Hunter, Jr v. City of Pittsburgh, No. 264

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMoody
Citation52 L.Ed. 151,28 S.Ct. 40,207 U.S. 161
PartiesD. HUNTER, JR., Robert K. Cochrane, John A. Sauer, Herman W. Heckleman, and the City of Allegheny, Plffs. in Err., v. CITY OF PITTSBURGH
Docket NumberNo. 264
Decision Date18 November 1907

207 U.S. 161
28 S.Ct. 40
52 L.Ed. 151
D. HUNTER, JR., Robert K. Cochrane, John A. Sauer, Herman W. Heckleman, and the City of Allegheny, Plffs. in Err.,

v.

CITY OF PITTSBURGH.

No. 264.
Argued October 25, 28, 1907.
Decided November 18, 1907.

A law of the state of Pennsylvania provides for the union of cities which are contiguous or in close proximity, by the annexation of the lesser to the larger. The parts of that law material to this decision follow:

'Sec. 1. Be it enacted, etc., that wherever in this common-

Page 162

wealth, now or hereafter, two cities shall be contiguous or in close proximity to each other, the two, with any intervening land other than boroughs, may be united and become one by annexing and consolidating the lesser city and the intervening land other than boroughs, if any, with the greater city, and thus making one consolidated city, if, at an election, to be held as hereinafter provided, there shall be a majority of all the votes cast in favor of such union.

'Sec. 2. The councils of either of said cities may, by ordinance, direct that a petition be filed in the court of quarter sessions of the county in which such cities are situate, or 2 per centum of the registered voters of either of said cities may present their petition to said court, praying that the two cities and any intervening land other than boroughs shall be united and become one city. Thereupon the said petition shall be filed; and the court shall fix a time for the hearing thereof, not more than twenty days thereafter, and direct that notice be given to the mayor or chief executive officer of each of the said cities, and the clerk of the councils of each of said cities, and by publication in one or more newspapers published in either of said cities, and such other notice as the court may deem proper, including notice to one or more of the officers of whatever may be the municipal subdivision of the state in which any intervening land other than boroughs may lie.

* * * * *

'Sec. 4. Any person interested may file exceptions to said petition prior to the day fixed for hearing. At such hearing any person in interest shall be heard; but if the court shall find that the petition and proceedings are regular and in conformity with this act, it shall order an election to be held in the said cities, to vote for or against the proposed consolidation, at which all the legal voters of either of said cities, and of the said intervening land, if any, shall be qualified to vote.

* * * * *

'Sec. 7. If it shall appear by the vote, when computed and certified as aforesaid, that a majority of all the lawful voters of the two cities and the intervening land, voting

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upon such question, have voted in favor of the annexation or consolidation, the said court of quarter sessions shall enter a decree annexing and consolidating the lesser city, and any intervening land other than boroughs, with the greater city, so that they form but one city, and in the name of the greater or larger city.

'Sec. 8. Each of the constituent cities, and the intervening land, if any, so consolidated, shall pay its own floating and bonded indebtedness and liabilities of every kind, and the interest thereon, as the same existed at the time of annexation; and the councils of the consolidated city shall levy, respectively, on the properties in each of the said cities and intervening land so consolidated, and as they existed at the time of annexation, a tax sufficient to provide funds for each to pay its own floating and bonded indebtedness and liabilities and interest, as the same may accrue. The court of quarter sessions is given jurisdiction to ascertain what the bonded and floating indebtedness, and liabilities, and properties, and assets of each of the said cities and the said intervening land may be; due notice being given and an opportunity to be heard being allowed to all parties in interest.

'Sec. 9. All the citizens of each of the united cities and of the intervening land shall be entitled to, and shall enjoy and exercise, full rights of citizenship in the said enlarged and consolidated city. All the rights of creditors and all liens and all the rights of the constituent cities and the government of the intervening land, to enforce the payment of moneys due either, or of contract liabilities, or of other claims or rights of property, existing in either city or in the government of the intervening land at the time of the annexation, shall be preserved unimpaired to each; and each of the said cities and the government of the intervening land, for the purpose of enforcing its rights and claims in the premises, and also of having prior rights and claims enforced against it, shall be deemed in law to continue in existence.

