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Bi-Metallic Co. v. Colorado

    Brief Fact Summary. Bi-Metallic Co., the Plaintiff, challenged a uniform forty percent tax increase on the ground that it was not afforded an opportunity to be heard.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Individuals do not have standing merely as members of the public at large or the general taxpayer population to challenge government action or imposition of taxes.

    Facts. The Plaintiff owned real estate in Denver, Colorado and filed suit to enjoin the State Board of Equalization and the Colorado Tax Commission from putting in force, and the assessor of Denver from obeying, and order increasing the valuation of all taxable property in Denver by forty percent. The Plaintiff claimed that it was given no opportunity to be heard in connection with the tax increase, and therefore its property would be taken without due process of law, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The order was sustained and the suit directed to be dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado.

    Issue. Do all individuals have a constitutional right to be heard before a matter can be decided where all land owners are equally concerned and stand alike?

    Held. Affirmed. No. “Where a rule of conduct applies to more than a few people it is impracticable that every one should have a direct voice in its adoption. The Constitution does not require all public acts to be done in a town meeting or an assembly of the whole.” Dissent. None. Concurrence. None.

    Discussion. There must be a limit to individual argument in regard to matters affecting the general population in communities if the government is to go on.


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