Contributors to Pennsylvania Hospital v. Philadelphia,
245 U.S. 20 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Contributors to Pennsylvania Hospital v. Philadelphia, 245 U.S. 20 (1917)

Contributors to Pennsylvania Hospital

v. City of Philadelphia

No. 349

Argued October 16, 1917

Decided November 5, 1917

245 U.S. 20


So vital a governmental power as the power, upon just compensation, to take private property for public use cannot be divested through contracts made by the state. Such contracts are not within the protection of the contract clause of the Constitution.

Proceedings taken by a city to condemn land for a street through the grounds of a charitable corporation were resisted in reliance on an act by which, for valuable considerations, the legislature had prohibited such takings without the corporation's consent. The city undertook to condemn not only the land, but also the right under the contract. Held that the contract could not be successfully opposed to the power of condemnation, and this quite apart from the attempt to condemn the contract right itself, since, if the contract exemption were otherwise valid, its defeat by such a method would be a mere evasion.

Without departing from the settled rule that a writ of error will be dismissed if its total want of merit is shown conclusively by decisions of this Court extant at time of decision below, in this case, the course and resulting aspect of the proceedings below warrant a decree of affirmance.

254 Pa.St. 392 affirmed.

Page 245 U. S. 21

The case is stated in the opinion.

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