Eubank v. Richmond,
226 U.S. 137 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Eubank v. Richmond, 226 U.S. 137 (1912)

Eubank v. City of Richmond

No. 48

Argued November 12, 13, 1912

Decided December 2, 1912

226 U.S. 137


While the police power of the state extends not only to regulations promoting public health, morals and safety, but also to those promoting public convenience and general prosperity, it has its limits, and must stop when it encounters the prohibitions of the federal Constitution.

A clash between the police power of the state and constitutional limitations will not be lightly inferred, but the exact point of contact cannot be determined by any general formula in advance. Hudson Water Co. v. McCarter, 209 U. S. 349.

Governmental powers must be flexible and adaptive.

The party assailing the constitutionality of a state police statute must clearly show that it offends constitutional guaranties in order to justify the court in declaring it invalid.

A municipal ordinance requiring the authorities to establish building lines on separate blocks back of the public streets and across private property on the request of less than all of the owners of the property affected is not a valid exercise of police power, nor does it serve the public safety, convenience, or welfare.

Such an ordinance takes private property, not for public welfare but for convenience of other owners of property, and deprives the person whose property is taken of his property without due process of law and is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The ordinance of the City of Richmond based on Chapter 349 of the Laws of Virginia of 1908, requiring the municipal authorities to establish building lines in any block on request of the owners of two-thirds of the property, is unconstitutional as an attempt to deprive nonassenting owners of their property without due process of law.

110 Va. 749 reversed.

Page 226 U. S. 138

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of an ordinance of the City of Richmond, Virginia, fixing a building line, are stated in the opinion.

Page 226 U. S. 140

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