Page images
PDF
EPUB

Constitutionality of Statutes

is unnecessary to seek for principles outside of the constitution, under which such legislation may be condemned." 16

8§ 18, 19

18. Effect on existing statutes." It may be assumed as an undoubted proposition that a new constitution of a state, as the supreme law, supersedes all laws existing when the constitution takes effect, in conflict with its provisions, if it appears from a just construction of the instrument that it was intended to have a present binding and operative force upon the matter or thing upon which the conflict arises. If the intention was to take away a legislative power which previously existed, and to annul legislative acts passed in pursuance of such power, and not solely to leave them to be changed by the legislature so as to bring them into harmony with the new restriction, then all such acts must give way to the paramount authority, and they are as to all future transactions as though they had never been enacted." "

19. Operation as determining or raising question.- In determining the constitutionality of a statute, it is to be remembered that the question should be determined not by what has been done under it in a particular instance, but by what may be done under and by virtue of its authority.18 The courts, however, will not inquire into the constitutionality of an act of the legislature until a concrete case arises in which a decision of such question is unavoidable for the determination of the case itself.19 It must,

16. Bertholf v. O'Reilly, (1878) 74 N. Y. 509, 30 Am. Rep. 323.

17. People v. Brooklyn, (1897) 152 N. Y. 399, 46 N. E. 852, affirming 11 App. Div. 114, 42 N. Y. S. 657.

18. Rochester v. West, (1900) 164 N. Y. 510, 58 N. E. 673, 79 A. S. R. 659, 53 L. R. A. 548, affirming 29 App. Div. 125, 51 N. Y. S. 482; Colon v. Lisk, (1897) 153 N. Y. 188, 47 N. E. 302, 60 A. S. R. 609, affirming 13 App. Div. 195, 43 N. Y. S. 364; Coxe v. State, (1895) 144 N. Y. 396, 39 N. E. 400; Gilman v. Tucker, (1891) 128 N. Y. 190, 28 N. E. 1040, 26 A. S. R. 464, 13 L. R. A. 304; Stuart v. Palmer, (1878) 74 N. Y. 183, 30 Am. Rep. 289; New York v. Kelsey, (1913) 158 App. Div. 183, 143 N. Y. S. 41; Matter of Grout, (1905) 105 App. Div. 98, 93 N. Y. S. 711; Riglander v. Star Co., (1904) 98 App. Div. 101, 90 N. Y. S. 772, affirmed (1905) 181 N. Y. 531, 73 N. E. 1131; Williams v. Port Chester, (1902) 72 App. Div. 505, 76 N. Y. S. 631; Rathbone v. Wirth, (1896) 6 App. Div. 277, 40 N. Y. S. 535, affirmed (1896) 150 N. Y. 459, 45 N. E. 15, 34 L. R. A. 408.

19. Hanrahan v. Terminal Station Commission, (1912) 206 N. Y. 494, 100 N. E. 414, reversing 152 App. Div. 349, 136 N. Y. S. 1001. To the same effect, Holroyd v. Indian Lake, (1905) 180 N. Y. 318, 73 N. E. 36, affirming 85 App. Div. 246, 83 N. Y. S. 533; Dodge v. Cornelius, (1901) 168 N. Y. 242, 61 N. E. 244, reversing 40 App. Div. 18, 57 N. Y. S. 791; In re Attorney General, (1898) 155 N. Y. 441, 50 N. E. 57, dismissing appeal 22 App. Div. 285, 47 N. V. S. 883; Rathbone v. Wirth, (1896) 150 N. Y. 459, 45 N. E. 15, 34 L. R. A. 408, affirming 6 App. Div. 277, 40 N. Y. 8. 535; Demarest v. New York, (1895) 147 N. Y. 203, 41 N. E. 405, affirming 74 Hun 517, 28 N. Y. S. 585; In re Long Island R. Co., (1894) 143 N. Y. 67, 37 N. E. 636,

Constitutionality of Statutes

$ 20

of course, “be remembered that the constitution is the supreme law of the land, and that when an act of the legislature properly comes before the court to be compared by it with the fundamental law, it is the duty of the court to declare the invalidity of the act if it violate any provision of that law." 20 But the legislature is primarily the judge of its own acts, and courts will not overrule that judgment unless a plain duty exists to preserve the integrity of the constitution itself.1

