323 U.S. 329 (1945), 8, City of Cleveland v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 8
Citation:323 U.S. 329, 65 S.Ct. 280, 89 L.Ed. 274
Party Name:City of Cleveland v. United States
Case Date:January 02, 1945
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 329

323 U.S. 329 (1945)

65 S.Ct. 280, 89 L.Ed. 274

City of Cleveland

v.

United States

No. 8

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 2, 1945

Argued December 6, 1944

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO

Syllabus

1. Under § 266 of the Judicial Code, the jurisdiction of a district court of three judges was properly invoked to hear and determine a suit to restrain county and municipal officials from assessing and collecting allegedly unconstitutional taxes where such officials were acting in the interest of the State and pursuant to a state law of statewide application. P. 332.

2. The United States Housing Act of September 1, 1937, providing for the use of federal funds and credit to improve housing conditions, was a valid exercise of the power of Congress to provide for the general welfare. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 1. P. 333.

3. It was within the power of Congress to exempt from state taxation property acquired and owned by the United States, or an instrumentality thereof, pursuant to the United States Housing Act. P. 333.

52 F.Supp. 906 affirmed.

143 Ohio St. 251, 55 N.E.2d 265, reversed.

Appeals in Nos. 68 and 69 from a decree of a district court of three judges enjoining assessment and collection of state taxes and, in No. 388, from a judgment sustaining the denial of an application for exemption from a state tax.

Page 330

ROBERTS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

These appeals present the same question of substantive law, and will be dealt with in a single opinion.

In No. 68, the appellees sought an injunction against the taxing officials of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and those of the City of Cleveland, to restrain them from attempting to assess and collect taxes, pursuant to the laws of Ohio, on lands acquired by condemnation and owned by the appellees in the city and county. A preliminary injunction was issued but, pursuant to stipulation, the court proceeded at once to hear the case on the merits, and entered a final injunction.1

Page 331

The lands involved were acquired by the United States by condemnation under the National Recovery programme for low-cost housing projects. The Federal Public Housing Authority then erected low-cost dwelling units which were leased to Cleveland Metropolitan Housing, a Ohio authority. The latter has sublet the units to tenants for residence purposes.

The appellant contended that the United States Housing Act of September 1, 1937,2 is unconstitutional because Congress has no power under the Constitution to establish low-cost housing projects.

A majority of the court below held the federal statute authorized by the Constitution.3 Its reasoning was that, even though the evils of bad housing are local in their origin, their effect may become so widespread as to create a menace to the national welfare, and that Congress is empowered to deal with the subject in that aspect. The dissenting judge was of the view that the...

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