Munday v. Wisconsin Trust Co. 252 U. S. 499, 503, 64 L. ed. 684, 690, 40 Sup. Ct. Rep. 365; Mountain Timber Co. v. Washington, 243 U. S. 219, 236, 61 L. ed. 685, 695, 37 Sup. Ct. Rep. 260, Ann. Cas. 1917D, 642, 13 N. C. C. A. 927; New York C. R. Co. v. White, 243 U. S. 188, 196, 200, 61 L. ed. 667, 671, 673, L.R.A.1917D, 1, 37 Sup. Ct. Rep. 247, Ann. Cas. 1917D, 629; Cheney v. Libby, 134 U. S. 68, 78, 33 L. ed. 818, 823, 10 Sup. Ct. Rep. 498; Stewart v. Gorter, 70 Md. 245, 2 L.R.A. 711, 16 Atl. 644; Swan v. Kemp, 97 Md. 690, 55 Atl. 441; Arizona Employers' Liability Cases (Arizona Copper Co. v. Hammer) 250 U. S. 400, 423, 424, 63 L. ed. 1058, 1067, 1068, 6 A.L.R. 1537, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 553; United States v. Ferger, 250 U. S. 199, 203, 205, 63 L. ed. 936, 940, 941, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 445; Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 49 L. ed. 643, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 358, 3 Ann. Cas. 765; Miller v. Wilson, 236 U. S. 373, 380, 59 L. ed. 628, 639, L.R.A.1915F, 829, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 342; Manigault v. Springs, 199 U. S. 473, 480, 50 L. ed. 274, 278, 26 Sup. Ct. Rep. 127; Mutual Loan Co. v. Martell, 222 U. S. 225, 231, 56 L. ed. 175, 178, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 74, Ann. Cas. 1913B, 529; Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U. S. 13, 46 L. ed. 55, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1; Keokee Consol. Coke Co. v. Taylor, 234 U. S. 224, 58 L. ed. 1288, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 856; Rast v. Van Deman & L. Co. 240 U. S. 342, 60 L. ed. 679, L.R.A.1917A, 421, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 370, Ann. Cas. 1917B, 455; Thornton v. Duffy, 254 U. S. 361, ante, 304, 41 Sup. Ct. Rep. 137; Mitchell v. Reed, 61 N. Y. 135, 19 Am. Rep. 252; Boyle v. Lysaght, 1 Vern. & S. 142; Banks v. Haskie, 45 Md. 220; Bateman v. Murray, Ridgew. Ir. P. C. 187; Nevile W. N. 374, 65 Sol. Jo. 135, 150 L. T. v. Hardy, 37 Times L. R. 129, [1920]