Page 164

'Except as herein otherwise provided, all the property, real, personal, and mixed, and rights and privileges of every kind, vested in or belonging to either of said cities or to the intervening land prior to and at the time of the annexation, shall be vested in and owned by the consolidated or united city.

* * * * *

'All moneys accruing from time to time from delinquent taxes prior to the annexation, and all assessments against private property for public improvements for which the contractors shall have been paid, shall be applied to the indebtedness of the city to which the same shall belong. In case of annexation, the court may appoint commissioners to ascertain the floating and bonded indebtedess of each of the said municipal subdivisions, at the time of annexation, including the share of the municipal indebtedness for which any intervening land may be liable, and also an account of all property, of every kind, owned or claimed by the cities, or the share of the intervening land to any property owned by the municipal subdivision of the state of which it is a part, prior to and at the time of annexation. The court may also order an account to be taken by the said commissioners of all moneys on hand or receivable, applicable to the payment of the floating or bonded indebtedness of the respective municipalities or of the intervening land, at the date of annexation. Such money shall be, respectively, applied in payment of the floating or bonded indebtedness of the respective municipalities or of the intervening land.

* * * * *

'After the commissioners have made report, the court shall, by its decree, fix the said indebtendness and liabilities, and also the properties and assets, of all kinds, at the time of the annexation, belonging to each territory, united in the consolidation.'

The city of Pittsburgh, under the provision of this act, filed in the court of quarter sessions of Allegheny county a petition asking for the union of the city of Allegheny with the city of

Page 165

Pittsburgh. The plaintiffs in error (except the city of Allegheny) seasonably filed exceptions to the petition under § 4 of the act. The parts of the exceptions material here are as follows:

'1st. That they are residents and citizens, voters, taxpayers, and owners of real estate and personal property within the city of Allegheny, county of Allegheny, and state of Pennsylvania.

'4th. That the population of the city of Pittsburgh by the census of 1900 was 321,616 and that it has now a population of at least 350,000. That there were polled at the last mayoralty election in the said city, on February 20th, 1906, about 62,000 votes in round numbers.

'That the population of the city of Allegheny, by the census of 1900, was 129,896, and that it is probably about 150,000 at the present time; that there were polled at the last mayoralty election in the said city, on February 20th, 1906, about 24,000 votes in round numbers.

'6th. The city of Allegheny has improved its streets, established its own system of electric lighting; and has established a satisfactory water supply. The city of Pittsburgh is largely in debt; has established large and extensive parks in the eastern part of the city; built expensive and costly boulevards; extensive and costly reservoirs for the supply of wateer; and is contemplating still greater expenditures of money in the cutting down and grading of the elevation of Fifth avenue, known as the hump; and the construction of an extensive filtration plant; and a large expenditure of money in the purchase of the Monongahela Water Company platn,—a plant owned by a private corporation; and the further expensive construction of an electric light plant to be owned by the city of Pittsburgh, the said city owning at the present time no light plant, it being supplied with light from a private corporation; and the further expenditure of various sums of money for the acquirement of advantages and property which the citizens of Allegheny now practically own and enjoy but which the

Page 166

citizens of Pittsburgh do not, and to acquire which would largely increase the indebtedness of the city of Pittsburgh, and if the city of Allegheny should be annexed to the city of Pittsburgh, the taxpayers of Allegheny, including your respondents, will, in addition to the payment of the taxes necessary to pay and liquidate their own indebtedness, have to bear and pay their proportion of the new indebtedness that must necessarily be created to acquire the facilities, properties, and improvements, herein stated, in Pittsburgh; all of which would be of no benefit to the citizens and taxpayers of Allegheny, including your respondents, who now own and possess these advantages and privileges; and which will largely and unnecessarily increase the taxes of your respondents, as well as the taxes of the other citizens of Allegheny, without any material benefit to them whatever.

'12th. The act of assembly under which this petition is filed for the annexation of the city of Allegheny to the city of Pittsburgh is in conflict with article 1, § 9, ¶ 10, of the Constitution of the United States, in that it impairs the obligations...

