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Baron v Baltimore

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Edited version of Baron v. Baltimore for the purposes of showing students how the early Court viewed the application of the federal constitution to the states.

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Baron v Baltimore

  1. 1. FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY 32 U.S. 243, 7 Pet. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.), 8 L.Ed. 672 (Cite as: 32 U.S. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.)) Supreme Court of the United States Double Jeopardy 135H 2 JOHN BARRON, survivor of JOHN CRAIG, for the use of LUKE TIERNAN, Executor of JOHN CRAIG, v. 135H Double Jeopardy The MAYOR and CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE. 135HI In General 135Hk2 k. Constitutional and Statutorysummary created Provisions. Most Cited Casesby Wests January Term, 1833 (Formerly 110k162) The provision in the fifth amendment to the U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. art. 5, providing that no constitution of the United States, declaring that private person shall be subject, for the same offense, to be twice property shall not be taken for public use, without just put in jeopardy of life or limb, applies only to offense compensation, is intended solely as a limitation on the against, and trials under, the laws of the United States. exercise of power by the government of the United States; and is not applicable to the legislation of the states. Eminent Domain 148 70 The constitution was ordained and established by 148 Eminent Domain the people of the United States for themselves; for their 148II Compensation own government; and not for the government of 148II(A) Necessity and Sufficiency in General individual states. Each state established a constitution 148k70 k. Constitutional Provisions. Most for itself, and in that constitution, provided such Cited Cases limitations and restrictions on the powers of its particular government as its judgment dictated. The The provisions in the fifth amendment to the people of the United States framed such a government constitution of the United States, U.S.C.A., declaring for the United States as they supposed best adapted to that private property shall not be taken for public use their situation, and best calculated to promote their without just compensation, are intended solely as a interests; the powers they conferred on this government limitation on the exercise of power by the government were to be exercised by itself; and the limitations on of the United States, and are not applicable to the power, if expressed in general terms, are naturally and legislation of the states. necessarily applicable to the government created by the instrument; they are limitations of power granted in the ON a writ of error to the Court of Appeals for the instrument itself; not of distinct governments framed by Western Shore of the state of Maryland. different persons and for different purposes. state or federal? This case was instituted by the plaintiff in error, West Headnotes against the city of Baltimore, under its corporate title of ‘The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore,’ to recover Constitutional Law 92 1067 damages for injuries to the wharf-property of the plaintiff, arising from the acts of the corporation. Craig 92 Constitutional Law & Barron, of whom the plaintiff was survivor, were 92VII Constitutional Rights in General owners of an extensive and highly productive wharf, in 92VII(B) Particular Constitutional Rights the eastern section of Baltimore, enjoying, at the period 92k1067 k. Bill of Rights or Declaration of of their purchase of it, the deepest water in the harbour. Rights. Most Cited Cases (Formerly 92k12) The city, in the asserted exercise of its corporate authority over the harbour, the paving of streets, and The 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments to the United regulating grades for paving, and over the health of States constitution, U.S.C.A. apply only to the federal Baltimore, diverted from their accustomed and natural government, and not to that of the states. course, certain streams of water which flow from the range of hills bordering the city, and diverted them, © 2012 Thomson Reuters. No Claim to Orig. US Gov. Works.
  2. 2. FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY32 U.S. 243, 7 Pet. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.), 8 L.Ed. 672(Cite as: 32 U.S. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.))partly by adopting new grades of streets, and partly by **3 *245 The counsel for the plaintiff presented thethe necessary results of paving, and partly by mounds, following points:*244 embankments and other artificial means,purposely adapted to bend the course of the water to the [The plaintiff basically contended, among otherwharf in question. These streams becoming very full things, that the actions of the local governmentand violent in rains, carried down with them from the amounted to a taking of his property in that it could nohills and the soil over which they ran, large masses of longer be used for his intended purpose, and such, hesand and earth, which they deposited along, and widely was entitled to just compensation for said taking underin front of the wharf of the plaintiff. The alleged the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution whichconsequence was, that the water was rendered so states in pertinent part that “private property shall not beshallow that it ceased to be useful for vessels of an taken for public use, without just compensation.”]1important burden, lost its income, and became of littleor no value as a