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Kansas City Sou. Ry. Co. v. Kaw Valley Drainage Dist., 233 U.S. 75 (1914)

Kansas City Southern Railway Company v.

Kaw Valley Drainage District

Nos. 313, 314

Argued March 19, 20, 1914

Decided April 6, 1914

233 U.S. 75


This Court will read pleadings as alleging what they fairly would convey to an ordinarily intelligent lawyer by a fairly exact use of English speech. Swift & Co. v. United States, 196 U. S. 75.

This Court must take the judgment under review as it stands, and if it is absolute and not conditional, it cannot be qualified by speculation as to what may in fact happen.

An out and out order of a state court to remove a bridge that is a necessary part of a line of interstate commerce is an interference with such commerce and with a matter that is under the exclusive control of Congress.

Interstate commerce is not a matter that is left to the control of the states until further action by Congress; nor is the freedom of that commerce from interference by the states confined to laws only; it extends to interference by any ultimate organ.

A direct interference by the state with interstate commerce cannot be justified by the police power, and so held that the destruction of a bridge across which an interstate railroad line necessarily passes cannot be justified by the fact that it helps the drainage of a district.

Quaere whether a consent by a drainage district to the construction of a railroad bridge is not to be regarded as a license, rather than an abdication of the continuing powers of the district to require subsequent elevation of the bridge.

7 Kan. 272 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction and validity

Page 233 U. S. 76

under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution of orders of the state courts of Kansas directing railroad companies to remove bridges on lines of interstate commerce, are stated in the opinion.

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