R. Co. 167 U. S. 479, 494, 42 L. ed. 243, son Vinegar Co. 226 U. S. 217, 219, 57 251, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 896; Railroad L. ed. 193, 194, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 40. Commission Cases, 116 U. S. 307, 336, Temporary continuance of occupancy 29 L. ed. 636, 646, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 334, is an appropriate means of making 388, 1191; Missouri Rate Cases (Knott rent regulation effective. v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co.) 230 U. S. 474, 508, 57 L. ed. 1571, 1594, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 975; Chicago, M. & St. P. R. Co. v. Minnesota, 134 U. S. 458, 33 L. ed. 981, 3 Inters. Com. Rep. 209, 10 Sup. Ct. Rep. 462, 702; New York C. R. Co. v. White, 243 U. S. 188, 207, 208, 61 L. ed. 667, 676, 677, L.R.A.1917D, 1, 37 | Sup. Ct. Rep. 247, 13 N. C. C. A. 943; Detroit & M. R. Co. v. Michigan R. Commission, 235 U. S. 402, 405, 59 L. ed. 288, 289, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 126; Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line Co. 211 U. S. 210, 230, 53 L. ed. 150, 160, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 67; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Garrett, 231 U. S. 298, 311, 58 L. ed. 229, 241, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 48; Wadley Southern R. Co. v. Georgia, 235 U. S. 651, 668, 59 L. ed. 405, 414, P.U.R.1915A, | 106, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 214; Union Dry Goods Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Corp. 248 U. S. 373, 374, 63 L. ed. 310, 311, 9 A.L.R. 1420, P.U.R.1919C, 60, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 117; Miller v. Wilson, 236 U. S. 373, 382, 59 L. ed. 628, 631, L.R.A. 1915F, 829, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 342; Keokee Consol. Coke Co. v. Taylor, 234 U. S. 224, 227, 58 L. ed. 1288, 1289, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 856; Siler v. Louisville & N. R. Co. 213 U. S. 175, 197, 53 L. ed. 753, 760, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 451; American Sugar Ref. Co. v. Louisiana, 179 U. S. 89, 92, 45 L. ed. 102, 103, 21 Sup. Ct. Rep. 43; Booth v. Illinois, 184 U. S. 425, 429, 46 L. ed. 623, 626, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 425; McLean v. Arkansas, 211 U. S. 539, 551, 552, 53 L. ed. 315, 321, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 206; Quong Wing v. Kirkendall, 223 U. S. 59, 62, 63, 56 L. ed. 350-352, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 192; Bosley v. McLaughlin, 236 U. S. 385, 395, 59 L. ed. 632, 636, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 345; Miller v. Strahl, 239 U. S. 426, 434, 60 L. ed. 364, 368, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 147; Penniman's Case, 103 U. S. 714, 717, 26 L. ed. 602, 604; Reagan v. Farmers' Loan & T. Co. 154 U. S. 362, 393, 396, 38 L. ed. 1014, 1022, 1023, 4 Inters. Com. Rep. 560, 14 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1047; Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U. S. 45, 54, 53 L. ed. 81, 85, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 33; El Paso & N. E. defendant in error, Hirsh, to recover This is a proceeding brought by the R. Co. v. Gutierrez, 215 U. S. 87, 97, 54 possession of the cellar and first floor of L. ed. 106, 111, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 21; a building on F street in Washington, Hall v. Geiger-Jones Co. 242 U. S. 539, which the plaintiff in error, Block, holds 553, 61 L. ed. 480, 490, L.R.A.1917F, 514, over after the expiration of a lease to 37 Sup. Ct. Rep. 217, Ann. Cas. 1917C, him. Hirsh bought the building while 643; Yazoo & M. Valley R. Co. v. Jack-the lease was running, and on December

Jo. 342.

Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court:

15, 1919, notified Block that he should require possession on December 31, when the lease expired. Block declined to surrender the premises, relying upon the Act of October 22, 1919, chap. 80, title 2, "District of Columbia Rents;" especially § 109 (41 Stat. at L. 297, 298, 301). That is also the ground of his defense in this court, and the question is whether the statute is constitutional, or, as held by the court of appeals, an attempt to authorize the taking of property not for public use, and without due process of law, and for this and other reasons void.

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Producers Transp. Co. v. Railroad Commission, 251 U. S. 228, 230, 64 L. ed. 239, 241, P.U.R.1920C, 574, 40 Sup. Ct. Rep. 131. But a declaration by a legislature concerning public conditions that, by necessity and duty, it must know, is entitled at least to great respect. In this instance Congress stated a publicly notorious and almost worldwide fact. That the emergency declared by the statute did exist [155] must be assumed, and the question is whether Congress was incompetent to meet it in the way in which it has been met by most of the civilized countries of the world.

By 109 of the act the right of a tenant to occupy any hotel, apartment, The general proposition to be mainor "rental property," i. e., any building tained is that circumstances have [154] or part thereof, other than hotel clothed the letting of buildings in the or apartment (§ 101), is to continue not- District of Columbia with a public inwithstanding the expiration of his term, terest so great as to justify regulation at the option of the tenant, subject to by law. Plainly, circumstances may so regulation by the commission appointed change in time or so differ in space as by the act, so long as he pays the rent to clothe with such an interest what at and performs the conditions as fixed by other times or in other places would be the lease, or as modified by the com a matter of purely private concern. It mission. It is provided in the same sec- is enough to refer to the decisions as tion that the owner shall have the right to insurance, in German Alliance Ins. to possession "for actual and bona fide Co. v. Lewis, 233 U. S. 389, 58 L. ed. occupancy by himself, or his wife, chil- 1011, L.R.A.1915C, 1189, 34 Sup. Ct. dren, or dependents upon giv- Rep. 612; irrigation, in Clark v. Nash, ing thirty days' notice in writing." 198 U. S. 361, 49 L. ed. 1083, 25 Sup. According to his affidavit Hirsh wanted Ct. Rep. 676, 4 Ann. Cas. 1171; and the premises for his own use, but he mining, in Strickley v. Highland Boy did not see fit to give the thirty days' Gold Min. Co. 200 U. S. 527, 50 L. ed. notice because he denied the validity of 581, 26 Sup. Ct. Rep. 201, 4 Ann. Cas. the act. The statute embodies a scheme 1174. They sufficiently illustrate what or code which it is needless to set forth, hardly would be denied. They illusbut it should be stated that it ends trate also that the use by the public with the declaration in § 122 that the generally of each specific thing affected provisions of title 2 are made necessary cannot be made the test of public inby emergencies growing out of the war, terest (Mt. Vernon-Woodberry Cotton resulting in rental conditions in the Duck Co. v. Alabama Interstate Power District dangerous to the public health Co. 240 U. S. 30, 32, 60 L. ed. 507, 511, and burdensome to public officers, em-36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 234), and that the ployees, and accessories, and thereby public interest may extend to the use of embarrassing the Federal government land. They dispel the notion that what in the transaction of the public busi- in its immediate aspect may be only a ness. As emergency legislation the private transaction may not be raised title is to end in two years unless sooner repealed.

