As one of the few restrictions on state power directly incorporated into the text of the Constitution, the treaty clause was developed to prevent states from enacting laws that shorten treaties as “contrary to the first principles of the Social Pact and any principle of sound legislation.” (Federalist No. 44 (Madison).) Despite the categorical language and apparent intent of the drafters, the Supreme Court has recognized over the past 80 years that “not all changes to a contractual promise are changed. violates the contractual obligation” provided for in the Constitution. (El Paso v. Simmons (1965) 379 U.S. 497, 506-507.) Since the decision Home Bldg. & Loan Ass`n v. Blaisdell (1934) 290 U.S. 398, the Supreme Court used a two-part test to determine this constitutional line. In these cases, the first question is whether the land law acted as a “material infringement” of a contract. Unless this is the case, the court will enforce the law and will not proceed to the second stage – a review of the purpose and necessity of the state`s law. Suppose: (1) a municipality acting under the supervision of a Crown law has issued bonds to a railway company; (2) The validity of this law has been confirmed by the highest court of the State; (3) Subsequently, the Land legislature abolishes certain taxes which must be used to repay the bonds at maturity; (4) The annulment shall be confirmed by a decision of the highest court of the State establishing that the law approving the bonds was unconstitutional from the outset.
In such a case, the Supreme Court would accept an appeal from the state court and overturn its decision on unconstitutionality because it resulted in the tax repeal taking effect.7FootnoteState Bank of Ohio v. Knoop, 57 U.S. (16 How.) 369 (1854) (see below) and Ohio Life Ins. and Trust Co. v. Debolt, 57 USA (16 Wie.) 416 (1854) are the main cases. See also Jefferson Branch Bank v. Skelly, 66 U.S. (1 bl.) 436 (1862); Louisiana v Pilsbury, 105 U.S.
278 (1882); McGahey v. Virginia, 135 U.S. 662 (1890); Mobile & Ohio R.R. v. Tennessee, 153 U.S. 486 (1894); Speck vs. Texas, 163 U.S. 207 (1896); McCullough v. Virginia, 172 U.S. 102 (1898). By a vote of 8 to 1, the court reaffirmed its commitment to the Blaisdell test and confirmed that the law constituted an insignificant breach of the life insurance contract. In a statement drafted by Judge Kagan, the court applied the long-standing “two-step test.” First, the court concluded that “all laws regarding pre-existing contracts do not violate the [contractual] clause,” the court explained, explained the “material impairment” that must be demonstrated.
And “in answering this question, the court considered the extent to which the law infringes the contractual arrangement, affects a party`s reasonable expectations, and prevents the party from maintaining or restoring its rights.” (Sveen v. Melin, loc. cit., Slip Opinion at p. 7.) The majority of the court agreed that three aspects of the Minnesota law taken together show that the law does not constitute a material infringement. Second, if a material impairment has occurred, then the court turns to the means and objectives of the legislation to determine whether it violates the contractual clause.74FootnoteId. to 7. In particular, the Court asked whether state law is drafted appropriately and appropriately to promote an important and legitimate public objective.75Footnotevoir Grp.c. Kan. Power & Light Co., 459 U.S.
400, 411 (1983). Applying this standard, in two cases in the late 1970s, the Court struck down state laws that affected either the government`s own contractual obligations or private contracts.76Footnote See Allied Structural Steel v. Spannaus, 438 U.S. 234, 244 (1978); United States Tr. Co. v. New Jersey, 431 U.S. 1, 16 (1977). Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution states: “No State may […] to enact any law that affects the obligation to contract. Often overlooked today, the contractual clause occupied a central place in constitutional law until the early twentieth century and served as an important protection for property rights. The clause proves the authors` commitment to the private economic order. It would hardly be sufficient today for a company to invoke its charter privileges or special concessions of a State to oppose the application of measures allegedly adopted under the authority of the police; If this right is maintained, the obligation of the contractual clause will not be invoked and, if this is not the case, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment will provide sufficient confidence. That is, the gap that once existed between the Court`s theory that police power is superior in these two adjacent areas of constitutional law seems to be ending today.
Indeed, there is generally no valid reason why rights based on public subsidies should be regarded as more sacrosanct than rights which concern the same subject but which are of different origins. As a result, contracts were the binding framework for symbiotic agreements between citizens and businesses. Legal contracts are seen as the glue that allows the public as well as the government to do honest and deliberate business. The only case where contracts can be cancelled is when it is decided that they are contrary to public health and welfare. To the extent that it relied on the contractual clause, Marshall`s observations in Fletcher v. Peck listed two acts of creation. It recognized that a mandatory contract was a contract that still had to be performed — in other words, an enforceable contract, also that the granting of land was an executed contract — a transfer. But, Marshall said, any subsidy is accompanied by an “implied contract” by the grantor in order not to recover the granted property. Thus, subsidies are included in the category of contracts with continuous debt and therefore in Article I, § 10.
But the question remained as to the nature of this obligation. Marshall`s answer to this question can only be inferred from his statement at the end of his statement. The state of Georgia, he says, “was discouraged from passing the repeal law,” “either by general principles common to our free institutions, or by certain provisions of the United States Constitution.” 2124 2114 Salt Company v. East Saginaw, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 373, 379 (1872). See also Welch v. Cook, 97 U.S. 541 (1879); Grand Lodge v. New Orleans, 166 U.S.
143 (1897); Wisconsin & Michigan Ry. vs. Powers, 191 U.S. 379 (1903). See Ettor v. Tacoma, 228 U.S. 148 (1913), which stated that the repeal of a law providing for indirect damage caused by changes in the quality of roads cannot constitutionally affect a right to compensation already acquired […].