Keefe v. Clark,
322 U.S. 393 (1944)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Keefe v. Clark, 322 U.S. 393 (1944)

Keefe v. Clark

No. 634

Argued April 27, 28, 1944

Decided May 22, 1944

322 U.S. 393


1. Where the contract is between a political subdivision of a State and private individuals, the obligation alleged to have been impaired in violation of the Federal Constitution must be clearly and unequivocally expressed. P. 322 U. S. 396.

2. The foregoing rule of construction applies with special force in the present case, since the interpretation of the contract urged by appellants would result in a drastic limitation of the power of the State to remedy a situation obviously inimical to the interests of municipal creditors and the general public. P. 322 U. S. 397.

3. The Michigan statute upon which the owners of special assessment drain bonds here rely, dealing with the levy of an additional assessment in the event that the bonds are not paid in full at maturity, did not secure to the bond owners any right which was impaired by later statutes providing for sale by the State, free of all encumbrances, of land for unpaid taxes; and the later statutes did not impair the obligation of their contracts in violation of the Federal Constitution. P. 322 U. S. 397.

306 Mich. 503, 11 N.W.2d 220, affirmed.

Page 322 U. S. 394

Appeal from a judgment modifying and affirming a declaratory judgment which, in a suit by special assessment bond owners against county officials, determined the rights of the bond owners, appellants here.

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