R. CO. V. COUNTY OF JEFFERSON.
& O. R.
COUNTY Oll' JEFFERSON.
(Circuit Oou'rt, D. West Vitrginia. 1886.)
An act which confers power upon an existing railroad corporation to extend its road through a certam county in the state, and also authorizes that countY' to subscribe to the capital stock of said railroad, is not repugnant to the artlclei;n the state constitution providing that no law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in the title. 2.
TAXATION-CONSTITUTIONAL RULES-AID TO RAlLROAD·
. . An act to submit the question of subscription to the stock of a railroad com· ;pa.nytoall the male tax-paye.rs of the county is notcon.trary to any inhibition . of. the constitution, nor is the power thus improperly delegated to a class of the people instead of the whole people, the class named being those Who would bl!..affeC1;ed bV tM
A raUroad company iilliable to be taxed to furnish the aid voted for another company, although, when the statute authorizing such aid was passed, railrOal,l: property was, by ,It law then existing, exempt from taxation for such purpQse; such law being afterwards repealed, and not having been enacted when the company sought to be taxed first obtained a license to do business in the state.
Uw. . . . . '
REPEAL Ol!' EXElIPTION
In Chancery. Bill to enjoin the collection of a tax levied to aid the construction of a railroad. Demurrer to bill. Caleb,Bogge88 and J. A. Hutchinson, for Baltimore & O. R. Co. C. O. Watt8 and FO'r're.t Brown, for the County of Jefferson.
JACKSON, J. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, a corporation of the state of Maryland, files its bill against the county of Jefferson, as a corporation of the state of West Virginia, and Eugene Baker, late sheriff, and A. G. Hurst, acting sheriff, of the county, and citizens of this state, to enjoin and restrain the defendant from col. lecting taxes, which, as the bill alleges, were levied for the purpose of aiding the constrnction of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, passing through the county of Jefferson, a rival corporation to that of the plaintiff. To this bill the defendant demurs, and the case is now heard upon the issue presented by the demurrer. It appears from the bill that the legislature of WestYirginia, on the twenty-fifth of Feb. ruary, 1870, passed "An act to authorize the Shenandoah Valley Railroad Company to construct their road through the state of West Virginia, to the. Potomac river, and also to authorize the board of supervisors of Jefferson county to submit to a vote of the people, at a special election, the question of the subscription to the capital stock oftbe company." The power of the court is invoked to protect the pllLintiff from what it alleges to be "the unjust and illegal claim of the county of Jefferson to charge it with the payment of taxes to discharge the principal and interest of bonds, amounting to $250,000, v.29F.no.8-20
issued by said county to pay for its subscription to the capital stock , , of the deftmdl'tntcorporation/' An examination of the act justifies the conclusion that it was the intention of the legislature to confer power upon an corporation, created by the laws of a sister state, to extend her road through the' county of JefIerson, in this state. It was not the creation of an original oorporation, but, was a grant, in the nature of a license, to an existing one, to construct its road, whioh appears to be the main purpose of the a.ct. The first question presented for the consideration of the court is the validity, of the act under which the subscription was made. ' It is ,claimed that this aot embraces more than one object, and more than one objeot is expressed in the. title, and is for that reason void, because it is in oonflict with the thirty-sixth seotion of the fourth article of the constitution of West Virginia, adopted' in 1863; whioh provides "that no law' shallembra.ee IUol'ethan oneobjeot, whioh shall be expressed in the title.", In this we are inforI;l;led that the fifth and sixth sections of the aot provide for a subscription to the capital stock of the .road by Je1Ierso:q ,co*pty,. which is an object different from the main purpose of the Ia.W,:.and is for this reason obnoxious to the constitution. To support this position the court is referred to Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 78, 79, 150, 151, and Outlip v. Sheriff, 3 W. Va. 589. ' We cannot conour with counsel that eithel' of the authorities cited sustains their view of the law. Mr. Cooley, in disC:l'Ussingthisquestion, under the head ·of "The Title·to a Statute," remarks' that' the general purpose of constitutional provisions of this character are accomplished when' a law bas but· one general object, whic.h is fairly indicated by the title. ThiBview ·of the text writer is well supported by judicial deoisions. The oase. in 3 W. Va. so strongly relied on to support the position that the ac.tol 1870 is unconstitutional, we think, does not sustain W The title.of the act in that case was" An act locating the eounty"seatof CaIb,oun." But the law, 1lS passed; tained a section which authorized the board of supervisors of said county to sell any property at Arnoldsburg, in the county. The court beld this act void, for the reason ,that the third section <lOntained an object other than the, one, expressed in the title. It authorized the board oft;lupervisol's to sell, ,'&ny county property,at Arnoldsburg; at that time the county-aeat,without .describing it, or restricting their action to the sale of the property .which was properly oonnected with the proposed change in This purpose was not expressed in the title, and, for this reason it was held to be repugnant to the oonstitution. Conceding that deoision' to be right, does it apply to the case under oonsidera.tion? We think ,pIn this ease, the act had but one main object; that was, to authorize the construction ofa railroad through the territory of West Virginia. All other provisions of the
BALTDlORE & O. R. CO. V· .COU!\TY OF JEFFERSON.