20. Partial unconstitutionality. It is a rule of universal application that a statute may be constitutional in one part and unconstitutional in another part, and if the invalid part is severable from the remainder, the portion which is valid may stand while that which is void may be stricken out and rejected, if after the elimination of the void portions the remaining provisions are sufficient to be effective and accomplish their purpose in accordance with the legislative intent deducible from the act construed in the light of contemporary events; but if the void portion was the inducement of the passage of the act or is so interwoven in the texture of the statute as to preclude the idea that the remainder of the statute can be of operative fitness to effectuate the will of the legislature, the whole statute is rendered of no effect.2

affirming 66 Hun 631, mem., 21 N. Y. S. 489; In re Paul, (1884) 94 N. Y. 497; People v. Crissey, (1883) 91 N. Y. 616; People v. Brooklyn, etc., R. Co., (1882) 89 N. Y. 75; People v. Canal Board, (1874) 55 N. Y. 390, affirming 1 Thomp. & C. 309; Connors v. People, (1872) 50 N. Y. 240; Frees v. Ford, (1852) 6 N. Y. 176; People v. Pisano, (1911) 142 App. Div. 524, 127 N. Y. S. 204; Cataract Power, etc., Co. v. Buffalo, (1909) 131 App. Div. 485, 115 N. Y. S. 1045; People v.. Wells, (1904) 99 App. Div. 364, 91 N. Y. S. 219, affirmed (1905) 181 N. Y. 252, 73 N. E. 1025; People v. Potter, (1903) 88 App. Div. 239, 85 N. Y. S. 460; Livingston v. Livingston, (1901) 65 App. Div. 242, 72 N. Y. S. 487; Matter of Fuller, (1901) 62 App. Div. 428, 71 N. Y. S. 40; Matter of Lent, (1900) 47 App. Div. 349, 62 N. Y. S. 227; Baird v Helfer, (1896) 12 App. Div. 23, 42 N. Y. S. 484.

20. People v. Gillson, (1888) 109 N. Y. 389, 17 N. E. 343, 4 A. S. R. 465. To the same effect, Rathbone v. Wirth, (1896) 150 N. Y. 459, 45 N. E. 15, 34 L. R. A. 408, affirming 6 App. Div. 277, 40 N. Y. S. 535; Coutant v. People, (1833) 11 Wend. 511; Ziegler v. Corwin, (1896) 12 App. Div. 60, 42 N Y. S. 855; Baird v. Helfer, (1896) 12 App. Div. 23, 42 N. Y. S. 484.

1. People v. Rice, (1892) 135 N. Y. 473, 31 N. E. 921, 16 L. R. A. 836; People v. Gillson, (1888) 109 N. Y. 389, 17 N. E. 343, 4 A. S. R. 465; Coutant v. People, (1833) 11 Wend. 511; Baird v. Helfer, (1896) 12 App. Div. 23, 42 N. Y. S. 484; Ziegler v. Corwin, (1896) 12 App. Div. 60, 42 N. Y. S. 855; Reilly v. Gray, (1894) 77 Hun 402, 28 N. Y. S. 811; Clarke v. Rochester, (1857) 24 Barb. 446, affirmed (1864) 28 N. Y. 605. See also supra, § 16.

2. Hauser v. North British, etc., Ins. Co., 206 N. Y. 455, 100 N. E. 52, Ann. Cas. 1914B 263, 42 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1139, affirming 152 App. Div. 91, 136 N. Y. S. 1015; New York Cent., etc., R. Co. v. Williams, (1910) 199 N. Y. 108, 92 N. E. 404, 139 A. S. R. 850, 35 L. R. A. (N. S.) 549, affirming

