WEST RIVER BRIDGE v. DIX

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Case Basics
Petitioner 
West River Bridge
Respondent 
Dix
Opinion 
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1795, Vermont granted an exclusive 100 year franchise to build and operate a toll bridge. In 1843, a Vermont judge ordered the bridge taken for public use on payment of $4000.

Question 

Does the taking of the bridge violate the Impairment of Contracts prohibition of Article I Section 10 of the Constitution?

Conclusion 

This was not a contract impairment prohibited by the Constitution. The states' eminent domain power was fundamental and had been exercised repeatedly by the states. States could take bridge franchises like any other property provided the states offered just compensation. This was the first Supreme Court case to deal with the states' power of eminent domain.

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WEST RIVER BRIDGE v. DIX. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 04 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1848/1848_0>.
WEST RIVER BRIDGE v. DIX, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1848/1848_0 (last visited April 4, 2014).
"WEST RIVER BRIDGE v. DIX," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 4, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1848/1848_0.