CINCINNATI V. VESTER, 281 U. S. 439 (1930)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cincinnati v. Vester, 281 U.S. 439 (1930)

Cincinnati v. Vester

Nos. 372, 373, and 374

Argued April 17, 21, 1930

Decided May 19, 1930

281 U.S. 439


1. In considering the application of the Fourteenth Amendment to cases of expropriation of private property, the question what is a public use is a judicial one. P. 281 U. S. 446.

2. Under Art. XVIII, § 10, of the Ohio Constitution, which provides that a municipality, in appropriating property for a public use, may, "in furtherance of such public use," appropriate an excess over that actually to be occupied by a proposed improvement, and, under § 3679, General Code of Ohio, which requires that, in the making of an appropriation, there shall be a resolution of the municipal council "defining the purpose of the appropriation," etc., a condemnation of private land in excess of that taken for widening a street cannot be sustained where its purpose is stated in the resolution only as being "in furtherance" of the widening of the street and "necessary for the complete enjoyment and preservation of said public use," and where a like general, but no specific, explanation of purpose is in the ordnance providing for the excess appropriation. P. 281 U. S. 447.

3. The power conferred on a municipal corporation to take private property for public use must be strictly followed. P. 281 U. S. 448.

4. This Court will not decide important constitutional questions unnecessarily or hypothetically. P. 281 U. S. 448.

5. Questions relating to the constitutional validity of an excess condemnation by a city should not be determined upon conjecture as to the contemplated purposes when the object of the excess appropriation is not set forth as required by the local law. P. 281 U. S. 449.

33 F.2d 242 affirmed.

Page 281 U. S. 440

Certiorari, 280 U.S. 545, to review decrees affirming permanent injunctions awarded by the district court in suits by owners of land in Cincinnati to restrain "appropriations by the city."

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