LEAGUE V. TEXAS, 184 U. S. 156 (1902)

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U.S. Supreme Court

League v. Texas, 184 U.S. 156 (1902)

League v. Texas

No. 137

Argued and submitted January 29, 1902

Decided February 21, 1902

184 U.S. 156


A state may adopt new remedies for the collection of taxes, and apply those remedies to taxes already delinquent, without any violation of the federal Constitution.

That in the new remedy in the case at bar, as well as in the change from the old to the new, there was no violation of the Constitution of the State of Texas, is settled for this Court by the decisions of the highest court of that state.

Whether the title on this case which passed by the sale was conditioned or absolute, the state may waive the rights obtained by such sale and prescribe the terms upon which it will waive them.

A delinquent taxpayer who fails to discharge his obligation to the state, compelling it to go into court to enforce payment of the taxes due on his land, has no ground of complaint because he is charged with the ordinary fees and expenses of a law suit.

The Fourteenth Amendment contains no prohibition of retrospective legislation as such, and therefore, now, as before, the mere fact that a statute is retroactive in its operation does not make it repugnant to the federal Constitution.

On August 6, 1898, the State of Texas filed a petition in the district court of San Augustine County, Texas, averring that the defendant was justly indebted to the State of Texas and the County of San Augustine in the sum of $1,305.87, on account of taxes, interest, penalties, and costs due on certain described lands for the years 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1895, and 1896. The prayer was for a recovery of the taxes, interest, etc., and for a decree establishing and enforcing a lien upon the several tracts for the amounts found due upon each. An answer was filed and a trial had, which resulted, on September 9, 1889, in a finding that there was due the state the amount claimed for taxes, etc., a decree that the state recover the amount thereof from the defendant, and adjudging a lien upon the several tracts therefor, and directing a foreclosure and sale. On appeal to the court of civil appeals,

Page 184 U. S. 157

the decree was modified by striking out the taxes of 1884 all penalties and the personal judgment against the defendant, leaving the decree to stand as a finding of the amount due for taxes subsequent to the year 1884, interest and costs, and a foreclosure of a lien therefor upon the several tracts. This modification reduced the amount of the recovery to $1,232.77, with interest at six percent from September 9, 1899, the date of the decree in the district court. On error to the supreme court of the state, the decree of the court of civil appeals was affirmed, 93 Tex. 553, whereupon this writ of error was sued out.

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