wharf. Upon these views, the plaintiff contends, that the judgment of the court of appeals ought to be reversed. This injury was asserted to have been inflicted by aseries of ordinances of the corporation, between the The counsel for the plaintiff in error, Mr. Mayer, onyears 1815 and 1821; and that the evil was progressive; the suggestion of the court, confined the argument to theand that it was active and increasing even at the question whether, under the amendment to theinstitution of this suit in 1822. constitution, the court had jurisdiction of the case. At the trial of the cause, in the Baltimore county *247 The counsel for the defendants in error, Mr. Taneycourt, the plaintiff gave evidence tending to prove the and Mr. Scott, were stopped by the court.original and natural course of the streams, the variousworks of the corporation, from time to time, to turnthem in the direction of this wharf, and the ruinous MARSHALL, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court.consequences of these measures to the interests of the The judgment brought up by this writ of errorplaintiff. It was not asserted by the defendants, that any having been rendered by the court of a state, thiscompensation for the injury was ever made or proffered; tribunal can exercise no jurisdiction over it, unless it bebut they justified under the authority they deduced from shown to come within the provisions of the 25th sectionthe charter of the city, granted by the legislature of of the judiciary act.Maryland, and under several acts of the legislatureconferring powers on the corporation, in regard to the The plaintiff in error contends, that it comes withingrading and paving of streets, the regulation of the that clause in the fifth amendment to the constitution,harbour and its waters, and to the health of the city. which inhibits the taking of private property for public use, without just compensation. He insists, that this They also denied, that the plaintiff had shown any amendment being in favor of the liberty of the citizen,cause of action in the declaration, asserting that the ought to be so construed as to restrain the legislativeinjury complained of was a matter of public nuisance, power of a state, as well as that of the United States. Ifand not of special or individual grievance in the eye of this proposition be untrue, the court can take nothe law. This latter ground was taken on exception, and jurisdiction of the cause.was also urged as a reason for a motion in arrest ofjudgment. On all points, the decision of Baltimore The question thus presented is, we think, of greatcounty court was against the defendants, and a verdict importance, but not of much difficulty.for $4500 was rendered for the plaintiff. An appeal wastaken to the court of appeals, which reversed the The constitution was ordained and established byjudgment of Baltimore county court, and did not remand the people of the United States for themselves, for theirthe case to that court for a further trial. From this own government, and not for the government of thejudgment, the defendant in the court of appealsprosecuted a writ of error to this court. 1 There are my edits to the case. I removed the facts section as it was a bit confusing and could easily be summarized. © 2012 Thomson Reuters. No Claim to Orig. US Gov. Works.
  3. 3. FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY32 U.S. 243, 7 Pet. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.), 8 L.Ed. 672(Cite as: 32 U.S. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.))individual states. Each state established a constitutionfor itself, and in that constitution, provided suchlimitations and restrictions on the powers of itsparticular government, as its judgment dictated. Thepeople of the United States framed such a governmentfor the United States as they supposed best adapted totheir situation and best calculated to promote theirinterests. The powers they conferred on this governmentwere to be exercised by itself; and the limitations onpower, if expressed in general terms, are naturally, and,we think, necessarily, applicable to the governmentcreated by the instrument. They are limitations of powergranted in the instrument itself; not of distinctgovernments, framed by different persons and fordifferent purposes. **5 If these propositions be correct, the fifthamendment must be understood as restraining the powerof the general government, not as applicable to thestates. In their several constitutions, they have imposedsuch restrictions on their respective *248 governments,as their own wisdom suggested; such as they deemedmost proper for themselves. It is a subject on which theyjudge exclusively, and with which others interfere nofurther than they are supposed to have a commoninterest. . . .2 We are of opinion, that the provision in the fifthamendment to the constitution, declaring that privateproperty shall not be taken for public use, without justcompensation, is intended solely as a limitation on theexercise of power by the *251 government of the UnitedStates, and is not applicable to the legislation of thestates. We are, therefore, of opinion, that there is norepugnancy between the several acts of the generalassembly of Maryland, given in evidence by thedefendants at the trial of this cause, in the court of thatstate, and the constitution of the United States. Thiscourt, therefore, has no jurisdiction of the cause, and itis dismissed. . . .U.S.,1833Barron v. City of Baltimore32 U.S. 243, 7 Pet. 243, 1833 WL 4189 (U.S.Md.), 8L.Ed. 672END OF DOCUMENT2 I edited out a fair amount of the opinion as it was unnecessary for our discussion. © 2012 Thomson Reuters. No Claim to Orig. US Gov. Works.

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