The Mayor v. Lord,
76 U.S. 409 (1869)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Mayor v. Lord, 76 U.S. 9 Wall. 409 409 (1869)

The Mayor v. Lord

76 U.S. (9 Wall.) 409


1. A mandamus directed to the mayor and aldermen of a city is rightly enough directed, if it appears that they together constitute the city council and have the government of it, even although the city may be incorporated by the name of "the city of _____," and by that name have power under the charter to sue and be sued.

2. A state law prescribing rules of practice has no efficacy in the courts of the United States, unless those courts adopt it.

3. When a creditor has a judgment at law for a debt against a city on the city bonds, the city cannot set up in defense to an application for mandamus that the bonds were not sanctioned by a requisite popular vote.

4. An injunction from a state court against a city's levying a tax to pay certain bonds of the city cannot be set up to prevent a mandamus from the federal courts ordering the city to levy a tax to pay a judgment obtained against it on those same bonds. Riggs v. Johnson County, 6 Wall. 166, affirmed.

5. A recital in an alternative mandamus to a city to levy and collect a tax, in a coming year on the real cash valuation of its property for that year (stating the value), that property in the city is subject to taxation at such real cash valuation, but that its assessed valuation had never exceeded one-half of that valuation, and that the mayor and aldermen were authorized by the city charter to correct the valuation when erroneous, and that they had hitherto neglected to perform that duty, is not traversed by a denial that the valuation never exceeded half the cash value, and an averment that the city council always performed its duty in respect to correcting erroneous assessments.

Error to the Circuit Court for the District of Iowa, in which court the United States, on the relation or one R. L. Lord, were plaintiffs, and asked and obtained a peremptory mandamus against the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Davenport, defendants.

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