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463 practice notes
  • Moody v. Flowers, Civ. A. No. 860
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 14, 1966
    ...by the State to assist in the carrying out of state governmental functions. As stated by the Court in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 46, 52 L.Ed. 151, these governmental units are `created as convenient agencies for exercising such of the governmental powers o......
  • Philadelphia v. Beretta U.S.A., Corp., Browning, Inc., CIVIL ACTION NO. 2000-CV-2463 (E.D. Pa. 12/20/2000), CIVIL ACTION NO. 2000-CV-2463.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 20, 2000
    ...Cities receive no protection under the federal constitution for actions of the state legislature. Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907). In Hunter, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an argument that the due process clause protected a municipal entity from increased taxatio......
  • Palmer v. Thompson, No. 23841.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 25, 1969
    ...related to a due process or impairment of contract theory were foreclosed to plaintiffs by such cases as Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 1907, 207 U.S. 161, 177, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 52 L.Ed. 151. See in this regard, Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 1960, 364 U.S. 339, 342-343, 81 S.Ct. 125, 5 L.Ed.2d 11 On this......
  • Haytasingh v. City of San Diego, D076228
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 9, 2021
    ...Freitas does make this statement, the statement is originally derived from the legal discussion in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh (1907) 207 U.S. 161, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 52 L.Ed. 151, in which the United States Supreme Court offered a summary of certain "principles [that] have been established......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
457 cases
  • Moody v. Flowers, Civ. A. No. 860
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 14, 1966
    ...by the State to assist in the carrying out of state governmental functions. As stated by the Court in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 46, 52 L.Ed. 151, these governmental units are `created as convenient agencies for exercising such of the governmental powers o......
  • Philadelphia v. Beretta U.S.A., Corp., Browning, Inc., CIVIL ACTION NO. 2000-CV-2463 (E.D. Pa. 12/20/2000), CIVIL ACTION NO. 2000-CV-2463.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 20, 2000
    ...Cities receive no protection under the federal constitution for actions of the state legislature. Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907). In Hunter, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an argument that the due process clause protected a municipal entity from increased taxatio......
  • Palmer v. Thompson, No. 23841.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 25, 1969
    ...related to a due process or impairment of contract theory were foreclosed to plaintiffs by such cases as Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 1907, 207 U.S. 161, 177, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 52 L.Ed. 151. See in this regard, Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 1960, 364 U.S. 339, 342-343, 81 S.Ct. 125, 5 L.Ed.2d 11 On this......
  • Haytasingh v. City of San Diego, D076228
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 9, 2021
    ...Freitas does make this statement, the statement is originally derived from the legal discussion in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh (1907) 207 U.S. 161, 178, 28 S.Ct. 40, 52 L.Ed. 151, in which the United States Supreme Court offered a summary of certain "principles [that] have been established......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
4 books & journal articles
  • The 'Euclidean' Strategy: Authorizing and Implementing the Legislative Districting of Permissible Land Uses
    • United States
    • Land use planning and the environment: a casebook
    • January 23, 2010
    ...Tenth street from the river Delaware, “as they may 15. The classic and enduring characterization appears in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907): Municipal corporations are political subdivisions of the state, created as convenient agencies for exercising such of the go......
  • State Preemption of Local Control Over Intensive Livestock Operations
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 44-6, June 2014
    • June 1, 2014
    ...is derived from Clinton v. Cedar Rapids , 24 Iowa 455 (1868), and was adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh , 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907). 78. Wendy K. Walker, Whole Hog: Dze Preemption of Local Control by the 1999 Amendment to the Michigan Right to Farm Act , 36 ......
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    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 49-10, October 2019
    • October 1, 2019
    ...110 A.3d 31 (N.J. 2015). 43. See 1 John F. Dillon, Municipal Corporations 448-51, 452 (5th ed. 1911); cf . Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907). 44. See , e.g. , Associated Home Builders Inc. v. City of Livermore, 557 P.2d 473, 7 ELR 20155 (Cal. 1976); Berenson v. Town ......
  • Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 47-4, April 2017
    • April 1, 2017
    ...afects Environmental Federalism: A Comparative Analysis (Kalyani Robbins & Erin Ryan, eds. 2015). 110. See Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 174-80 (1907) (holding that local governments are creatures of state law and that the U.S. Constitution does not protect local governments f......

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