Georgia Railway & Power Co. v. Decatur
262 U.S. 432 (1923)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Georgia Railway & Power Co. v. Decatur, 262 U.S. 432 (1923)

Georgia Railway & Power Co. v. Decatur

No. 463

Argued April 24, 25, 1923

Decided June 4, 1923

262 U.S. 432

Syllabus

1. A judgment of a state supreme court which does not terminate the litigation between the parties in such manner that, should there be an affirmance here, the court below would have nothing to do but to execute the judgment it had rendered, is not a final judgment for the purpose of review in this Court, even though it be regarded by the state court as settling the law of the case. P. 262 U. S. 436.

2. Upon review of a judgment of a state supreme court, its decision upholding the power of a municipality of the state, under the local constitution and laws, to enter into a rate contract with a street railway company is controlling upon this Court. P. 262 U. S. 437.

3. But, in deciding constitutional questions presented, this Court will determine for itself whether there is in fact a contract and, if so, the extent of its binding obligations, but will lean to an agreement with the state court. P. 262 U. S. 438.

4. A street railway company cannot avoid the obligation to abide by maximum rates fixed by a valid contract with a town by showing that they have become confiscatory. P. 262 U. S. 438.

5. A state statute extending the corporate limits of a town and construed by the state supreme court as having the effect of rendering applicable to the added territory maximum street railway rates fixed by an earlier contract between the town and the street railway company impairs the obligation of the contract by adding to its burdens. P. 262 U. S. 439.

6. In the absence of any showing that the classification is in fact unreasonable and arbitrary, a statute which empowers a commission to revise the rates of street railway companies as they may be fixed by future contracts with municipalities, but not those fixed by contracts existing when the statute passed, cannot be said to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as applied to a company whose contract is thus excepted and prescribes a maximum rate which the company claims to be inadequate. P. 262 U. S. 439.

7. An order of a state commission requiring a street railroad company to continue issuance of transfers and to provide additional

Page 262 U. S. 433

seating capacity and trailer cars upheld against constitutional objection in view of obligations imposed by a contract between the company and a municipality and the powers of the commission. P. 262 U. S. 439.

153 Ga. 329 reversed; certiorari denied.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Georgia affirming a decree for the Town of Decatur in its suit to enjoin the plaintiffs in error from increasing the fare on a street car line in violation of a contract.

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