bill are autiliary to that [object, and,. hl1'Ve a necessary or natural connection.· The power cOl:\ferred by the act upon the board of supervisors of Jefferson county ,to submit to a vote of the people the question of a subscription to the capital stock of the company, although it was not expressed in the title, yet was an incident to the main object, and in 1:\0 seJ;lse that we can perceive was it a different and distinl;lt object from the main purpose of the law. The object of this constitutional provision is to prevent the union of incongruous matters, having no relation to each other. It is to be fpun<Hnthe constitution. of a number of the states, and has received judi4;lill.lQonstruction. We think, upon a close examination of the Cases .decided in Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Illinois, upon similar constitutional provisions, that it will be found that the courts hold that, where the law embraces several objects, all of which are matters properly connected with its. chief object, that it is unnecespurpose of the law. sary that the title of the act should contain The.·coXlstitution of Texas contains a provision similar to the one under QQQsideration. ltdeelares that "every law,enacted by the legshall embrace but one object, and that shall be expressed in the title;." This provision has received judicial interpretation in the case ,of Oity oj San Antonio v. Mehaffy, 96 U. S. 812. The legislature of. ,that state passed" An act to incorporate the San Antonio Railroadi:OQIDpany." Like the law we have under consideration, it had other provisions,ona..!of whioh was "to authorize the city of San AntQniorto take stock in the.company, and issue bonds to payforthe Same." The court of the United States in that case held the law to .be constitutionaL ltnd that it had but one object, and that was expressed in the title. In the case of Unity v. Burrage, 103 U. S. 458, the supreme .courtwas again called upon to pass upon a cla.use .QObeconstitution:.of Illinois similar, if not almost identicl:\.l. in phraseology to the one we have under consideration; and the court againafijrmed its ruling case of San Antonio .... Mehrlffy, cit. ing with approbation the Case of Belleville, etc., R. Co. v. Gregory, 15 Ill. 20. still later, tbes\lpreme court of Illinois maintained this doctrine in Ross v. Chicago R. R., 77 Ill. 127. This long line of de. cisioDawas recently reviewed by the supreme court of the United States in the case of Mahomet v. Quackenbush, 117 U. S. 508, S. C. 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 858, and the chIef justice, speaking for the conrt, again sustained their previous rulings upon this question. The decisioua of the highest tril)unals in the states of Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin are to the same effect, upon a similar provision in their l'espeotiveconstitutions. In some otherstates,-California, and possiblyMissouri,......the courts hold differently; but not only is the weight of autbority in the highest tribunals in the states against them, but the lawlll;we think, well settled otherwise. Montclair v. Ramsdell, 107 U.18.147; S.. O. 2 Sup.. Ct. Rep. 891; rl"onesboro City v. Cairo £tBt.L. I/r.·'Co., 110 U. S, 192; $. C. 3 Sup. Ct. Rep. 67; Otoe Co.
v. Baldwin, 111 U. S. 1; S. C. 4 Snp. Ct. Rep. 265; Ackley School· dist, v. Hall, 113 U. S. 135; S. C. 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 371. Independent of the express adjudications we have noticed upon this question, it would be clearly the duty of the court to adopt a lib· eral rule of interpretation, soas to give effect to the legislative intention, unless itA action was clearly so repugnant to the constitution as to violate well-known principles of construction. This liberal rule of construction should always prevail, before courts annul a statute by judicial ,action. We are therefore 'of opinion that the third section ()f the act of February; 1870, is not in conflict with the constitution ()f this state, and must therefore be held valid. This conclusion, we think, is not only founded in reason, but, as we have seen, is sanciioned by authority. ItiEl'tiextsuggested that the authority conferred upon the supervisors ,by this act is, at least, questionable, if· in fact there is any warrant in: the constitution for its exercise. By the terms of the fifth section of the act in question, power was delegated by the to the supervisors of Jefferson county'tosubxnit the question of, a sub· scription to the capital stock of the said railroad toaU the male taxpayers of the county, at a special election, above the age of 21 years; not undedmy of the disabilities mentioned in the act. It is urged thatth'e power thus conferred by the legislature is not warranted by the oonstitution. This isa of power to local authorities, for local purposes. There is l10thinghi the constitution which inhibits 'the legislature from'the e:x:ercise of such a power. In the absenceof such a upon the legislative power, t,he exercise of it oannotbe questioned. It has been frequently done by the legislatures ofvarious states upon similar provisions in their constitution, and, in almost every instance where the power has been questionAd, the courts have sustained the legislative view of its exercise. ' The power of taxation for looal and, municipal purposes has most always been delegated. The reason for it is founded in necessity, and the exercise 'of the power cannot now be questioned. The next objection taken to the validity of the act is that the legislature did not provide for the submission of the question of making a subscription "to a vote of the people, "but only to a portion or class of them, to-wit, "the male tax-payers of the ,county over 21 years of age," etc. This provision of the constitution is similar to the constitutions of several of our sistet states. The present constitution of Virginia, as well as the one in force before the war, both contain similar provisions to the one under consideration. A similar question to the one now raised was presented under the old constitution of Virginia in the case of Bull v. Read, 13 Grat. 78. In that case the legislature of an act establishing It system of free schools in a particular district in the county of Accomack, but provided that the act "shall [should] not be carried into effect until the people of the district shall, [should,] by a vote taken· for the pur-
