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Cary, John W. (1817–1895)

CARY, JOHN W. (1817–1895)

As the general counsel of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, John W. Cary was involved in some of the most important court cases on economic regulation in the late 1800s. In briefs submitted in the granger cases (1877), Cary went beyond the doctrine of vested rights and the guarantee of just compensation relied on by other railroad attorneys such as william evarts. Cary contended that state fixing of prices (including railroad rates) deprived stockholders not only of their property but also of their liberty, that is their freedom to use and control their property. A legislative power to fix prices, he argued, would be "in conflict with the whole structure and theory of our government, hostile to liberty.…"

In Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway v. Minnesota (1890), Cary, along with william c. goudy, successfully argued that the reasonableness of state-fixed rates was subject to judicial review.

Dennis J. Mahoney
(1986)

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