Little v. Willimon

Decision Date17 December 1915
Docket Number9248.
Citation87 S.E. 435,103 S.C. 50
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Greenville County; M. F Ansel, Special Judge.

Action by Joseph W. Little against W. H. Willimon and others. From a judgment for defendants, plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Gary C.J., and Mauldin, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

O. K Mauldin and Lewis W. Parker, both of Greenville, for appellant.

Oscar Hodges and Haynsworth & Haynsworth, all of Greenville, for respondents.


The principles announced in Lillard v. Melton, 87 S.E 421, are conclusive of all questions presented in this case except one: That the act creating the highway commission for Greenville county (29 St. at Large, p. 491) violates the provision of the Constitution (article 1, § 14) that the three departments of the government shall be separate and distinct, and no persons exercising the functions of one shall assume or discharge the duties of any other.

The provisions of the act which are alleged to be in contravention of the section of the Constitution above referred to are these: (1) That the members of the commission shall be appointed and removed by the Governor, upon the recommendation of a majority of the Greenville delegation in the Legislature. (2) That the commission "shall meet, confer with and report to the delegation from Greenville county every two months and from time to time as may be necessary with reference to the prosecution of said work and the discharge of their duties as herein provided." Section 5.

It is contended that, in these matters, the act confers upon members of the Legislature executive and administrative functions. As to the first of these contentions, learned counsel appear to have overlooked two decisions of this court, which are conclusive of the question. Elledge v. Wharton, 89 S.C. 113, 71 S.E. 657; State v. Bowden, 92 S.C. 393, 396, 75 S.E. 866.

The second contention is equally untenable. Clearly the supervision of public work is not an inherent function of the executive department. The Legislature had the power, as held in Lillard's Case, to have the work done by and through such agencies as it saw fit. A fortiori, it had authority to have such agencies confer with and report to the Legislature itself, or to a committee of that body, or any other agency that it might select. It chose, for that purpose, the Greenville...

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