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Dodge v. Board of Education of Chicago, 302 U.S. 74 (1937)

Dodge v. Board of Education of Chicago

No. 5

Argued April 28, 1937

Reargued October 14, 1937

Decided November 8, 1937

302 U.S. 74


1. An Act merely fixing the terms or the tenures of public employees is presumptively not intended to create a vested right in the incumbent, but merely to declare a policy to be pursued until the legislature shall ordain otherwise. P. 302 U. S. 78.

2. He who asserts the creation of a contract with the State in such a case has the burden of overcoming the presumption. P. 302 U. S. 79.

3. While this Court, in applying the contract clause of the Constitution, is required to reach an independent judgment as to the existence and nature of the alleged contract, great weight is given to the views of the highest court of the State. P. 302 U. S. 79.

4. Decision of Supreme Court of Illinois construing "An Act to provide for compulsory and voluntary retirement of teachers, . . . and the payment of retirement annuities," in pari materia with earlier laws and decisions, as not intending to create contracts or vested rights held a reasonable construction to be accepted by this Court when questioned under the contract clause of the Constitution. P. 302 U. S. 79.

5. Interchangeability of the terms "pensions," "benefits," and "annuities," in Acts of Illinois dealing with retirement of teachers. P. 302 U. S. 81.

364 Ill. 547, 5 N.E.2d 84, affirmed.

Appeal from a decree affirming the dismissal of the bill in a suit to prevent the enforcement of a law alleged to

Page 302 U. S. 75

impair the contract rights of school teachers in respect of retirement privileges and pay.

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