Londoner v. City and County of Denver


Londoner v. City and County of Denver

Infobox SCOTUS case
Litigants=Londoner v. City and County of Denver
ArgueDate=March 6
ArgueDateB=9
ArgueYear=1908
DecideDate=June 1
DecideYear=1908
FullName=Wolfe Londoner and Dennis Sheedy, Plaintiffs in Error v. City and County of Denver, as Successor to the City of Denver, "et al."
USVol=210
USPage=373
Citation=28 S. Ct. 708; 52 L. Ed. 1103; 1908 U.S. LEXIS 1517
Prior=Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado
Subsequent=
Holding=Where the legislature of a state, instead of fixing a tax, commits to some subordinate body the duty of determining whether, in what amount, and upon whom it shall be levied, and of making its assessment and apportionment, due process of law requires that, at some stage of the proceedings, before the tax becomes irrevocably fixed, the taxpayer shall have an opportunity to be heard, of which he must have notice. pg. 385.
SCOTUS=1906-1909
Majority=Moody
JoinMajority=Harlan, Brewer, White, Peckham, McKenna, Day
Dissent=Fuller
Dissent2=Holmes
LawsApplied=U.S. Const. amend. XIV

"Londoner v. City and County of Denver", 210 U.S. 373 (1908)ref|citation, is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that Due Process rights under the U.S. Constitution attach to administrative agency hearings which involved adjudication, but not those which involve rulemaking.

Legal principles

Due Process protections attach to governmental activities that are adjudicative in nature, but not to activities which are legislative in nature.

Facts and procedural posture

The provisions of the Denver (Defendant) city charter confer upon the city the power to make local improvements and to assess the cost upon property specially benefited. Londoner (Plaintiff) was provided with notice of the assessment, but the notice only fixed a deadline for the filing of complaints and objection and not a time for a hearing. Londoner brought suit against the city challenging the assessment of a tax for the cost of paving the street abutting his property on the grounds that he was denied due process of law.

Issue

Where a tax is to be assessed upon property owners, do those affected by the tax have the right to argue their side and support their allegations by proof?

Analysis

The Due Process protections of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution require a hearing and opportunity to be heard whenever the government wishes to violate a citizen's life, liberty, or property. Due Process rights attach to governmental activities that are adjudicative in nature, but not to activities which are legislative in nature. In the context of taxation, a legislative body has the power to tax without affording citizens due process protections. However, when the decision to tax particular individuals is made by a non-legislative body based on the individual facts and circumstances of a particular case, the decision becomes adjudicative in nature, and due process protections attach. These due process protections do not require a full trial, but the mere opportunity to file a written statement is insufficient. Due process in this context requires at least an opportunity to be heard in person and present evidence. No such opportunity was heard. Therefore, the action violated Due Process, and the liens were void.

This case is one of the earliest to establish when an agency rulemaking process must submit to adjudication. While administrative agencies have wide discretion within the rulemaking context, there are many instances in which adjudication will be required. As a rule, where general facts are at issue, adjudication will be necessary.

ee also

* List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 210

External links

* ussc|210|373|1908 full text of case at Findlaw.com


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