WILSON V. LAMBERT, 168 U. S. 611 (1898)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wilson v. Lambert, 168 U.S. 611 (1898)

Wilson v. Lambert

No. 164

Argued December 13-14, 1897

Decided January 8, 1898

168 U.S. 611


Courts of equity have jurisdiction to hear the complaints of those who assert that their lands are about to be assessed and subjected to liens by a board or commission acting in pursuance of the provisions of a statute which has been enacted under the forms of law, but which, it is claimed, is unconstitutional, and therefore does not avail to confer the powers sought to be exercised.

Page 168 U. S. 612

The sixth section of the Act of September 27, 1890, c. 1001, 26 Stat. 492, authorizing the establishment of Rock Creek Park in the District of Columbia, does not violate the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and is valid.

In January, 1895, Mary Van Riswick, widow, and Avarilla Lambert, and Martina Carr, children and heirs, of John Van Riswick, deceased, filed a bill of complaint in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia against the commission, under the Rock Creek Park Act of September 27, 1890, seeking to restrain the said commission from assessing lands of the complainants for any portion of the cost and expenses of locating and improving the Rock Creek Park, for the alleged reason that the sixth section of the said act, under which the commission was acting in proposing to make such assessment, was unconstitutional and void.

The cause was so proceeded in that, on September 30, 1895, the Supreme Court of the District rendered a final decree as prayed for in the bill. From that decree an appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, and by that court, on March 17, 1896, the decree of the Supreme Court of the District was affirmed. The cause was then brought to this Court on appeal.

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