Battle v. WiLLCox, (No. 11463.)

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMARION
Citation122 S.E. 516
PartiesBATTLE et al. v. WILLCOX et al.
Docket Number(No. 11463.)
Decision Date15 April 1924

122 S.E. 516

BATTLE et al.
v.
WILLCOX et al.

(No. 11463.)

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

April 15, 1924.


[122 S.E. 516]

[Ed. Note.—For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, First and Second Series, Corporate Purpose.]

[Ed. Note.—For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, First and Second Series, Public Purpose.]

[Ed. Note.—For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, First and Second Series, Public Building.]

Fraser, J., dissenting.

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Marion County; S. W. G. Shipp, Judge.

Action by J. R. Battle and others, individually and for others in like situation, against E. T. Willcox, Chairman, and others, constituting the Board of County Commissioners of Marion County, and S. H. School-field and others, as remaining and surviving members of the Mullins Hospital Commission. From a judgment dismissing the complaint, plaintiffs appeal. Affirmed.

Gibson & Muller, of Dillon, for appellants.

L. D. Lide, H. S. McCandlish, and W. B. Norton, all of Marion, for respondents.

MARION, J. The General Assembly, by an act approved March 26, 1923 (33 Stat at Large, 758), authorized and empowered the board of county commissioners of Marion county to issue and sell bonds "for and on behalf of Reaves township of said county, * * * for the purpose of purchasing a site, erecting and equipping a hospital in said township to be located at Mullins, South Carolina, " etc. For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the act certain designated persons are constituted a hospital commission, vacancies in which commission are to be filled by appointment of the Governor "from the qualified electors of Reaves township, upon the recommendation of the majority of the legislative delegation from said county." The act confers upon this commission authority to purchase a site and erect and equip the hospital, and vests it "with the direction and management of all affairs pertaining to said hospital. Provision is made for the holding of an election for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors of Reaves township the question of whether the bonds thus authorized should be issued.

At an election duly held pursuant to the terms of the act it appears that a large majority of the votes were cast in favor of the issuance of the bonds. Thereupon the plain-

[122 S.E. 517]

tiffs, residents and taxpayers of Reaves township brought this action to enjoin the issuance and sale of the bonds upon the ground that the act of March 26, 1923, above referred to, is unconstitutional. From a decree of Judge Shipp sustaining the validity of the statute, refusing the injunction, and dismissing the complaint, the plaintiffs appeal.

The constitutionality of the act is questioned upon three grounds. These questions, which will be considered in the order presented by counsel, are to be resolved in the light of the familiar and well-settled general rule that every presumption must be indulged in favor of the constitutionality of an act of the Legislature, and that courts "should not declare a statute unconstitutional unless the invalidity is manifest beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Hammond, 66 S. C. 219, 227, 44 S. E. 797, 800; Massey v. Glenn, 106 S. 0. 53, 90 S. E. 321; City of Columbia v. Smith, 105 S. C. 348, 89 S. E. 1028; Lillard v. Melton, 103 S. C. 10, 87 S. E. 421.

1. Appellants' first contention is that the act is in contravention of section 5 of article 10 of the Constitution of 1895, in that the bonds are not sought to be issued for a corporate purpose. It is argued that, while townships are by express constitutional provision (article 7, § 11) constituted bodies politic and corporate, for which the "General Assembly may provide such system of township government as it shall think proper, " the General Assembly has never provided such system of township government, and that in the absence of affirmative legislative action to that end, prescribing the specific powers and defining the corporate purposes of townships, the erection and operation of a hospital may not be pronounced a corporate purpose within the meaning of section 5, art. 10, authorizing the assessment and collection of "taxes for corporate purposes." To sustain that view appellants rely largely upon the decisions of this court in Floyd v. Perrin, 30 S. C. 1, 8 S. E. 14, 2 L. R. A. 242, White-sides v. Neely, 30 S. C. 31, 8 S. E. 27, and Construction Co. v. Township, 49 S. C. 535, 27 S. E. 570. In those cases this court pronounced unconstitutional certain acts of the General Assembly, passed prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 1895, declaring certain townships bodies politic and corporate, authorizing them to subscribe to the stock of a railroad company, and providing for the payment of the subscription by taxation, upon the ground that subscription to the stock of a railroad was not a "corporate purpose" of a township. Prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 1895 the corporate existence and character of townships were wholly referable to and dependent upon such legislative provision therefor as might be made by the General Assembly. The decisions in the foregoing cases turned upon the view that there had been no such legislative declaration of the purposes and objects for which the townships had been erected into corporations as would justify the court in holding that a subscription to the stock of a railroad company was a corporate purpose for which taxes could be lawfully levied. As was said by Mr. Justice Jones in Allen v. Adams, 66 S. C. at page 356, 44 S. E. 938, 942, referring to the ground upon which Floyd v. Perrin was decided:

