Robert Rae v. Homestead Loan Guaranty Company/Opinion of the Court

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Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

176 U.S. 121

Robert Rae  v.  Homestead Loan Guaranty Company

 Argued: December 18, 1899. --- Decided: January 22, 1900


The circuit court of Cook county did not find the sums due as due, nor decree their payment, in gold coin of the United States. The record does not show that when the instalments matured any demand was made for their payment in gold, nor that a tender of money other than gold was made, or, if made, that such tender would not have been accepted. The presumptions are entirely to the contrary. The circuit court decreed that the liability be discharged in any lawful money of the United States, and the supreme court held that defendants below could not be heard to complain of a decree by which they were not prejudiced. This was a ground broad enough to sustain the judgment without reference to any Federal question supposed to be involved.

According to the terms of § 709 of the Revised Statutes, we exercise jurisdiction over the final judgments and decrees of state courts, where the validity of a treaty or statute of, or authority exercised under, the United States, is drawn in question, and the decision is against their validity; or where the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under, any state, is drawn in question on the ground of repugnancy to the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of their validity; or where any title, right, privilege, or immunity is claimed under the Constitution, or any treaty or statute of, or commission held, or authority exercised under, the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege, or immunity specially set up or claimed by either party, under such Constitution, treaty, statute, commission, or authority.

The decision of the supreme court of Illinois was not against the validity of a treaty or statute of, or authority exercised under, the United States; nor was it in favor of the validity of any statute of, or authority exercised under, the state of Illinois, asserted to be repugnant to the Constitution or laws of the United States; nor was it against any title, right, privilege, or immunity specially set up or claimed by plaintiffs in error.

The validity of part of the act of Congress of February 28, 1878 (20 Stat. at L. 25, chap. 20), was questioned, but plaintiffs in error cannot bring the case here on the objection that that contention was not sustained.

The benefit of clause 5, section 8, article 1 of the Constitution, empowering Congress to coin money and regulate the value thereof, and of clause 1, section 10, of article 1, providing that no state shall coin money, emit bills of credit, or make anything but gold and silver coin a tender for this payment of debts, was claimed; but the state courts did not deny to Congress any power granted, nor assert in respect of the state any power prohibited, and it did not appear that plaintiffs in error were deprived of any benefit secured by either of those provisions.

Plaintiffs in error pointed out no provision of the Constitution, or of any law of the United States, forbidding the making of contracts payable in gold coin of the United States, but contended that contracts so made payable were void because opposed to public policy. The state circuit court, however, simply held plaintiffs in error to respond in lawful money, and entered its decree accordingly, and the supreme court decided that plaintiffs in error could not complain of that decree, because not prejudiced thereby. This was not a decision against any right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States specially set up or claimed by plaintiffs in error in those courts.

Writ of error dismissed.

Notes[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).