fla. 559.
A law procrastinating the remedy, generally speaking, destroys part of the right. He pays less who pays later-Minus solvit qui serius solvit. Any indulgence, therefore, in point of time afforded by the legislature to a debtor is a correlative injury to the creditor in the same degree, though of
a a different nature, as a correspondent indulgence by a proportional reduction of the debt. Johnson v. Duncan, 3 Mart. 531.
A statute providing for payment of a judgment in instalments, and a stay of execution so long as the instalments are paid, is void. Jones v. McMahan, 30 Tex. 319; Earle v. Johnson, 31 Tex. 164.
An act giving a stay of execution can not affect a judgment rendered prior to its passage. Dormire v. Cogly, 8 Blackf. 177.
A statute allowing of a stay of execution for an indefinite time, upon the consent of two-thirds of the creditors, is void. Bunn v. Gorgas, 41 Penn. 441.
Where the contract stipulates that there shall be no stay of execution beyond a certain limit, the legislature can not declare that there shall be a stay beyond that limit. The debtor's waiver of legal rights becomes a part of the obligation of his contract, and the legislature can no more impair that obligation than it can annul the entire contract. Billmeyer v. Evans, 40 Penn. 324; Lewis v. Lewis, 47 Penn, 127 ; Griffith v. Thomas, 34 Leg.
A provision for a stay of execution, unless the plaintiff will take the property levied on at two-thirds of its appraised value, is unconstitutional. Baily v. Gentry, 1 Mo. 164.
The right to suspend the recovery of a debt for one period implies the right of suspending it for another. Jones v. Crittenden, i Car. L. Rep. 385.
A statute which subjects parties in chancery to a longer credit than the law allowed when the contract between the respective parties was made is unconstitutional. January v. January, 7 Mon. 542 ; Pool v. Young, 7 Mon. 587.
A law which grants a stay of execution for a certain period, upon the defendant's superseding the judgment with sureties, does impair the obligation of contracts made before its adoption. Blair v. Williams, 4 Litt. 34; Lapsley v. Brashears, 4 Litt. 47 ; contra, Farnsworth v. Vance, 2 Cold. 108.
A statute which directs a stay of execution for one year, unless the property levied
upon shall bring two-thirds of its appraised value is constitutional. Chadwick v. Moore, 8 W. & S. 49; Thompson v. Buckley, 34 Leg. Int. 148.
A statute passed in the time of a civil war, which enacts that no civil process shall issue or be enforced against any person mustered into the service of the State or of the United States during the term for which he is engaged in such service, and thirty days thereafter, is valid, for the stay is neither indefinite nor unreasonable. Breitenbach v. Bush, 44 Penn. 313 ; Coxe v. Martin, 44 Penn. 322; State v. McGinty, 41 Miss. 435.
A statute which provides that all actions shall stand continued during all the time that the defendant is in the actual military service of the United States, is valid. McCormick v. Rusch, 15 Iowa, 127.
A statute suspending all suits against a volunteer in the service of the United States, until his regiment or company returns home, is valid. Edmondson v. Ferguson, 11 Mo. 344; Lindsey v. Burbridge, ni Mo. 545.
A statute exempting all persons from civil process while they are in the military service of the United States, or of the State, is void, for the suspension is indefinite. Hasbrouck v. Shipman, 16 Wis. 296.
When the enlistment is for the war, the time is indefinite, and a statute providing a stay of civil process for that time is unreasonable and invalid. Clark v. Martin, 49 Penn. 299 ; S. C. 3 Grant, 393.
No State can pass a law suspending the right of any person engaged in a rebellion against the Federal Government from prosecuting or defending a suit during the continuance of the rebellion. Davis v. Pierse, 7 Minn. 13; Keough 7. McNitt, 7 Minn. 30; Wilcox v. Davis, 7 Minn. 23; Vernon v. Henson, 24 Ark. 242.
A statute which suspends all legal proceedings to obtain or enforce a judgment for money for the period of seven months, is valid, for it operates on the courts alone. Johnson v. Higgins, 3 Met. (Ky.) 566; Barkley v. Glover, 4 Met. (Ky.) 44.
A statute may provide that an execution issued upon a judgment ob
tained by confession or a warrant of attorney, shall be stayed until the demand is due, for it applies solely to the remedy. Wood v. Child, 20 III. 209.
A law which merely suspends temporarily proceedings for the collection of debts, is constitutional. Grimball v. Ross, T. U. P. Charlt. 175.
The legislature may provide for a stay of execution, providing that the stay is not so great and unreasonable as to amount to a substantial impairing of the obligation of contracts. Huntzinger v. Brock, 3 Grant, 243.
The State may grant a stay of execution upon a judgment due to a municipal corporation. Governor v. Gridley, Walk. 328.
