GRAHAM V. FOLSOM, 200 U. S. 248 (1906)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Graham v. Folsom, 200 U.S. 248 (1906)

Graham v. Folsom

No. 108

Argued December 8, 1905

Decided January 8, 1906

200 U.S. 248


The power of the state to alter or destroy its municipal corporations is not, so far as the impairment of the obligation clause of the federal Constitution is concerned, greater than the power to repeal its legislation, and the alteration or destruction of subordinate governmental divisions is not the proper exercise of legislative power when it impairs the obligations of contracts previously entered into.

Courts cannot permit themselves to be deceived, and while they will not inquire too closely into the motives of the state, they will not ignore the effect of its action, and will not permit the obligation of a contract to be impaired by the abolition or change of the boundaries of a municipality. Where a tax has been provided for and there are officers to collect it, the court will direct those officers to lay the tax and collect it from the property within the boundaries of the territory that constituted the municipality.

A suit to compel county officers to levy and collect a tax on property within the county to pay bonds of a municipality is not, under the circumstances of this case, a suit against the state, either because those officers are also state officers or because the bonds were issued under legislative authority.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 200 U. S. 249

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