Butchers' Union Co. v. Crescent City Co. - 111 U.S. 746 (1884)
U.S. Supreme Court
Butchers' Union Co. v. Crescent City Co., 111 U.S. 746 (1884)
Butchers' Union Slaughterhouse and Livestock Company v.
Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughterhouse Company
Argued April 9-10, 1884
Decided May 5, 1884
111 U.S. 746
The power of a state legislature to make a contract of such a character that, under the provisions of the Constitution, it cannot be modified or abrogated does not extend to subjects affecting public health or public morals so as to limit the future exercise of legislative power on those subjects to the prejudice of the general welfare.
In 1879, the Legislature of Louisiana granted the appellee exclusive privileges for stocklanding and slaughterhouses at New Orleans for twenty-five years, which were sustained by this Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases, 16 Wall. 36. In 1881, under a provision of the state constitution of 1874, the municipal authorities granted privileges for slaughterhouses and stocklanding at New Orleans to the appellants. The appellee as plaintiff below filed its bill in the circuit court to restrain the appellants from exercising the privileges thus conferred. A preliminary injunction was granted which, on hearing, was made perpetual. From this decree the defendants below appealed. The legislation and other facts bearing upon the issues are stated in the opinion of the court.