Limitations. A statute of limitations enacted with due discretion, and allowing a reasonable time for the commencement of suits on existing demands, is a wholesome and useful regulation, and not within the prohibition of the Constitution. Sampson v. Sampson, 63 Me. 328; Samples v. Bank, i Woods, 525; Briscoe v. Anketell, 28 Miss. 361 ; Lockhart v. Yeiser, 2 Bush, 231 ; Holcombe v. Tracy, 2 Minn. 241 ; Stearns v. Gittings, 23 Ill. 387 ; Barker v. Jackson, i Paine, 559; Lewis v. Broadwell, 3 McLean, 568 : Newland v. Marsh, 19 III, 376; Smith v. Packard, 12 Wis. 371; State v. Jones, 21 Md. 432 ; Call v. Hagger, 8 Mass. 423; Jackson v. Lamphire, 3 Pet. 280; De Cordova v. Galveston, 4 Tex. 470; Cummings v. Maxwell, 45 Me. 190 ; Society v. Wheeler, 2 Gallis. 105; Blackford v. Peltier, i Blackf. 36; Miller v. Comm. 5 W. & S. 488 ; State v. Bermudez, 12 La. 352; Smith v. Morrison, 39 Mass. 430; Rexford v. Knight, 11 N. Y. 308 ; Beal v. Nason, 14 Me. 344; Bell v. Roberts, 13 Vt. 582 ; Butler v. Palmer, 1 Hill, 324; Griffin v. McKenzie, 7 Geo. 163; McKenny v, Compton, 18 Geo. 170; Lewis v. Harbin, 5 B. Mon. 564; Pearce v. Patton, 7 B. Mon. 162; Maltby v. Cooper, Morris, 59; Stephens v. St. Louis Nat'l Bank, 43 Mo. 385; Stone v. Bennett, 13 Minn. 153.
If a reasonable time is not allowed after the passage of the act for parties to institute proceedings for the enforcement of existing demands, but the act is permitted to take effect at once, thereby depriving them of all remedy for the recovery of those demands, the act violates the Constitution by impairing the obligation of contracts. Proprietors v. Laboree, 2 Me. 275; Society v. Wheeler, 2 Gallis. 105; Amy v. Smith, 1 Litt. 326; Forsyth v. Marbury, R. M. Charlt. 324; Garrett v Beaumont, 24 Miss. 377 ; Johnson v. Bond, i Hemp. 533 ; Robinson v. Magee, 9 Cal. 81; Auld v. Butcher, 2 Kans. 135; Pereles v. Watertown, 6 Biss. 79; Berry v. Ransdall, 4 Met. (Ky.) 292; Osborn v. Jaines, 17 Wis. 573.
In order to render the time for bringing a suit unreasonable, the court must be able to say that no substantial opportunity is afforded to the party affected to assert his rights after the passage of the law; that the unmistakable purpose and effect of the law is to cut off the right of the party, and not merely to limit the time in which he may begin to enforce it. Rexford v. Knight, 11 N. Y. 308.
Whether the time allowed for creditors to commence their actions is a reasonable time or not, is a question within the exclusive province of the court and not of the legislature, to determine. Pereles v. Watertown, 6 Diss. 79; contra, Smith v. Morrison, 39 Mass. 430.
Thirty days is not a reasonable time to allow for the bringing of a suit. Berry v. Ransdall, 4 Met. (Ky.) 292.
An extension of the time for bringing an action does not impair the obligation of a contract. Wardlaw v. Buzzard, 15 Rich. 158; Smith v. Tucker, 17 N. J. 82; Cox v. Berry, 13 Geo. 306; Edwards v. McCaddon, 20 Iowa, 520; Swickard v. Bailey, 3 Kans. 507 ; Winston v. McCormick. i Ind. 56; Gilman v. Cutts, 23 N. H. 376; Pleasants v. Rohrer, 17 Wis 577.
A statute prescribing the time within which the authority to establish a lottery may be exercised is valid. Phalen v. Comm. 8 How. 163; S. C. I Rob. (Va.) 713.
A statute requiring a new promise to be in writing is valid, if ample time is allowed to enforce the demand before it is affected by the new rule of evidence. Briscoe v. Anketell, 28 Miss. 361.
Who Can Not Object.
If a law affecting the remedy impairs the obligation of a contract, the creditor alone can complain that his guaranteed privileges are taken from him at the expense of the Constitution which protects them. If he does not complain, the debtor can not set up the unconstitutionality of an act which does not affect him, and can only prejudice his adversary. Small v. Hodgen, i Litt. 16.
A purchaser at a sale under an execution can not object to the unconstitutionality of an act allowing a redemption of the property. Iverson v. Shorter, 9 Ala. 713.
A surety who has superseded a judgment under a stay law which was unconstitutional can not set up the invalidity of the statute to defeat his liability. Berry v. Haines, 2 Car. L. Rep. 428; M'Kinney v. Carroll, 12 Pet. 66; S. C. 5 Mass. 96; Magruder v. Marshall, i Blackf. 333; contra, Strong v. Daniel, 5 Ind. 348.
It is competent for a party to waive the privileges or benefits secured by the Constitution, and if he does so by availing himself of an act, he can