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CLARK v. KANSAS CITY.

decided: January 3, 1899.

CLARK
v.
KANSAS CITY.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS.

Author: Mckenna

[ 172 U.S. Page 334]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas to review a judgment of that court overruling a demurrer of the nisi prius court to the petition of plaintiffs in effor for an injunction to restrain the collection of taxes, levied by the city of Kansas City, on lands brought into that city under the act of the legislature of Kansas authorizing cities of the first class having a population of 30,000 or more, which shall be subdivided into lots and blocks, or whenever any unplatted tract of land shall lie upon or mainly within any such

[ 172 U.S. Page 335]

     city, or is so situated as to be bounded on three fourths of its boundary line by platted territory of or adjacent to such city, or by the boundary line of such city, or by both, the same may be added to and made part of the city by ordinance duly passed. There was a provision in the law as follows: "But nothing in this act shall be taken or held to apply to any tract or tracts of land used for agricultural purposes when the same is not owned by any railroad or other corporation."

An ordinance was passed, pursuant to the statute, extending the city boundaries so as to include large tracts of land belonging to the Union Pacific Railway. A portion of the lands was used for right of way and other railroad purposes, and a large part of them was vacant and unoccupied, which was held by the company for its furture uses.

Taxes were levied by the city upon the property, and this suit was brought to enjoin their collection. The petition presented the facts, and contained the following allegation:

"Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws."

"And plaintiffs are advised, and so charge the fact to be, that in so far as said statute attempts to authorize the taking of said lands within the limits of Kansas City, Kansas, as attempted in said ordinance, Exhibit 'A,' it is unconstitutional, null and void, in this, to wit:

"That by reason of that portion of the act which excepts from its operation any tract or tracts of land used for agricultural purposes, when the same is not owned by any railroad or other corporation, it is in violation of that part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which reads as follows: 'Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'"

The defendants, other than the township of Wyandotte and school district No. 9, filed a general demurrer to the petition, which was overruled. The defendants, the township of Wyandotte and school district No. 9, did not plead in any way.

[ 172 U.S. Page 336]

     The demurring defendants electing to stand upon their demurrer, a perpetual injunction was granted as prayed for against them. They appealed to the Supreme Court, where the jugment of the lower court was reversed, and ...


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