The Court holds and adheres to its decisions in French v.
Asphalt Paving Co., Tonawanda v. Lyon, ante, 181 U. S. 371
Wight v. Davidson, ante, 181 U. S. 389
finds nothing in the record to show that the complainants have
entitled themselves to its interference.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.
MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
A bill in equity was filed in September, 1898, in the Circuit
Court for the County of Wayne, State of Michigan, by the Cass Farm
Company, Limited, and others, owners of lands lying and abutting
upon Second Avenue in the City of Detroit, against said city, the
board of public works, and the Alcatraz Asphalt Paving Company,
whereby it was sought to enjoin the City of Detroit from paving a
portion of Second Avenue and to have the proceedings taken with
reference to said paving declared void.
There was a decree in the circuit court in favor of
complainants, and thereupon the case was taken to the Supreme Court
of the State of Michigan, where the decree of the trial court
Page 181 U. S. 397
was reversed, and a decree was entered dismissing the
complainants' bill, with costs of both courts.
We learn from a statement in the opinion of the supreme court
that, among other grounds of relief stated in the bill was the
"That the provisions of the charter and of the paving ordinances
of the city, insofar as the same provide for an assessment of the
cost of paving upon the abutting property in proportion to the
frontage of such property, were in violation of the Constitution of
the United States and the amendments thereof, and therefore null
The state supreme court disposed of this contention in the
"In paving cases, the rule has been settled in this state by
many decisions that it is competent for the legislature to
authorize the cost of paving streets to be assessed upon the
abutting property according to frontage. . . ."
"It was said by Mr. Justice Cooley in Sheley v.
45 Mich. 431:"
" We might fill pages with the names of cases decided in other
states which have sustained assessments for improving streets,
though the apportionment of the cost was made on the same basis as
the one before us. If anything can be regarded as settled in
municipal law in this country, the power of the legislature to
permit such assessments and to direct an apportionment of the cost
by frontage should by this time be considered as no longer open to
controversy. Writers on constitutional law, on municipal law, and
on the law of taxation have collected the cases and have recognized
the principle as settled, and if the question were new in this
state, we might think it important to refer to what they say; but
the question is not new. It was settled for us thirty years
"We should feel inclined to follow the opinion of the Supreme
Court of the United States in Norwood v. Baker,
172 U. S.
, inasmuch as it was based upon the Fourteenth
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, if that were a
paving case; but that was a street-opening case, and until that
court shall pass upon the question in the exact form in which it is
here presented, we shall
Page 181 U. S. 398
feel bound to follow our own decisions."
The Cass Farm Improvement Co. v. Detroit,
We have recently held that it was not the intention of the
Fourteenth Amendment to subvert the systems of the states
pertaining to general and special taxation; that that Amendment
legitimately operates to extend to the citizens and residents of
the states the same protection against arbitrary state legislation
affecting life, liberty, and property as is afforded by the Fifth
Amendment against similar legislation by Congress, and that the
federal courts ought not to interfere when what is complained of is
the enforcement of the settled laws of the state applicable to all
persons in like circumstances and conditions, but only when there
is some abuse of law amounting to confiscation of property or
deprivation of personal rights, as was instanced in the case of
Norwood v. Baker, French v. Asphalt Paving Co., Tonawanda v.
Lyon, Wight v. Davidson, ante, 181 U. S. 324
181 U. S. 389
181 U. S. 371
We are not convinced by anything appearing in this record that
the complainants have entitled themselves to the interference of
this Court. As held by the supreme court of their own state, the
proceedings to enforce the payment of their proportion of a common
burden have been conducted in due regard to the forms and
provisions of the statutes and ordinances applicable to the facts
of the case, and disclose no departure, actual or intended, from
The judgment of the Supreme Court of the Michigan is
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE WHITE and
MR. JUSTICE McKENNA, dissenting.
The controlling question in the above case is the same as is
presented in French v. Barber Asphalt Paving Co., ante,
181 U. S. 324
Wight v. Davidson, ante, 181 U. S. 371
Tonawanda v. Lyon, ante, 181 U. S. 389
just decided. For the reasons stated in my opinions in those cases,
I dissent from the opinion and judgement of the court in this