WEST RIVER BRIDGE v. DIX
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.
Does the taking of the bridge violate the Impairment of Contracts prohibition of Article I Section 10 of the Constitution?
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.