Vance v. Vance,
108 U.S. 514 (1883)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Vance v. Vance, 108 U.S. 514 (1883)

Vance v. Vance

Decided May 7, 1883

108 U.S. 514


The Civil Code of Louisiana provided, in respect of tutors of minors, as follows:

"The property of the tutor is tacitly mortgaged in favor of the minor from the day of his appointment as tutor, as security for his administration, and for the responsibility which results from it."

The Constitution of Louisiana, subsequently adopted in April, 1868, provided as follows:

"No mortgage or privilege shall hereafter affect third parties, unless recorded in the parish where the property to be affected is situated. The tacit mortgages and privileges now existing in this state shall cease to have effect against third persons after the 1st January, 1870, unless duly recorded. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration of all mortgages and privileges."

The Legislature of Louisiana, on the 8th March, 1869, enacted the necessary legislation to carry this provision of the state constitution into effect:


1. That these provisions of the constitution and of the statute requiring owners of tacit mortgages to record them for the protection of innocent persons dealing with the tutor, and giving ample time and opportunity to do what was required, and what was eminently just to everybody, did not impair the obligation of contracts.

2. That these provisions are in the nature of statutes of limitations. Previous decisions of the court respecting limitations referred to and approved.

3. That the fact that the plaintiff was a minor when the law went into operation makes no difference. In the absence of a provision in the Constitution of the United States giving minors special rights, it is within the legislative competency of a state to make exceptions in their favor or not, and the act in question made no exception.

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