Appleby v. City of New York

In Appleby v. City of New York, 271 U. S. 364 (1926) petitioners alleged that the city had unconstitutionally impaired their rights contained in a contract deeding them certain submerged lands in the city harbor. Chief Justice Taft stated the issue for the Court as follows: "The questions we have here to determine are, first, was there a contract, second, what was its proper construction and effect, and, third, was its obligation impaired by subsequent legislation as enforced by the state court? These questions we must answer independently of the conclusion of the state court. Of course we should give all proper weight to its judgment, but we can not perform our duty to enforce the guaranty of the Federal Constitution as to the inviolability of contracts by state legislative action unless we give the questions independent consideration." (Id., at 379-380.)