State ex rel. Roddey v. Byrnes, 16521

Decision Date09 July 1951
Docket NumberNo. 16521,16521
Citation66 S.E.2d 33,219 S.C. 485
PartiesSTATE ex rel. RODDEY v. BYRNES, Governor et al.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

C. T. Graydon, John Grimball, A. T. Graydon, J. Bratton Davis, Columbia, for petitioner.

T. C. Callison, Atty. Gen., James S. Vener, Asst. Atty. Gen., Edgar A. Brown, Barnwell, Sinkler, Gibbs & Simons, Charleston, for respondents.

STUKES, Justice.


This action in the original jurisdiction of the Court is an attack upon the constitutionality of the General Appropriation Act which was adopted at the recently adjourned session of the Legislature and approved by the Governor April 19, 1951. Act April 19, 1951, 47 Stat. at Large, p. 546. The title is in first part as follows: 'An Act to make appropriations to meet the ordinary operating expenses of the state government for the fiscal year 1951-52; to provide a more efficient public school system by increasing teachers' salaries, by providing additional funds for supervision and overhead expenses, and by inaugurating a state-operated school transportation system; to create a State Educational Finance Commission and to prescribe its duties and powers; to abolish certain county boards of education and to create new boards in their stead, and to devolve new powers and duties on county boards of education; to provide for a program of construction of school building and other school facilities in the state, and to provide for financing this program by authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds of the state not to exceed, at any one time, the sum of $75,000,000.00, and the further sum of not exceeding $7,500,000.00 for the acquisition of school buses; to enact a general retail sales tax, and to pledge sufficient revenue therefrom to retire the bonds authorized in this Act;' etc.

The remainder of the title, which need not be reproduced, lists other features which relate to various taxes, salaries of state employees and officials, etc., and concludes with the following clause: 'and further relating to the fiscal affairs of the State of South Carolina.'

There are many allegations of alleged unconstitutionality, all of which have been carefully considered in the light of the briefs and oral arguments and are found to be without merit. In the interest of economy of time and space they will not be separately stated but all will be at least briefly discussed and disposed of in what will be said, and the order in which they were presented in relator's brief will be followed. Some are trivial and those of any importance have been settled adversely to relator's contentions by prior decisions of this court, not all of which need be cited. It must be remembered that the General Assembly possesses plenary legislative power and, representing the people who are the source of all governmental power, its acts carry a strong presumption of validity and will not be judicially declared to be invalid unless, beyond reasonable doubt, in contravention of some constitutional inhibition. Gaud v. Walker, 214 S.C. 451, 53 S.E.2d 316.

The Act Generally.

It is asserted that the Act violates section 17 of Article III of the constitution of 1895 which requires that such relate to but one subject and that be expressed in the title. It is urged particularly that the issuance of State bonds is irrelevant to the subject, which however is State finances. The following decisions are conclusive against the contentions with respect to the title of the Act: State ex rel. Coleman v. Lewis, 181 S.C. 10, 186 S.E. 625; DeLoach v. Schepter, 188 S.C. 21, 198 S.E. 409; Crouch v. Benet, 198 S.C. 185, 17 S.E.2d 320; and Doran v. Robertson, 203 S.C. 434, 27 S.E.2d 714.

It is next undertaken to show that in the passage of the Act section 18 of the same Article was violated. It requires, inter alia, the reading of a bill on three several days in each House of the Assembly. This Court, along with the United States Supreme Court and the courts of last resort of the most, at least, of the states, adheres to the 'enrolled bill rule' which does not permit inquiry such as relator would make. State ex rel. Hoover v. Town Council of Chester, 39 S.C. 307, 17 S.E. 752, 755. Wingfield v. Tax Comm., 147 S.C. 116, 144 S.E. 846. Parrott v. Gourdin, 205 S.C. 364, 32 S.E.2d 14. Moreover, relator has failed to point out any violation, even if it were propert to resort to the legislative journals which he mistakenly produced at the hearing.

