United States v. McLean - 95 U.S. 750 (1877)


U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. McLean, 95 U.S. 750 (1877)

United States v. McLean

95 U.S. 750

Syllabus

1. After the salary of a deputy postmaster has been fixed, it cannot be increased until a readjustment of it, based upon his quarterly returns, shall have been made by the Postmaster General.

2. Such readjustment is an executive act, taking effect in all cases prospectively, and if it be not performed, the law imposes no obligation upon the government to pay an increased salary.

3. Courts cannot enforce rights depending for their existence upon a prior performance by an executive officer of certain duties which he has failed to perform.

This was an action by McLean to recover $569.50 for compensation which he claimed to be due him as deputy postmaster at Florence, Kansas, from April 14, 1871, to July 1, 1872.

The Court of Claims found in his favor and rendered judgment for that amount. The United States appealed to this court.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 95 U. S. 751



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