§ 20

Constitutionality of Statutes

136 App. Div. 904, 120 N. Y. S. 1137, which affirms 64 Misc. 15, 118 N. Y. S. 785; People v. Purdy, (1909) 196 N. Y. 270, 89 N. E. 838, (1909) 196 N. Y. 550, 89 N. E. 844; Hathorn v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., (1909) 194 N. Y. 326, 87 N. E. 504, 128 A. S. R. 555, 16 Ann. Cas. 989, 23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 436; Metz v. Maddox, (1907) 189 N. Y. 460, 82 N. E. 507, 121 A. S. R. 909; Sherrill v. O'Brien, (1907) 188 N. Y. 185, 81 N. E. 124, 117 A. S. R. 841, reversing 114 App. Div. 890, 101 N. Y. S. 858; People v. Mensching, (1907) '87 N. Y. 8, 79 N. E. 884, 10 Ann. Cas. 101, 10 L. R. A. (N. S.) 625; People v. Howe, (1904) 177 N. Y. 499, 69 N. E. 1114, reversing 88 App. Div. 158, 84 N. Y. S. 597; Purdy v. Erie R. Co., (1900) 162 N. Y. 42, 56 N. E. 508, 48 L. R. A. 669; Skaneateles Water Works Co. v. Skaneateles, (1899) 161 N. Y. 154, 55 N. E. 562, 46 L. R. A. 687; Rathbone v. Wirth, (1896) 150 N. Y. 459, 45 N. E. 15, 34 L. R. A. 408; Curtin v. Barton, (1893) 139 N. Y. 505; 34 N. E. 1093; People v. Rice, (1892) 135 N. Y. 473, 31 N. E. 921, 16 L. R. A. 836, reversing 65 Hun 236, 20 N. Y. S. 293; Sweet v. Syracuse, (1891) 129 N. Y. 316, 27 N. E. 1081, 29 N. E. 289, reversing 60 Hun 28, 14 N. Y. S. 421; Lawton v. Steele, (1890) 119 N. Y. 226, 23 N. E. 878, 16 A. S. R. 813, 7 L. R. A. 134; Jones v. Jones, (1887) 104 N. Y. 234, 10 N. E. 269, followed in Comstock v. Syracuse, (1891) 129 N. Y. 643, 27 N. E. 1081, 29 N. E. 289; People v. Kenney, (1884) 96 N. Y. 294; Duryee v. New York, (1884) 96 N. Y. 477; People v. Porter, (1882) 90 N. Y. 68; In re Metropolitan Gaslight Co., (1881) 85 N. Y. 526; In re Middletown, (1880) 82 N. Y. 196; In re Roberts, (1880) 81 N. Y. 62; People v. Briggs, (1872) 50 N. Y. 553; Gordon v. Cornes, (1872) 47 N. Y. 608; People v. Bull, (1871) 46 N. Y. 57, 7 Am. Rep. 302; Wynehamer v. People, (1856) 13 N. Y. 378, affirming 20 Barb. 567, 11 How. Pr. 530, 2 Park. Crim. 377; People v. Harrison, 170 App. Div. 802, 156 N. Y. S. 679; Long Sault Development Co. v. Kennedy, 158 App. Div. 398, 143 N. Y. S. 454; People v. Kennedy, 154 App. Div. 558, 139 N. Y. S. 896, affirmed (1913) 207 N. Y. 533, 101 N. E. 442, Ann. Cas. 1914C 616; People v. Smith, 152 App. Div. 514, 137 N. Y. S. 387; State Board of Pharmacy v. Bellinger, 138 App. Div. 12, 122 N. Y. S. 651; People v. Special Term of Supreme Ct., 137 App. Div. 765, 122 N. Y. S. 573; Wyatt v. McCreery, 126 App. Div. 650, 111 N. Y. S. 86; Wyatt v. Wanamaker, (1908) 126 App. Div. 656, 111 N. Y. S. 90; Saratoga Springs v. Saratoga Gas, etc., Co., 122 App. Div. 203, 107 N. Y. S. 341; Brennan v. New York, 122 App. Div. 477, 107 N. Y. S. 150; New York, etc., R. Co. v. O'Brien, 121 App. Div. 819, 106 N. Y. S. 909, affirmed in (1908) 192 N. Y. 558, 85 N. E. 1113; People v. Windholz, 92 App. Div. 569, 86 N. Y. S. 1015; People v. Van De Carr, 91 App. Div. 20, 86 N. Y. S. 644, affirmed (1904) 178 N. Y. 425, 70 N. E. 965, 102 A. S. R. 516, 66 L. R. A. 189; Corscadden v. Haswell, 88 App. Div. 158, 84 N. Y. S. 597, reversed on other grounds (1904) 177 N. Y. 499, 69 N. E. 1114, 66 L. R. A. 664; McLaughlin v. Kipp, 82 App. Div. 413, 81 N. Y. 896; Saratoga Springs v. Van Norder, 75 App. Div. 204, 77 N. Y. S. 1020; People v. Coler, 71 App. Div. 584, 76 N. Y. S. 205, affirmed in (1903) 173 N. Y. 103, 65 N. E. 956; People v. Lane, 53 App. Div. 531, 65 N. Y. S. 1004; Matter of Lent, 47 App. Div. 349, 62 N. Y. S. 227; Bohmer v. Haffen, 35 App. Div. 381, 54 N. Y. S. 1030, affirmed (1900) 161 N. Y. 390, 55 N. E. 1047; Parfitt v. Ferguson, 3 App. Div. 176, 38 N. Y. S. 466; Hopper v. Britt, 75 Misc. 143, 135 N. Y. S. 187, affirmed (1912) 204 N. Y. 524, 98 N. E. 86; People v. Luce, 74 Misc. 551, 133 N. Y. S. 9, affirmed 148 App. Div. 933, 132 N. Y. S. 1143; Gause v. Boldt, 49 Misc. 340, 99 N. Y. S. 442, 115 App. Div. 897, 100 N. Y. S. 1118, affirmed (1907) 188 N. Y. 546, 80 N. E. 566; Matter of Motley, 24 Misc. 488, 53 N. Y. S. 878; Fort v. Cummings, 90 Hun 481, 36 N. Y. S. 36; People v. Upson, 79 Hun 87, 29 N. Y. S. 615, affirmed People v. Webster, (1895) 147 N. Y. 716, mem., 42 N. E. 725; Matter of New York, etc., Bridge Co., 54 Hun 400, 7 N. Y. S. 445; Harris v. Niagara County, 33 Hun 279; Darragh v. McKim, 2 Hun 337; People v. Lawrence, 36 Barb. 177, affirmed in (1869) 41 N. Y. 123.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »