Yost v. Dallas County
236 U.S. 50 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Yost v. Dallas County, 236 U.S. 50 (1915)

Yost v. Dallas County

No. 604

Argued January 6, 1915

Decided January 18, 1915

236 U.S. 50

Syllabus

The obligation of bonds issued by a county pursuant to legislative authority is an obligation under, and not paramount to, the authority of the state.

While the district court has jurisdiction, where diverse citizenship exists, of a suit upon bonds issued by a county pursuant to legislative authority, the extent of the obligation is determined by the statutes of the state, and not by the Constitution of the United ,states.

A plaintiff, by bringing suit in the federal court upon the contract obligation of a county, acquires no greater rights than are given by local statutes.

The right given in bonds issued by a county pursuant to legislative authority to have a tax levied, collected, and applied to their payment is to have such tax levied and collected in the manner provided by statute, and courts cannot substitute their own appointee in place of one contemplated by the act.

Even where the state court, by mandamus, has directed the officers of a county to levy and collect a tax as required by the state statute and apply it to the payment of a judgment for defaulted bonds, and they have failed to do so, the federal court has not jurisdiction to appoint a commission to levy, collect, and apply the tax.

Until the highest court of Missouri otherwise construes Rev.Stat., § 11417, Missouri, giving the circuit court power to enforce by mandamus or otherwise an order of the county court to have a tax assessed, this Court will not construe the words "or otherwise" as authorizing the court to collect the tax itself, but as only allowing the resort to other means besides mandamus to compel the county court to do so.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of the district court, are stated in the opinion.

Page 236 U. S. 54

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