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UNIFORM BANKRUPTCY LAWS.
The Congress shall have power, *
"To establish * * * uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the United States."
The power of Congress to pass bankruptcy laws is not exclusive of the power of States to pass such laws; but when Congress passes a law, it is paramount to all State laws. Sturges v. Crowinshield, 4 Wheat., 122.
A State law discharging a debtor from his debts is held to impair the obligation of a contract. Id.
A State law providing for the discharge of an insolvent does not impair the obligation of a future contract as between the citizens of the State. But it can not affect the rights of citizens of other states, nor contracts made before its passage. Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat., 214; Cook v. Moffat, 5 How., 205; Suydam v. Broadnax, 6 Pet., 761.
A discharge under a foreign bankruptcy law is no bar to an action in the courts of this country. McMillan v. McNeill, 4 Wheat., 209. A State may, when no National bankrupt law is in force, discharge a bankrupt from the obligations of a future contract, but not a preexisting one, and then only between its own citizens. Such future contract is made in view of the law, and the law is a part of it. Id.
But where a creditor, whether of the State in which
the bankruptcy proceedings under the State law (there being then no National bankrupt law), makes himself a party, comes in and proves his claim and takes a benefit under judicial proceedings conducted according to such law, he will be bound by it, as assenting thereto, and the debtor under such future contract will be discharged. Gilman v. Lockwood, 4 Wall., 409; Butler v. Gorely, 146 U. S., 303; Baldwin v. Hale, 1 Wall., 223.
Where the operation of a State bankruptcy law is suspended by the fact that a National bankruptcy law is in force, the repeal of the National bankruptcy law leaves the State law in full operation, and re-enactment of it not necessary. Butler v. Gorely, 146 U. S., 303.
POWER TO COIN MONEY AND REGULATE VALUES. The Congress shall have power, * * *
"To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures."
This power is correlated to the prohibition of the States coining money, or making anything but gold and silver coin a tender of payment of debts; and when that clause is considered, the decisions on that point will be considered.
The principal decisions under this clause have grown out of the power of Congress to make its treasury notes a legal tender. In the first cases that came before the Supreme Court, it was held that the act of Feb. 25, 1862 (Stat. at L., c. 33), so far as it made United States notes a legal tender in payment of debts contracted prior to its passage was unconstitutional and void. Willard v. Tayloe, 8 Wall., 557; McGlynn v. Magran, 8 Wall., 639. The case of Hepburn v. Griswold, 8 Wall., 603, also held that making notes a legal tender is not an appropriate means for the exertion of the power to declare and carry on war, or any other power expressly vested in Congress.
But these cases were afterward overruled.
The Acts of Congress known as the legal tender acts are constitutional both as to debts before and after their passage. Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wall., 457; Dooley v. Smith, 13 Wall., 604; Norwick, etc., R. R. v. Johnson, 15 Wall., 195. These cases dwelt upon the power as a necessary one in time of war.
Congress has the constitutional power to make treasury notes a legal tender of payment of debts in time of peace as well as in time of war. Juillard v. Greenman, 110 U. S., 421.
POWER TO PUNISH COUNTERFEITING.
The Congress shall have power, *
"To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States."
This power may be exercised to forbid the bringing into the country of coins in the similitude of the coins of the United States. United States v. Marigold, 9 How., 560.
The power of Congress to punish counterfeiting is not exclusive. The States have power to pass laws to punish the passing of counterfeit money. Fox v. State of Ohio, 5 How., 433.
The cases construing acts of Congress against counterfeiting, etc., are U. S. v. Gardner, 10 Pet., 618; U. S. v. Cantril, 4 Cranch, 167; U. S. v. Howell, 11 Wall., 432; U. S. v. Turner, 7 Pet., 132; U. S. v. Carll, 105 U. S., 611; U. S. v. Brewster, 7 Pet., 164; U. S. v. Randenbusch, 8 Pet., 288.
Congress may punish the counterfeiting or bringing foreign coin into the country. U. S. v. Marigold, 9 How., 560.
And may punish the counterfeiting of securities of foreign governments. U. S. v. Arjona, 120 U. S., 479.
POST OFFICES AND ROADS. The Congress shall have power, * * *
"To establish post offices and post-roads."
1. “The power,” says Chief Justice Marshall, “is executed by the single act of making the establishment, in a strict sense. But from this has been inferred the power and duty of carrying the mail along the post road, from one post office to another. And from this
implied power has been again inferred the right to punish those who steal letters from the post office or rob the mail. It may be said with some plausibility that the right to carry the mail and to punish those who rob is not indispensably necessary to the establishment of a post office and a post road. This right is indeed essential to the beneficial exercise of the power; but not in-, dispensably necessary to its existence. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat., 416.
2. The power to establish post offices and post roads is conferred upon Congress, but the power has been delegated to the postmaster general; and the power to discontinue is incident to the power to establish them. Ware v. U. S., 4 Wall., 617.
3. The Court, conceding that the power to legalize a bridge built across a navigable stream is not derived from the power to establish post roads, finds it to rest on the power to regulate commerce. Wheeling Bridge Case, 18 How., 431. ,
4. The power vested in Congress “to establish post offices and post roads” has been practically construed, since the foundation of the government, to authorize not merely the designation of the routes over which the mail shall be carried, and the offices where letters and other documents shall be received to be distributed or forwarded, but the carriage of the mails and all measures to secure safe and speedy transit and the prompt delivery of its contents. It “embraces the regulation