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Power Conferred In Form-Lacking In Substance

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  • Legalbear
    A second type of case is that in which the statute or order conferring power upon the officer to take action in the sovereign s name is claimed to be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2013
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      A second type of case is that in which the statute or order conferring power upon the officer to take action in the sovereign's name is claimed to be unconstitutional. Actions for habeas corpus against a warden and injunctions against the threatened enforcement of unconstitutional statutes are familiar examples of this type. Here, too the conduct against which specific relief is sought is beyond the officer's powers and is, therefore, not the conduct of the sovereign. The only difference is that in this case the power has been conferred in form but the grant is lacking in substance because of its constitutional invalidity.

       

      These two types have frequently been recognized by this Court as the only ones in which a restraint may be obtained against the conduct of Government officials. The rule was stated by Mr. Justice Hughes in Philadelphia Co. v. Stimson, 223 U.S. 605, 620 (1912), where he said: ". . . in case of an injury threatened by his illegal action, the officer cannot claim immunity from injunction process. The principle has frequently been 691*691 applied with respect to state officers seeking to enforce unconstitutional enactments. [Citing cases.] And it is equally applicable to a Federal officer acting in excess of his authority or under an authority not validly conferred." Larson v. Domestic and Foreign Commerce Corp., 337 US 682, 690-1 (1949).

       

       

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