Louisiana ex Rel. Folsom v. Mayor of New Orleans - 109 U.S. 285 (1883)


U.S. Supreme Court

Louisiana ex Rel. Folsom v. Mayor of New Orleans, 109 U.S. 285 (1883)

Louisiana ex Rel. Folsom v. Mayor of New Orleans

Argued April 9-10, 1883

Decided November 19, 1883

109 U.S. 285

Syllabus

1. The right to demand reimbursement from a municipal corporation for damages caused by a mob is not founded on contract. It is a statutory right, and may be given or taken away at pleasure.

2. The fact that a statutory right to demand reimbursement from a municipal corporation for damages caused by a mob has been converted into a judgment does not make of the obligation such a contract as is contemplated in the provision of Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution that no state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts.

3. The term "contract," as used in the Constitution, signifies the agreement of

Page 109 U. S. 286

two or more minds, for considerations proceeding from one to the other, to do or not to do certain acts.

4. To deny to a municipal corporation the right to impose taxes to such an extent as to make it impossible to pay a judgment recovered against it for injuries done by a mob is not depriving the owner of the judgment of property within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Mandamus prayed for in the Supreme Court of Louisiana to the city authorities of New Orleans to compel them to levy taxes and pay a judgment recovered by the relator. The prayer being denied, the decision was brought here on error for review on the ground of repugnancy to the Constitution and laws of the United States. The facts appear in the opinion of the Court.



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