Griffith v. Connecticut - 218 U.S. 563 (1910)
U.S. Supreme Court
Griffith v. Connecticut, 218 U.S. 563 (1910)
Griffith v. Connecticut
Motion to dismiss or affirm
Submitted November 28, 1910
Decided December 12, 1910
218 U.S. 563
Fixing maximum rates of interest on money loaned within the state by persons subject to its jurisdiction is clearly within the police power of the state, and the details are within legislative discretion if not unreasonably and arbitrarily exercised.
Classification, on a reasonable basis of subjects, within the police power,
is within legislative discretion and a reasonable selection which is not merely arbitrary and without real difference does not deny equal protection of the laws within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The statute of Connecticut of 1907, limiting interest on loans is not unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the laws because it excepts loans made by national and state banks and trust companies and bona fide mortgages on real and personal property: the classification is a reasonable one.
The contract clause of the federal Constitution does not give validity to contracts that are properly prohibited by statute.
If the validity of the particular subject of classification assailed has not been so foreclosed by prior decisions as to render discussion frivolous, the motion to dismiss will be denied, but if, as in this case, it is manifest that the contention is, in view of prior decisions, without merit, the motion to affirm will prevail.
83 Conn. 1 affirmed.
Upon a prosecution originating in the Police Court of the City of Hartford, in Hartford County, Connecticut, the plaintiff in error was tried and convicted in the superior court of the county upon an information alleging, in six counts, the commission of offenses against chapter 238 of the Public Acts of Connecticut of 1907. The offenses charged were the exacting on certain loans of money a rate of interest greater than fifteen percent per annum, contrary to the provisions of the first section of the act, and in accepting notes for an amount greater than that actually loaned with intent to evade the provisions of said first section, contrary to the provisions of the second section of the act. During the course of the trial, the accused, in various forms, assailed the validity of the statute referred to because of repugnancy to the contract clause of the Constitution of the United States and to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. From a judgment imposing a fine as to the conviction upon each count, an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of Errors. The judgment of the superior court was affirmed (83 Conn. 1), and the case was then brought here.
Since the filing of the record of the State of Connecticut has moved that the writ of error be dismissed, or, in the alternative, that the judgment be affirmed.