In re Haynes

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Citation22 A. 923,54 N.J.L. 6
PartiesIn re HAYNES, Mayor.
Decision Date05 November 1891

Application by Joseph E. Haynes, mayor of the city of Newark, for a summary determination of controversies as to the rights of claimants to certain municipal offices.

Argued before BEABLEY, C. J., and VAN SYCKEL, KNAPP, and GARRISON, JJ.

John W. Taylor, Gilbert Collins, and J. Frank Fort, for relators.

E. L. Price, Theodore Rnnyon, Fred W. Stevens, and Henry Young, for respondents.

BEASLEY, C. J. The present proceeding stands before the court in this wise: Mr. Haynes, as the mayor of Newark, presented to the chief justice of this court a petition, stating, inter alia, that in pursuance of the act of the-28th-of March, 1891, he had appointed in Newark boards of street and water commissioners, and that a controversy touching the title of the officers so appointed existed, and he therefore prayed that a special term of this court should be held for the purpose of hearing and deciding in a summary way that litigation, in conformity with the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sections of the statute just mentioned. In compliance with this application an order was made for the parties to interplead, and thereupon certain persons, who were the old incumbents of the offices relating to the streets and the water supply, exhibited their informations, averring that the new appointees of the mayor had intruded into and had usurped said offices, and that the act whereby such wrong was attempted to be justified was unconstitutional and void. These allegations having been traversed, it is upon such pleadings and certain admitted facts that the matter has been heard. The controversy thus presented gives rise to but a single question, and that is whether the act thus put in issue is constitutional or not. Inasmuch as none of the exceptions taken to this statute has, in my opinion, any solidity whatever, my exposition of the views of the court upon the subject will be as brief as is consistent with perspicuity.

The first point of counsel's criticism related to the title of the act thus challenged. That title was as follows, viz.: "An act concerning cities of the first class in this state, and constituting municipal boards of street and water commissioners, and defining the powers and duties of such municipal boards, and relating to the municipal affairs and departments of such cities placed under the control and management of such boards, and providing for the maintenance of the same." It was insisted that this title is insufficient, as it does not fulfill the constitutional requirement that "every law shall embrace but one object, and that shall be expressed in the title." That this proposition is not sustainable it seems to me will be at once apparent to every unprepossessed mind. The entire object of the act is the constitution "of municipal boards of street and water commissioners in cities of the first class," and this title in express terms says that such is the legislative purpose. The superadditious following this plain declaration of the statutory object,—as, that it is an act "defining the powers and duties of such boards, and relating to affairs and departments placed under their control," —the worst that can be said of these is that they are unnecessary. They may be, and probably are, redundancies; for, if boards of the kind specified are to be erected, necessarily the power of such boards must be defined, and the law must relate to the affairs intrusted to their management. But by the presence of such superfluities the plain expression of the object of the act is not in any wise perplexed, as such superfluities harmonize in all things with such expression. Consequently, in my opinion, this exception is without foundation either in law or reason. It has always been held that these statutory titles with regard to their construction are to be liberally treated, so as to validate the law to which they appertain, if such course be reasonably practicable. In such a connection hypercritieism is utterly out of place, the only requirement being that the title of the statute shall express its object in a general way so as to be intelligible by the ordinary reader. This is the rule when there is obscurity; but this rule need not be invoked on this occasion, for this statutory superscription is, on the point in question, both explicit and unambiguous.

A second objection of the same strain was that this act is out of harmony with the fourth subdivision of section 7 of the fourth article of the constitution. The clause thus referred to is in these words: "No act shall be passed that shall provide that any existing law or any part thereof shall be made or deemed a part of the act, or which shall enact that any existing law, or any part thereof, shall be applicable, except by inserting it in any such act." This clause was interpreted by counsel in its strictly literal meaning, and judicial views expressed by courts of other states were referred to, justifying, as it was thought, such a course. Such decisions, it may be said in passing, could not have with us the accustomed force of judicial determination, as they are mere translations of language which is not identical with the terms of the constitutional clause now in question. It may be further said, also, in passing, that to read this clause in the sense ascribed to it by counsel would render its judicial application replete with difficulties, and that to give...

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9 cases
  • Pub. Serv. Elec. & Gas Co. v. City of Camden, 223.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 5, 1937
    ...the title of the statute shall express its object in a general way so as to be intelligible to the ordinary reader." In re Haynes, 54 N.J.Law, 6, 24, 22 A. 923, 924. Tested by this general standard, the article under review satisfies the constitutional demand. By long-established usage and ......
  • Village of Loch Arbour, In re, A--19
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • November 4, 1957
    ...partitioned on the bases of population and territorial expanse. This concept of classification is reflected in In re Haynes, 54 N.J.L. 6, 28, 29, 22 A. 923, 926 (Sup.Ct.1891), where the court declared that it is 'little more than saying that the swaddling bands of the infant are not the fit......
  • State v. Masnik, 1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • October 20, 1939
    ...Pharmacy, 45 N.J.L. 241; Bradley, etc., Co. v. Loving, 54 N.J.L. 227, 23 A. 685; Kennedy v. Belmar, 61 N.J.L. 20, 38 A. 756; In re Haynes, 54 N.J.L. 6, 22 A. 923; State v. Hancock, 54 N.J.L. 393, 24 A. 726; Quigley v. Lehigh Valley Railroad Co., 80 N.J.L. 486, 79 A. 458; Hutches v. Borough ......
  • Kimball v. Loughney
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • April 23, 1912
    ...... and a comparison with other statutes. Neither of these. provisions were designed to obstruct or embarrass. legislation. Both were intended only as a means to secure a. fair and intelligent exercise of the lawmaking power.". In the case of In re Haynes, 54 N. J. Law, 6, 22 A. 923, it was held, that an act altering the mode of appointing. a board of municipal officers, removing them from office, and. which declared that the newly appointed officers should have. the same statutory power, possessed by their predecessors,. was not in conflict ......
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