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U.S. Supreme Court

Municipal Investors Assn. v. Birmingham, 316 U.S. 153 (1942)

Municipal Investors Association v. Birmingham

No. 755

Argued April 1, 1942

Decided April 27, 1942

316 U.S. 153


1. When asked to decide whether a contract has been impaired by state legislation in violation of the Contract Clause of the Constitution, this Court first ascertains whether the alleged contract exists, even though, in so doing, it must determine questions of state law which have not been decided by the state court. P. 316 U. S. 157.

2. Provisions in a municipal charter for making "an additional pro rata assessment" to supply the deficiency when any special assessment shall "prove insufficient" to pay for the improvement for which it was levied, and declaring that the special assessment district bonds issued to pay for an improvement shall "be payable out of the special assessment district fund when the assessment is collected," together with provisions in the bonds whereby the municipality promises to pay the principal and interest "from the special assessment fund created for the purpose," and pledges its full faith and credit for the payment of each bond "from the special assessment fund created for the purpose when the same shall have been collected," do not establish a contractual right in the bondholders to require that the municipality, in order to meet deficiencies in the collection of assessments, shall reassess lots in the improvement district which have been sold for nonpayment of the original assessments. P. 316 U. S. 158.

298 Mich. 314, 299 N.W. 90, affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 316 U. S. 154

Appeal from a judgment refusing a writ of mandamus to compel the City of Birmingham to levy an additional special assessment on land in a special improvement district.

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