NOTES OF CURRENT DECISIONS
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.
Constitutional Law-Rule of Construction-Decisions of State Courts.
TAYLOR '0. CITY OF YPSILANTI,4 Morr. Trans. 326. Error to the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Michigan. This action was brought by a citizen of New York to recover from the city of Ypsilanti the amount of certain coupons on bonds issued by that city in aid of the con" struction of a railroad. Among other questions, the proposition was advanced on behalf of the city that the act of the legislature under which the bonds were issued is repugnant to the constitution of Michigan as expounded by the highest judicial tribunal of that state in People v. Salem, 20 Mich. 452; Bay City v. State Treasurer, 23 Mich. 499, and several other cases decided in the same court at a subsequent period, and that these cases constitute the law of the case and should be followed, as of obligation, without reference to the time when they were made, or to any opinion as to the soundness of the principles announced. The. case was. decided on appeal before the supreme court of the United States, on March 20, 1882, Mr. Justice Harlan delivering the opinion of the court: The legislature of a state, in the absence of constitutional prohibition, may authorize municipal corporations to aid in the construction of railroads, and a statute authorizing certain municipalities to aid in such construction is not in conflict with sections of the state constitution forbidding the credit of the state from being loaned to private persons or corporations, and forbidding the state from subscribing to the stock of any corporation, or from being interested in any work of internal improvement,and forbidding any person from being deprived of his property without due process of law. Where a resolution of a city voting aid t03 railroad on condition that if any of its citizen,s subscribe and pay for any stock in the railroad, the latter should deliver to such persons the bonds of the city to that amount, is a loan or donation within the meaning of the statute which authorizes mnnicipal corporations to pledge their aid to a railroad" by loan or donation, with or without conditions." Federal courts, in all cases within their jurisdiction depending on local law, administer that law, so far as it affects contract obligations and rights, as judicially expounded ill the state courts, at the time such obligations
were incurred or such rights accrued; but they are not bound to follow later decisions of such courts, modifying the rule previously announced by them. E. W. Meddaugh and Geo. F. Edmnnds, for plaintiff in error. H. J. Beakes, for defendant in error. The cases cited in opinion were: Swan v. Williams, 2 Mich. 427; .People v. State Auditors, 9 Mich. 327; East Saginaw Manuf'g Co. v. East Saginaw, 19 Mich. 274; Township of Pine Grove v. Talcott, 19 Wall. 666; Railroad Co. v. County of Otoe, 16 Wall. 667; Olcott v. Supervisors, 16 Wall. 678; Ohio L. Ins. Co. v. Debolt, 16 How. 432; City v. Lamson, 9 Wall. 485; Douglas v. County of Pike, 101 U. S. 687.
Trusts-Estate Granted by Married Woman. HEWITT 'V. PHELPS, 4 Morr. Trans. 455. Appeal from the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Mississippi. The question presented on trial on the merits was whether the trustee of an estate had power to charge the estate with a debt contracted for supplies furnished for the use of the estate. A decision wr.s rendered in the supreme court on April 10, 1882, the opinion being delivered by Mr. Justice Matthews, affirming the judgment of the circuit court: Where a married woman grants an estate to a trustee upon trust for her sole and separate use, with remainder to her surviving children, by the terms of which the trustee takes merely the title, without any active duties in regard to the estate, reserving to herself, during her own life-time, the power to sell or exchange the property; and, after her death, that such power shall be exercised solely by her husband surviving her, and all powers to superintend, possess, manage, and control the property are conferred exclusively upon her husband as agent for said trustee, and as agent and trustee for the grantor during her life, and as agent and trustee for her children after her death; but to be regarded, for the purposes of· the deed, not merely as an agent, but also as a co-trustee, the trustee not in anymanner to be respollsible for the acts and conduct of her said husband; and the deed gives neither the trustee nor the husband a right to charge the trust estate for the expense of running it,-creditors of the estate have no claim of subrogation, nor any ground for enforcing against the estate the payment of their demand for supplies furnished to the husband for the estate, though used by the trustee after the husband's death, and although both the husband and trustee were insolvent, and although the trustee admitted a liability for them; as neither his admissions, nor the admissions of the legal heirs, could, in contemplation of law, create any charge on the estate. William L. Nngent, for appellants. E. Jeffords, J. Z. George, and Charles W. Clarke, for appellees. The cases cited in the opinion as to this point were: Clopton v. Gholson, 53 Miss. 466; Norton v. Phelps, 54 Miss. 471.