No doubt it is true that a legislative declaration of facts that are material only as the ground for enacting a rule of law, for instance, that a certain use is a public one, may not be held conclusive by the courts. Shoemaker v. United States, 147 U. S. 282, 298, 37 L. ed. 170, 184, 13 Sup. Ct. Rep. 361; Hairston v. Danville & W. R. Co. 208 U. S. 598, 606, 52 L. ed. 637, 640, 28 Sup. Ct. Rep. 331, 13 Ann. Cas. 1008; Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line Co. 211 U. S. 210, 227, 53 L. ed. 150, 159, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 67;

by its class or character to a public affair. See also Noble State Bank v. Haskell, 219 U. S. 104, 110, 111, 55 L. ed. 112, 116, 117, 32 L.R.A. (N.S.) 1062, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 186, Ann. Cas. 1912A, 487.

The fact that tangible property is also visible tends to give a rigidity to our conception of our rights in it that we do not attach to others less concretely clothed. But the notion that the former are exempt from the legislative modification required from time to time in civilized life is contradicted not only by the doctrine of eminent domain,

under which what is taken is paid for, but by that of the police power in its proper sense, under which property rights may be cut down, and to that extent taken, without pay. Under the police power the right to erect buildings in a certain quarter of a city may be limited to from 80 to 100 feet. Welch v. [156] Swasey, 214 U. S. 91, 53 L. ed. 923, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 567. Safe pillars may be required in coal mines. Plymouth Coal Co. v. Pennsylvania, 232 U. S. 531, 58 L. ed. 713, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 359. Billboards in cities may be registered. St. Louis Poster Advertising Co. v. St. Louis, 249 U. S. 269, 63 L. ed. 599, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 274. Watersheds in the country may be kept clear. Perley v. North Carolina, 249 U. S. 511, 63 L. ed. 735, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 357. These cases are enough to establish that a public exigency will justify the legislature in restricting property rights in land to a certain extent with out compensation. But if, to answer one need, the legislature may limit height, to answer another it may limit rent. We do not perceive any reason for denying the justification held good in the foregoing cases to a law limiting the property rights now in question if the public exigency requires that. The reasons are of a different nature, but they certainly are not less pressing. Congress has stated the unquestionable embarrassment of government and danger to the public health in the existing condition of things. The space in Washington is necessarily monopolized in comparatively few hands, and letting portions of it as much a business as any other. Housing is a necessary of life. All the elements of a public interest justifying some degree of public control are present. The only matter that seems to us open to debate is whether the statute goes too far. For just as there comes a point at which the police power ceases and leaves only that of eminent domain, it may be conceded that regulations of the present sort, pressed to a certain height, might amount to a taking without due process of law. Martin v. District of Columbia, 205 U. S. 135, 139, 51 L. ed. 743, 744, 27 Sup. Ct. Rep. 440..

Perhaps it would be too strict to deal with this case as concerning only the requirement of thirty days' notice. For although the plaintiff alleged that he wanted the premises for his own use, the defendant denied it, and might have prevailed upon that issue under the act.

