Williams v. Louisiana - 103 U.S. 637 (1880)
U.S. Supreme Court
Williams v. Louisiana, 103 U.S. 637 (1880)
Williams v. Louisiana
103 U.S. 637
In a suit brought in one of her courts by the State of Louisiana seeking to restrain payment on the bonds issued to the New Orleans, Mobile, and Chattanooga Railroad Company under an Act of the legislature approved April 20, 1871, and praying for relief upon the ground that the act was in violation of the constitutional amendment of 1870, which declares "that, prior to the first day of January, 1890, the debt of the state shall not be so increased as to exceed twenty-five millions of dollars," which limit, it was claimed, had been attained before the passage of the act, a holder of some of the bonds, who was permitted to intervene, set up that they were issued in discharge and release of valid and then subsisting obligations of the state, which, prior to the adoption of the amendment, had been created under her legislation. Held that this Court has jurisdiction to determine whether the amendment, as construed by the court below and applied to the facts of the case, impairs the obligation of a contract. Held further that the act is in conflict with that amendment inasmuch as it authorized the creation of a new debt on a new consideration in excess of the prescribed amount, and that the bonds are void.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.