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Opinion of the Court.

liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' This right is a large ingredient in the civil liberty of the citizen." Again, on page 764, the learned justice said: "I hold that the liberty of pur-1 suit the right to follow any of the ordinary callings of life

is one of the privileges of a citizen of the United States." And again, on page 765: "But if it does not abridge the privileges and immunities of a citizen of the United States to prohibit him from pursuing his chosen calling, and giving to others the exclusive right of pursuing it, it certainly does deprive him (to a certain extent) of his liberty; for it takes from him the freedom of adopting and following the pursuit which he prefers; which, as already intimated, is a material part of the liberty of the citizen." It is true that these remarks were made in regard to questions of monopoly, but they well describe the rights which are covered by the word "liberty" as contained in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Again, in Powell v. Pennsylvania, 127 U. S. 678, 684, Mr. Justice Harlan, in stating the opinion of the court, said: "The main proposition advanced by the defendant is that his enjoyment upon terms of equality with all others in similar circumstances of the privilege of pursuing an ordinary calling or trade, and of acquiring, holding and selling property, is an essential part of his rights of liberty and property, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The court assents to this general proposition as embodying a sound principle of constitutional law." It was there held, however, that the legislation under consideration in that case did not violate any of the constitutional rights of the plaintiff in error.

The foregoing extracts have been made for the purpose of showing what general definitions have been given in regard to the meaning of the word "liberty" as used in the amendment, but we do not intend to hold that in no such case can the State exercise its police power. When and how far such power may be legitimately exercised with regard to these subjects must be left for determination to each case as it arises.

Has not a citizen of a State, under the provisions of the Federal Constitution above mentioned, a right to contract out

Opinion of the Court.

side of the State for insurance on his property a right of which state legislation cannot deprive him? We are not alluding to acts done within the State by an insurance company or its agents doing business therein, which are in violation of the state statutes. Such acts come within the principle of the Hooper case (supra), and would be controlled by it. When we speak of the liberty to contract for insurance or to do an act to effectuate such a contract already existing, we refer to and have in mind the facts of this case, where the contract was made outside the State, and as such was a valid and proper contract. The act done within the limits of the State under the circumstances of this case and for the purpose therein mentioned, we hold proper act, one which the defendants were at liberty to perform and which the state legislature had no right to prevent, at least with reference to the Federal Constitution. To deprive the citizen of such a right as herein described without due process of law is illegal. Such' a statute as this in question is not due process of law, because it prohibits an act which under the Federal Constitution the_ defendants had a right to perform. This does not interfere in any way with the acknowledged right of the State to enact such legislation in the legitimate exercise of its police or other powers as to it may seem proper. In the exercise of such right, however, care must be taken not to infringe upon those other rights of the citizen which are protected by the Federal Constitution.

In the privilege of pursuing an ordinary calling or trade and of acquiring, holding and selling property must be embraced the right to make all proper contracts in relation thereto, and although it may be conceded that this right to contract in relation to persons or property or to do business within the jurisdiction of the State may be regulated and sometimes prohibited when the contracts or business .conflict with the policy of the State as contained in its statutes, yet the power does not and cannot extend to prohibiting a citizen from making contracts of the nature involved in this case outside of the limits and jurisdiction of the State, and which are also to be performed outside of such jurisdiction; nor can the

Opinion of the Court.

State legally prohibit its citizens from doing such an act as writing this letter of notification, even though the property which is the subject of the insurance may at the time when such insurance attaches be within the limits of the State. The mere fact that a citizen may be within the limits of a particular State does not prevent his making a contract outside its limits while he himself remains within it. Milliken v. Pratt, 125 Mass. 374; Tilden v. Blair, 21 Wall. 241. The contract in this case was thus made. It was a valid contract, made outside of the State, to be performed outside of the State, although the subject was property temporarily within the State. As the contract was valid in the place where made and where it was to be performed, the party to the contract upon whom is devolved the right or duty to send the notification in order that the insurance provided for by the contract may attach to the property specified in the shipment mentioned in the notice, must have the liberty to do that act and to give that notification within the limits of the State, any prohibition of the state statute to the contrary notwithstanding. The giving of the notice is a mere collateral matter; it is not the contract itself, but is an act performed pursuant to a valid contract which the State had no right or jurisdiction to prevent its citizens from making outside the limits of the State.