The general question to which we have adverted must be decided, if not in this, then in the next case, and it should [157] be disposed of now. The main point against the law is that tenants are allowed to remain in possession at the same rent that they have been paying, unless modified by the commission established by the act, and that thus the use of the land and the right of the owner to do what he will with his own and to make what contracts he pleases are cut down. But if the public interest be established, the regulation of rates is one of the first forms in which it is asserted, and the validity of such regulation has been settled since Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113, 24 L. ed. 77. It is said that a grain elevator may go out of business, whereas here the use is fastened upon the land. The power to go out of business, when it exists, is an illusory answer to gas companies and waterworks, but we need not stop at that. The regulation is put and justified only as a temporary measure. See Wilson v. New, 243 U. S. 332, 345, 346, 61 L. ed. 753, 772, 773, L.R.A.1917E, 938, 37 Sup. Ct. Rep. 298, Ann. Cas. 1918A, 1024; Ft. Smith & W. R. Co. v. Mills, 253 U. S. 206, 64 L. ed. 862, 40 Sup. Ct. Rep. 526. A limit in time, to tide over a passing trouble, well may justify a law that could not be upheld as a permanent change.

Machinery is provided to secure to the landlord a reasonable rent. § 106. It may be assumed that the interpretation of "reasonable" will deprive him, in part, at least, of the power of profiting by the sudden influx of people to Washington, caused by the needs of government and the war, and thus of a right usually incident to fortunately situated property,-of a part of the value of his property as defined in International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U. S. 222, 58 L. ed. 1287, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 853; Southern R. Co. v. Greene, 216 U. S. 400, 414, 54 L. ed. 536, 540, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 287, 17 Ann. Cas. 1247. But while it is unjust to pursue such profits from a national misfortune with sweeping denunciations, the policy of restricting them has been embodied in taxation and is accepted. It goes little if at all farther than the restriction put upon the rights of the owner of money by the more debatable usury laws. The preference given to the tenant in possession is an almost necessary incident of the policy, and is traditionIf the tenant al in English law. 871

[158] remained subject to the landlord's power to evict, the attempt to limit the landlord's demands would fail.

Assuming that the end in view otherwise justified the means adopted by Congress, we have no concern, of course, with the question whether those means were the wisest, whether they may not cost more than they come to, or will effect the result desired. It is enough that we are not warranted in saying that legislation that has been resorted to for the same purpose all over the world is futile, or has no reasonable relation to the relief sought. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. McGuire, 219 U. S. 549, 569, 55 L. ed. 328, 339, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 259.

process of law." A further provision of the 5th Amendment is that private property cannot be taken for public use, without just compensation. And there is a special security to contracts in § 10 of article 1 in the provision that “no State shall

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pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.. These provisions are limitations upon the national legislation, with which this case is concerned, and limitations upon state legislation, with which Marcus Brown Holding Co. v. Feldman [256 U. S. 170, post, 877, 41 Sup. Ct. Rep. 465] is concerned. We shall more or less consider the cases together, as they were argued and submitted on the same day and practically depend upon the same principles; and what we say about one applies to the other.

The statute in the present case is denominated "The Rent Law," and its purpose is to permit a lessee to continue in possession of leased premises after the expiration of his term, against the demand of his landlord, and in direct opposition to the covenants of the lease, so long as he pays the rent and

The statute is objected to on the further ground that landlords and tenants are deprived by it of a trial by jury on the right to possession of the land. If the power of the commission established by the statute to regulate the relation is established, as we think it is, by what we have said, this objection amounts to little. To regulate the relation and to decide the facts affecting it are hardly separable. While the act is in force there is little to decide ex-performs the conditions as fixed by the cept whether the rent allowed is reasonable, and upon that question the courts are given the last word. A part of the exigency is to secure a speedy and summary administration of the law, and we are not prepared to say that the suspension of ordinary remedies was. not a reasonable provision of a statute reasonable in its aim and intent. The plaintiff obtained a judgment on the ground that the statute was void, root and branch. That judgment must be reversed.

Judgment reversed.

Mr. Justice McKenna, dissenting: The CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice Van Devanter, Mr. Justice McReynolds, and I dissent from the opinion [159] and judgment of the court. The grounds of dissent are the explicit provisions of the Constitution of the United States; the specifications of the grounds are the irresistible deductions from those provisions, and, we think, would require no expression but for the opposition of those whose judgments challenge atten


The national government, by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, and the states, by the 14th Amendment, are forbidden to deprive any person of "life, liberty, or property without due

lease, or as modified by a commission created by the statute. This is contrary to every conception of leases that the world has ever entertained, and of the reciprocal rights and obligations of lessor and lessee.

