Ganger v. Miami

LOCATION: Union Station

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 359 US 64 (1959)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1959 / Mar 03, 1959
DECIDED: Mar 09, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Ganger v. Miami

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1959 in Ganger v. Miami

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 03, 1959 in Ganger v. Miami

Earl Warren:

Number 153, Norton R. Ganger, et al., versus City of Miami.

Mr. Ferrell, you may proceed with your argument.

Milton M. Ferrell:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

I left off yesterday on the question of local improvements, while the legislature of a State, as in this case, enacted a statute and set forth exactly what assessments could be made and how the -- how the notice would be given and set forth very strict limitations as to these assessments.

Now, this Court has passed on that very question in the case of Browning versus Hooper, 269 U.S. 396.

That court -- the Court held in that case where a local improvement territory is selected and the burden is spread by the legislature or by a municipality to which the State has granted full legislative powers over the subject, the owners of the property in the district have no constitutional right to be heard on the question of benefits.

Now, in the case that I cited to you, the Supreme Court did hold that statute unconstitutional because they held the district in that case was not created by the legislature.

The taxing district there had been not been created by the legislature, but the next case on it is the case of Memphis & C.R. Company versus Pace.

In this case, the state statute creating road districts and permitting the levy of taxes against property therein was attacked under the Due Process Cause of the Federal Constitution.

And in all of these cases, the proper attack was made and it was made on that point which, of course, is not the case here.

Hugo L. Black:

Do you mean --

Milton M. Ferrell:

But --

Hugo L. Black:

Do you mean if the legislature had decided to make one-half the property owners on a street going through a city, just pick out every odd one and let them pay and not let anybody else pay?

Milton M. Ferrell:

No, sir.

It would have to be uniform, but naturally, in a city, some streets might need repair at times when others wouldn't.

But in due time, probably all of them will be done but this case holds this.

You have -- the Legislature of Florida could have written a statute where no notice would have been given and it wouldn't have been any federal question involved because that's what this Court holds.

Hugo L. Black:

Then, you would have --

Milton M. Ferrell:

But --

Hugo L. Black:

Then, you would have had to judge it by the face of the statute --

Milton M. Ferrell:

That's right, sir.

That's what this Court held.

This Court --

Hugo L. Black:

-- or is applied.

Milton M. Ferrell:

Yes, sir.

This Court said this in -- in regard to that.

This Court held that the district was created by the legislature, that this was a question in law -- of law and that the decision of the State on this question was controlling.

This Court held therein that property owners in districts created under the authority of the legislature and being legislatively created districts were not entitled to notice and hearing as to the benefits conferred.

They held and went on and said that it's a matter that rest in the discretion of the State and are not controlled by either the Due Process or the equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the validity of that statute was upheld by this Court.

And I say to you in this Court, if you had the proper attack in this case, which you don't, and I'll mention that again in a second.