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Higginbotham v. Baton Rouge, 306 U.S. 535 (1939)

Higginbotham v. City of Baton Rouge

No. 462

Argued March 3, 1939

Decided April 17, 1939

306 U.S. 535


1. Before the expiration of the incumbent's term, the municipal office of Commissioner of Public Parks and Streets to which he had been elected was abolished by later legislation, pursuant to which he was employed, until the next election, to render as Superintendent of Parks and Streets under control of the Mayor the same service pertaining to the governmental functions of the city in the supervision of its parks and streets as he had rendered as Commissioner, and at the same salary. Held that later action of the legislature and the city terminating the employment before the term had expired was within the legislative power over public offices, and not an impairment of contract obligation within the meaning of the contract clause of the Constitution. Pp. 306 U. S. 535, 306 U. S. 539.

2. While this Court, in applying the contract clause of the Constitution, must reach an independent judgment as to the existence and nature of the alleged contract, great weight is attached to the views of the highest court of the State. P. 306 U. S. 538.

190 La. 821, 183 So. 168, affirmed.

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment dismissing the complaint in an action against the City to recover money alleged to be due as salary.

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