As already declared, the provisions of the Constitution seem so direct and definite as to need no reinforcing words, and to leave no other inquiry than does the statute under [160] review come within their prohibition. It is asserted that the statute has been made necessary by the conditions resulting from the "Imperial German war." The thought instantly comes that the country has had other wars with resulting embarrassments, yet they did not induce the relaxation of constitutional requirements nor the exercise of arbitrary power. Constitutional restraints were increased, not diminished. However, it may be admitted that the conditions presented a problem and induced an appeal for government remedy. But we must bear in mind that the Constitution is, as we have shown, a restraint upon government, purposely provided and declared upon consideration of all the consequences of what it prohibits and permits, making the restraints upon government the rights of the governed. And this careful adjustment of power

and rights makes the Constitution what, ing, and subjecting them to the fiat of it was intended to be and is, a real a subsequent law. charter of liberty, receiving and deserving the praise that has been given it as "the most wonderful work ever struck off at any given time by the brain and purpose of man." And we add that more than a century of trial "has certainly proven the sagacity of the constructors, and the stubborn strength of the fabric."

The "strength of the fabric" cannot be assigned to any one provision; it is the contribution of all; and therefore, it is not the expression of too much anxiety to declare that a violation of any of its prohibitions is an evil,-an evil in the circumstance of violation, of greater evil because of its example and malign instruction. And against the first step to it this court has warned, expressing a maxim of experience, "Withstand beginnings." Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 635, 29 L. ed. 746, 752, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 524. Who can know to what end they will conduct?

The facts of this litigation point the warning. Recurring to them, we may ask,-Of what concern is it to the public health or the operations of the Federal government as to who [161] shall occupy a cellar and a room above it for business purposes in the city of Washington? (the question in this case); and why is it the solicitude of the police power of the state of New York to keep from competition an apartment in the city of New York?-(the question in the other case). The answer is, to supply homes to the homeless. It does not satisfy. If the statute keeps a tenant in, it keeps tenant out; indeed, this is its assumption. Its only basis is that tenants are more numerous than landlords, and that, in some way, this disproportion, it is assumed, makes tyranny in the landlord and an oppression to the tenant, notwithstanding the tenant is only required to perform a contract entered into, not under the statute, but before the statute, and that the condition is remedied by rent fixing value adjustment-by the power of the government. And this, it is the view of the opinion, has justification because "space in Washington is limited" and "housing is a necessary of life." A causative and remedial relation in the circumstances we are unable to see. We do see that the effect and evil of the statute is that it withdraws the dominion of property from its owner, superseding the contracts that he confidently made under the law then exist


If such exercise of government be legal, what exercise of government is illegal? Houses are a necessary of life, but other things are as necessary. May they, too, be taken from the direction of their owners and disposed of by the government? Who supplies them, and upon what inducement? And, when supplied, may those who get them under promise of return, and who had no hand or expense in their supply, dictate the terms of retention or use, and be bound by no agreement concerning them?

An affirmative answer seems to be the requirement of the decision. If the public interest may be concerned, as in the statute under review, with the control of any form [162] of property, it can be concerned with the control of all forms of property. And, certainly, in the first instance, the necessity of expediency of control must be a matter of legislative judgment. But, however, not to go beyond the case, if the public interest can extend a lease, it can compel a lease; the difference is only in degree and boldness. In one as much as in the other, there is a violation of the positive and absolute right of the owner of the property. And it would seem, necessarily, if either can be done, unoccupied houses or unoccupied space in occupied houses can be appropriated. The efficacy of either to afford homes for the homeless cannot be disputed. In response to an inquiry from the bench, counsel replied that the experiment had been tried or was being tried in a European country. It is to be remembered that the legality of power must be estimated not by what it will do, but by what it can do.

The prospect expands and dismays when we pass outside of considerations applicable to the local and narrow conditions in the District of Columbia. It is the assertion of the statute that the Federal government is embarrassed in the transaction of its business; but, as we have said, a New York statute is submitted to us, and counsel have referred to the legislation of six other states. And there is intimation in the opinion that Congress, in its enactment, has imitated the laws of other countries. The facts are significant and suggest the inquiry, Have conditions come not only to the District of Columbia, embarrassing the Federal government, but to the world as well, that are not amenable to passing palliatives, and that social

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