"The point of invalidity was found in the nondescript character of the...

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32 practice notes
  • Clarke v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth., No. 14137.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 10, 1935
    ...v. Moorer, 152 S. C. 455, 150 S. E. 269; Wingfield v. Tax Commission, 147 S. C. 116, 144 S. E. 846; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; Xepapas v. Richardson, 149 S. C. 52, 146 S. E. 686; Scroggie v. Scarborough, 162 S. C. 218, 160 S. E. 596; Santee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 15......
  • State Ex Rel. Richards v. Moorer, (No. 12746.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 12, 1929
    ...City of Sumter et al., 137 S. C. 266, 135 S. E. 60; Poulnot v. Cantwell, 129 S. C. 171, 123 S. E. 653; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; San-tee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 158, 115 S. E. 202; Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S. C. 345, 134 S. E. 380." The following clear statement......
  • Wingfield v. South Carolina Tax Comm'n, (No. 12499.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 25, 1928
    ...City of Sumter et al., 137 S. C. 266, 135 S. E. 60; Poulnot v. Cantwell, 129 S. C. 171, 123 S. E. 653; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; Santee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 158, 115 S. E. 202; Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S. C. 345, 134 S. E. 3S0. We find the following clear statemen......
  • Mills Mill v. Hawkins, No. 17312
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 19, 1957
    ...general school law. To like effect was the decision in Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S.C. 345, 134 S.E. 380. In Battle v. Willcox, 128 S.C. 500, 122 S.E. 516, which involved an act authorizing the Commissioners of Marion County to issue bonds of Reaves Township for the establishment of a hospital......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Clarke v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth., No. 14137.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 10, 1935
    ...v. Moorer, 152 S. C. 455, 150 S. E. 269; Wingfield v. Tax Commission, 147 S. C. 116, 144 S. E. 846; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; Xepapas v. Richardson, 149 S. C. 52, 146 S. E. 686; Scroggie v. Scarborough, 162 S. C. 218, 160 S. E. 596; Santee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 15......
  • State Ex Rel. Richards v. Moorer, (No. 12746.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 12, 1929
    ...City of Sumter et al., 137 S. C. 266, 135 S. E. 60; Poulnot v. Cantwell, 129 S. C. 171, 123 S. E. 653; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; San-tee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 158, 115 S. E. 202; Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S. C. 345, 134 S. E. 380." The following clear statement......
  • Wingfield v. South Carolina Tax Comm'n, (No. 12499.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 25, 1928
    ...City of Sumter et al., 137 S. C. 266, 135 S. E. 60; Poulnot v. Cantwell, 129 S. C. 171, 123 S. E. 653; Battle v. Willcox, 128 S. C. 500, 122 S. E. 516; Santee Mills v. Query, 122 S. C. 158, 115 S. E. 202; Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S. C. 345, 134 S. E. 3S0. We find the following clear statemen......
  • Mills Mill v. Hawkins, No. 17312
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 19, 1957
    ...general school law. To like effect was the decision in Powell v. Hargrove, 136 S.C. 345, 134 S.E. 380. In Battle v. Willcox, 128 S.C. 500, 122 S.E. 516, which involved an act authorizing the Commissioners of Marion County to issue bonds of Reaves Township for the establishment of a hospital......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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