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HUBERT V. NEW ORLEANS, 215 U. S. 170 (1909)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hubert v. New Orleans, 215 U.S. 170 (1909)

Hubert v. New Orleans

No. 11

Argued November 1, 2, 1909

Decided November 29, 1909

215 U.S. 170


This Court has not jurisdiction to review the judgment of a state court based on the contract clause of the Constitution unless the alleged impairment was by subsequent legislation which has been upheld or given effect by the judgment sought to be reviewed. Bacon v. Texas, 163 U. S. 207.

A power to tax to fulfill contract obligations continues until the obligation is discharged.

The power of taxation conferred by law enters into the obligation of a contract, and subsequent legislation withdrawing or lessening such power and which leaves the creditors without adequate means of satisfaction impairs the obligation of their contracts.

Where a municipality has power to contract and tax to meet the obligation, the proper remedy of the creditor is by mandamus to the authorities of the municipality either to pay over taxes already collected for their debt or to levy and collect therefor.

Page 215 U. S. 171

The legislature of a state cannot take away rights created by former legislation for the security of debts owing by a municipality of the state or postpone indefinitely the payment of lawful claims until such time as the municipality is ready to pay them.

Act of November 5 of 1870 of State of Louisiana providing for registration and collection of judgments against the City of New Orleans, so far as it delays the payment, or collection of taxes for the payment, of contract claims existing before the passage of the act is void as impairing the obligation of contracts within the meaning of the federal Constitution.

119 La. 623 reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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