O'NEILL V. LEAMER, 239 U. S. 244 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

O'Neill v. Leamer, 239 U.S. 244 (1915)

O'Neill v. Leamer

No. 33

Argued October 25, 26, 1915

Decided November 29, 1915

239 U.S. 244


The propriety of delegating authority by the legislature to a court in the matter of formation of drainage districts is a state question.

Plaintiffs in error having unsuccessfully contended in the state court that the appropriation of their property for a drainage ditch was essentially for a private purpose, and hence deprived them of property

Page 239 U. S. 245

without due process of law, this Court has jurisdiction to renew the judgment under § 237, Judicial Code.

The provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment embody fundamental conceptions of justice, and do not prevent a state from adopting a public policy to meet special exigencies, such as the irrigation of arid, and the reclamation of wet, lands; nor does anything in the federal Constitution deny to a state the right to formulate such a policy or to exercise eminent domain to carry it into effect.

The judgment of the state court in determining matters with which it is peculiarly familiar, such a necessity for establishing drainage districts, is entitled to the highest respect.

The Statutes of Nebraska of 1905 and 1909 relative to the establishment of drainage district and the establishment thereof by the district court, and the proceedings thereunder establishing such a district and appropriating property thereunder by eminent domain and payment of compensation therefor, held not to be unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the law to the owner of property taken, or depriving such owner of property without due process of law, or as impairing the obligation of any contract, or as violating any provision of the Fifteenth Amendment.

93 Neb. 786 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment and other provisions of the federal Constitution of the Drainage District Law of Nebraska, and of a tax levied thereunder, are stated in the opinion.

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