4 F. 282 (D.Colo. 1880), Stebbins v. Board of County Com'rs of Pueblo County

Citation:4 F. 282
Party Name:STEBBINS v. THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF PUEBLO COUNTY.
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 282

4 F. 282 (D.Colo. 1880)

STEBBINS

v.

THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF PUEBLO COUNTY.

United States Circuit Court, D. Colorado.

1880

. . ., for plaintiff.

. . ., for defendant.

MILLER, C.J.

The case of Stebbins against the board of county commissioners is submitted, and at Judge Hallett's request I have examined it, and pronounced the result. This is a suit on bonds issued by Pueblo county in aid of a railroad

Page 283

called the Pueblo & Salt Lake Railroad, or some such name as that, that were issued in 1874. The defence to them is that the county had no authority to subscribe to stock in any railroad at the time. An act of the territorial legislature of 1866 does authorize counties to take stock in railroad companies, but the argument is, and the plea is, that at that time there existed no law by which any railroad company could be organized in the manner that this company has been organized; that the act of congress of March 2, 1867, impliedly forbade such organization; and probably that is a fair construction of that act. But, by a subsequent act of 1872, congress, as the defendant alleges, undertook to construe that act, and in their construction of it they declare that it should be held to extend to the right to organize railroad companies. It is denied that congress has any right to give a construction to the statute which will bind the court, and therefore that act of 1867 remains, and this railroad has no competent organization which will enable it to take subscriptions to stock. But, in a case which came up concerning taxation under the internal revenue law, which I decided myself in the supreme court, a very similar statute, construing a former statute, is made the subject of consideration, and in that case the court held that, while it might not be true that rights existing prior to the explanatory or declaratory statute will be affected by that declaratory statute, yet, inasmuch as congress or any legislative body has a right to pass a law for the future that such a statute shall be held to mean so and so, while it may not affect past transactions, it is equivalent to the passage of a statute of that character for the future; and, while it is not necessary for us to decide here whether that declaratory statute would affect any contracts or transactions prior to its passage, it is sufficient to say that after its passage it became a part of the law of 1867, and it was a declaration by...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP