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Duke Power Co. v. Somerset County Board of Taxation

Decided: October 10, 1940.

DUKE POWER COMPANY, A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, PROSECUTOR-APPELLANT,
v.
THE SOMERSET COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION AND HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 124 N.J.L. 481; 12 A.2d 234.

For the appellant, Pitney, Hardin & Skinner (Shelton Pitney and William J. Brennan, Jr., of counsel).

For the respondent Hillsborough township, W. Eddy Heath (Charles F. Lynch and Frederick C. Vonhof, of counsel).

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. The judgment under review is affirmed, for the reasons expressed in the opinion of Chief Justice Brogan for the Supreme Court.

Prosecutor assails the propriety of the inclusion of R.S. 54:3-20 in the "Revised Statutes" of 1937. That assault has far-reaching significance. It strikes at the very vitals of the entire revision and consolidation. The effect of the laws embraced in the revision and consolidation should be free from debate. In pursuance of that conviction, we have considered and determined the merits of the three-fold argument made in support of the stated assault although some phases of the argument were neither raised nor argued below.

1. It is argued here, as it was below, that since R.S. 54:3-20 has for its source Pamph. L. 1903, ch. 208, p. 412, § 28, which act it is claimed "never empowered County Boards to entertain omitted property complaints," and that since the act of 1903, supra, "in any event, has been repealed" by Pamph. L. 1918, ch. 236, §§ 507 and 801, therefore, R.S. 54:3-20 was improperly included in the Revised Statutes. The basis for this argument is that the act providing for the revision and consolidation of the public statutes of this state merely empowered the commissioners "to revise, simplify, arrange and consolidate all the public acts of this state, which are general and permanent in nature and which shall be in force at the time such commissioners shall make their report." Pamph. L. 1925, ch. 73, p. 244, § 1.

The opinion of the Chief Justice very carefully analyzes the pertinent provisions of the act of 1903 and 1918, supra. See Duke Power Co. v. Somerset County Board of Taxation, 124 N.J.L. 485, 486. That analysis clearly points out that there is no inconsistency between the pertinent provisions of the two acts. The Supreme Court, therefore, concluded that the act of 1918, supra, did not, as it was contended, repeal the act of 1903, supra, now R.S. 54:3-20.

Be that as it may, we are firmly of the opinion that R.S. 54:3-20 did properly come into force and effect as part of the revised statute law of this state.

The legislature recognized the need to eliminate the existence of "contradictions, omissions and imperfections" in the existing statute law of our state. Thus it empowered the revision commissioners "to suggest" to it "such contradictions, omissions and imperfections," and also to suggest to

it "the mode in which they shall have reconciled, supplied and amended the same," and also to recommend the passage of "new acts or parts of acts" necessary or expedient to accomplish the desired result. Section 3, Pamph. L. 1925, supra. The commissioners embraced their suggestions and recommendations in their final report to the legislature. That report was in the "mode" or form of a printed copy of the acts so revised and consolidated, as required by the statute, Pamph. L. 1925, supra. It was then clearly the function of the legislature to determine whether or not to adopt the commissioners' suggested and recommended revision and consolidation. The legislature exercised that function on December 20th, 1937; it adopted, without change, the ...


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