The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company of New York has done no business of insurance within the State of Louisiana and has not subjected itself to any provisions of the statute in question. It had the right to enter into a contract in New York with citizens of Louisiana for the purpose of insuring the property of its citizens, even if that property were in the State of Louisiana, and correlatively the citizens of Louisiana had the right without the State of entering into contract with an insurance company for the same purpose. Any act of the state legislature which should prevent the entering into such a contract, or the mailing within the State of Louisiana of such a notification as is mentioned in this case, is an improper and illegal interference with the conduct of the citizen, although residing in Louisiana, in his right to contract and to


carry out the terms of a contract validly entered into outside and beyond the jurisdiction of the State.

In such a case as the facts here present the policy of the State in forbidding insurance companies which had not complied with the laws of the State from doing business within its limits cannot be so carried out as to prevent the citizen from writing such a letter of notification as was written by the plaintiffs in error in the State of Louisiana, when it is written pursuant to a valid contract made outside the State and with reference to a company which is not doing business within its limits.

For these reasons we think the statute in question, No. 66 of the Laws of Louisiana of 1894, was a violation of the D Federal Constitution, and afforded no justification for the judgment awarded by that court against the plaintiffs in error. That judgment must, therefore, be

Reversed, and the case remanded to the Supreme Court of Louisiana for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.




No. 171. Argued January 26, 1897. Decided March 1, 1897.

The act of April 4, 1874, c. 80, legislating for all the Territories, secures to their inhabitants all the rights of trial by jury, as they existed at the common law.

It is within the power of a legislature of a Territory to provide that, on a trial of a common law action, the court may, in addition to the general verdict, require specific answers to special interrogatories, and, when a conflict is found between the two, render such judgment as the answers to the special questions compel.

The doctrine of the civil law and that of the common law, touching the respective rights and duties of proprietors of upper and lower land as to the flow of surface-water are conflicting; and it is the duty of this court,


Opinion of the Court.

in cases involving such rights and duties, to follow the decisions of the local state courts, although it may involve apparently contradictory decisions.

A territorial legislature has all the legislative power of a state legislature, except as limited by the Constitution, and by act of Congress; and, the legislature of New Mexico, having adopted the common law as the rule of practice and decision, this court is bound by it.

ON November 3, 1886, A. C. Walker commenced this action in the District Court of the Second Judicial District of the Territory of New Mexico in and for the county of Socorro, against the railroad company defendant, to recover damages resulting from an overflow of his lands, caused, as charged, by a wrongful obstruction of a natural watercourse. Subsequently, an amended declaration was filed, and after the death of A. C. Walker the action was revived in the name of his administratrix, the present plaintiff in error. After some preliminary proceedings, a trial was had in December, 1892, on which trial the jury returned a general verdict, finding the defendant guilty, and assessing the plaintiff's damages at $9212.50. At the same time the jury returned, in response to certain questions submitted by the court, special findings of fact. The trial court, overruling all other motions, entered a judgment in favor of the defendant, on the ground that the special findings of fact were inconsistent with and controlled the general verdict; and that upon such findings of fact the defendant was entitled to judgment. The case was thereafter taken to the Supreme Court of the Territory, by which court, on August 26, 1893, the judgment was affirmed, 34 Pac. Rep. 43, and thereupon the plaintiff sued out this writ of error.

Mr. Neill B. Field for plaintiff in error. Mr. James G. Fitch was on his brief.

Mr. Robert Dunlap for defendant in error. Mr. E. D. Kenna was on his brief.

MR. JUSTICE BREWER delivered the opinion of the court.

The testimony was not preserved, and the case is submitted to us upon the pleadings, the verdict, the special findings of

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