R. CO. 'II. COUNTY OF JEFFERSON.
pose, approve it." Under this constitution every white citizen, 21 years old, etc., was qualified to vote. It will be observed, however, that the act required the vote to be submitted to the people of the district for the purpose of their approval, instead of white male citizens, who were the qualified voters under the constitution. In that case it was claimed that the quC)stion of submission to the people of the district was a clear violation of'that clause. of the constitution which defines the qualifications of voters. But the court overruled this objection, maintaining the validity of the act, and referred to the case of Slack v. Maysville et L. R. 00., 13 B. Mon. 1, in support of its conclusion, in which it, was held to be no objection to the mode of the power of imposing local taxation for local purposes that it was referred to a vote of a majority of those to be affected by it. Such was the course pursued in the case before us. The question of submission was referred to a vote of all the male tax-payers, whom the legislature supposed to be the majority of the people to be affected by the act, and we must therefore conclude that this objection cannot be sustained; It is further suggested that, by the terms of the constitution, taxation must, be equal ,and uniform, and that in this' instance such is not the case. We concede that such is the fundamental law, but we fail to find any discrimination against complainant's property, or any -violation of tle constitution in the law a,s passed, which would subject its property to illegal or unjust taxation. There is, in fact, no allegation in the bill that the property of complainant is not taxed at the uniform rate and upon a basis, of equality with other, ,property taxed for the same purpose in the county and state. Such an allegation in the bill, if sustained by proof, would entitle the complainant to such a revision of the assessment of its property as would se-cure to it both equality and uniformity of taxation, as required by the constitution; but, in the absence of such an allegation in the bill, ;sustained by proof, the court is unable to see how it can pass upon a question not raised by the pleadings,but only presented in the brief filed by complainant's counsel. Another contention of the plaintiff is that at the time of the passage of the act of 1870, and the election held under it, there was no authority to charge it with any part of the county levies, to pay any subscription voted to the capital stock of the Shenandoah VaHey Railroad Company, for the reason that by the statute law then in force, and which continued to be the law of the state until the session of the legislature in 1879, "all railroad property was exempted from tax.ation to pay subscription of counties to other railroads." It is con..ceded that when the act of 1870 was passed, that, by the laws then in force, exemption of the plaintiff's property was secured from taxation for the purpose of paying subscriptions to otherrailroads. The law, however, was a general one, passed long subsequent to that which ,granted the plaintiff a license to do business as a corporation in this
310 state. It applied alike toal1 railroad corporations. There was no such exemption to this corporation in the original act which gave it poweido dobusinesB here. The -repeal of the act which secured the exemption did not divest it,oi,any right secured by its charter. By its repeal the corporation was placed upon the same footing it stood when ,the law was enacted that secllred the exemption. Exemptions are always matters of expediency, and not of right, granted on consideration of public policy, which the' law-making power can recall at its In this instance the legislative power asserted what we must hold to be an undisputed right, which, in its clemency to this class 'ofcorporations, it had not before enforced, and which was clearly within its power under the constitution. This is the view, we think,tbi:l legislature entertained when it passed the act; and our respect for its intention forces this conclusion upon us, from which escape. It i81rue, that the plaintiff had, without any aid from either county or sta.te, constructed its road, and it would seem to be unjust to require it to aid in the construction of a rival road. But this isa question' which addressed itselfa.loI)e to the legislature, andis, we think, outside of judicial domain; It was for that power to determine whether the act, when proposed, "was in derogation of natural rights" or not. It b,as\passed upon the question, and we think the plaintiff is conoluded by' its action. The demurrer must therefore be sustained to the bin 8sit now stands;
J. I conour in the above opinion.
w: D. Michigan, S. D.
December 8, 188ft)
PATENTS-!M:PROVEMENT IN THE OONSTRWOTION OF REFIUGERATORs-:-INlI'RINGE¥ENT-WANT OF NOVELTY. .' -
A suit was brought to infringement of letters pllotent No. 261,736. for improvements in the construction of refrigerators. the particular feature being this: The ice-floor being in the usual position. two sets of cleats are attached to the inside of the refrigerator case, at each end of the ice-floor. and extending perpendicularly from the ice-floor to the top of the case, and are in pairs. These cleats are arlitnged by twos, and parallel to each other. but a Httle distance apart, so as to forp:1 a groove, Into these grooves; and from the top. is slid the partition wall, so as to touch the ice-floor; but, being narrower than the height of the' chamber, leaves the necessary opening for t1?-e warm air to passovf.it at the top. claimed being that the wallls thus made whereby cleanslllg walls of the flue is facilitated. Held, invalid for want of novelty, and not infringed by defend. ant's patent, No. 2 9 5 , 2 5 9 . ' .