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Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad Company v. Nesbit

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

51 U.S. 395

Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad Company  v.  Nesbit

THIS case was brought up from Baltimore County Court by a writ of error issued under the twenty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act.

The facts in the case are stated in the opinion of the court, to which the reader is referred.

It was argued by Mr. Campbell and Mr. Yellot, for the plaintiff in error, and Mr. Johnson, for the defendants in error.

The counsel for the plaintiff in error made the following points:--

1st. That the charter was a contract between the state of Maryland and the railroad company, and that the act of 1841, which varies the terms of that contract without the company's assent, is a law impairing the obligation of the contract, and therefore unconstitutional and void. Green v. Biddle, 8 Wheat., 84; Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Id., 647, 663, 668, 669, 699, 710, 711, 712.

2d. That the title to the land condemned having vested by the confirmation of the inquisition, and the tender of the money anterior to the action by the Baltimore County Court, under the act of 1841, that act is unconstitutional, because it divests vested rights, and in this way impairs the obligations of contracts.

Mr. Johnson contended,--

That there is nothing of the character of a contract in the charter, that, by the Constitution of the United States, deprives the legislature of the state of the power to order a re-hearing of the case. Satterlee v. Matthewson, 2 Pet., 380; Livingston's Lessee v. Moore et al., 7 Id., 469; Wilkinson v. Leland, 2 Id., 627; S.C.., 10 Id., 294; Watson v. Mercer, 8 Id., 88; Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 11 Id., 420.

Mr. Justice DANIEL delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).