Next invoked is section 14 of Article I of the constitution which specifies separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government and it is claimed that it is violated by the provisions of the Act whereby the State Educational Finance Commission is given power to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations which shall have the force and effect of law, and the Governor and State Treasurer are authorized to issue State School Bonds for the construction and improvement of public school facilities on the basis of Commission estimates of the proceeds of the retail sales tax. There is no violation. The law on the delegation by the general assembly of rule-making power to administrative agencies was fully reviewed in Davis v. Query, 209 S.C. 41, 39 S.E.2d 117. Such delegation as we find in the Act before us is well within the law as there laid down. The State Highway Bond Act was the apparent model for the machinery for issuance of the presently authorized State School bonds. Secs. 5947, et seq., Code of 1942. Its validity was determined by an en banc Supreme Court in State ex rel. Richards v. Moorer, infra, 152 S.C. 455, 150 S.E. 269, certiorari denied 281 U.S. 691, 50 S.Ct. 238, 74 L.Ed. 1120. It is so similar in this respect as to constitute an exact precedent for the decision of the case at bar. There was no unconstitutional delegation of legislative or judicial power to executive and administrative officers there, and none here.

The determination of the sufficiency of the special fund to meet interest and principal maturities of such school bonds as shall be issued is in the nature of a judicial function, it may be conceded, but is not such as may not be delegated to executive and administrative officers under the constitution. 'The exercise of judicial functions, or quasi judicial functions, is often necessary as an incident to the exercise of the powers conferred by the Constitution upon the other coordinate branches of the government * * * in all cases where the exercise of judgment and discretion are required. But this is not judicial power vested in the courts. It would be difficult to give an exact definition of the words 'judicial power' as used in the Constitution, which would be applicable to all cases which might arise * * *. The Constitution assumed the existence of an organized society, and when it vested the judicial power in the courts, it had reference to the judicial power then existing, and such as the people then understood to be vested in and exercised by the courts.' Carolina Glass Company v. State, 87 S.C. 270, 69 S.E. 391, 399. The result of the exercise of the power is, of course, subject to court review and reversal in proper cases and on requisite facts which naturally cannot at this stage be shown by relator.

The Act contains provision for the appointment of County Boards of Education by the Governor upon the recommendations of the Senator and at least one-half of the members of the House of Representatives from the respective counties. This method of appointment of public officers is a common one and does not constitute an illegal delegation of legislative power. The subject is encompassed within the following decisions: State v. Bowden, 92 S.C. 393, 75 S.E. 866; State ex rel. Coleman v. Lewis, supra, 181 S.C. 10, 186 S.E. 625; Elledge v. Wharton, 89 S.C. 113, 71 S.E. 657; Russell v. Lyon, 90 S.C. 5, 72 S.E. 496; Ruff v. Boulware, 133 S.C. 420, 131 S.E. 29; and Blalock v. Johnston, 180 S.C. 40, 185 S.E. 51.

The relevancy of realtor's citation of section 3 of Article X is not seen. It requires a tax statute to state its object, to which the proceedes shall be applied. The contention, without citation of supporting authority, is that surplus from the revenue provided by the Act, after payment of the principal and interest of the School Bonds and payments of overplus into the school fund, is unallocated. There is no suggestion that the State treasury cannot contain any surplus and the making of the point would seem to betray relator's confidence that the special fund will be more than ample to meet the principal and interest of the obligations which will be issued pursuant to the terms of the Act, which is inconsistent with other prongs of his attack.

Also entirely unsubstantiated is relator's complaint of violation of sec. 6 of Article X which enjoins the loan or pledge of the credit of the State, quoting from the Constitution, 'for the benefit of any individual, company, association or corporation'. The Act does not contemplate or authorize any such. On the other hand, it manifests the legislative intent to fully meet the injunction of the opening sentence of sec. 5 of Art. XI, which is: 'The General Assembly shall provide for a liberal system of free public schools for all children * * *.' And that is a primary public purpose.

Next cited are the provisions of sections 1 and 3 of Article I which are as follows:

'Section 1. All political power is vested in and derived from the people only, therefore they have the right at all times to modify their form of government.'

'Section 3. The General Assembly ought frequently to assemble for the redress of grievances and for making new laws, as the common good may require.'

It is a universally accepted tenet of constitutional law that a legislature may enact statutes which result in contracts which may be of effect beyond the life of the enacting legislature. The bonds here contemplated and the pledge of revenue for...

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