Bates v. Kimball – Case Brief Summary (Vermont)

In Bates v. Kimball, 2 D. Chip. 77 (Vt.1824), the Court held unconstitutional a statute entitled "An Act for the Relief of Isaac Kimball."

In that statute, the legislature authorized Kimball to enter an appeal of a judgment entered against him after the statutory time limit had passed. The effect of the act was to "vacate or annul an existing judgment between party and party," 2 D. Chip. at 83, because it ostensibly authorized an appeal from a final judgment below where no appeal was proper.

The Court held that the act treaded on the province of the judiciary because the act, and not the courts, determined whether or not to allow an appeal. 2 D. Chip. at 85-86.

The legislature does not have the power to grant appeals because "the constitution has expressly forbidden the exercise, by one department, of powers properly belonging to others." 2 D. Chip. at 86.