Lapas attēli

202 U. 8.

Argument for Appellant.




No. 234. Argued April 18, 1906.- Decided May 21, 1906.

Revenue bills, within the meaning of the constitutional provision that they

must originate in the House of Representatives and not in the Senate are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word and are not bills

for other purposes which may incidentally create revenue. An act of Congress appropriating money to be paid to railway companies

to carry out a scheme of public improvements in the District of Columbia, and which also requires those companies to eliminate grade crossings and erect a union station, and recognizes and provides for the surrender of existing rights, is an act appropriating money for governmental purposes

and not for the private use exclusively of those companies. The acts of Congress of February 12, 1901, 31 Stat. 767, 774, and of Feb

ruary 28, 1903, 32 Stat. 909, for eliminating grade crossings of railways and erection of a union station in the District of Columbia and providing for part of the cost thereof by appropriations to be levied and assessed on property in the District other than that of the United States are not unconstitutional either because as bills for raising revenue they should have originated in the House of Representatives and not in the Senate, or because they appropriate moneys to be paid to the railway companies for their exclusive use; and assuming but not deciding that he can raise the question by suit, a taxpayer of the District is not oppressed or deprived of his property without due process of law by reason of the taxes imposed under said statutes.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Mr. Josiah Millard, pro se, appellant:

Taxes on land or the profits issuing from lands are taxes in the strict sense of the word: they are direct taxes within the meaning of the constitutional provision respecting the apportionment of representatives and direct taxes, and, therefore, also necessarily within the meaning of the provision that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co., 157 U. S. 429;

Argument for Appellant.

202 U. S.

S. C., 158 U. S. 601; Story on Constitution, $ 880 and note; Bank v. Nebeker, 3 App. D. C. 190, 198–201; S. C., 167 U. S. 196, 203; Cooley on Taxation, 3d ed., 95, 96 and notes; License Tax Cases, 5 Wall. 462; Binns v. United States, 182 U. S. 292; Downs v. Bidwell, 194 U. S. 489, 496.

The chief characteristic of an act which lays a tax for any purpose whatever, is, that it is intended to raise revenue by taxation; and no other purpose, pretended or real, can deprive it of the nature of a bill for raising revenue. Bills which lay taxes on lands or incomes for any purpose whatever are "bills for raising revenue within the purview of the Constitution.” Story Const. $ 880 and note; Income Tax Cases, 157 U.S. 429; Cong. Record, February 16, 1905 (Payne's citations).

It does not matter that this legislation relates to the District of Columbia, even if it related exclusively to it; for notwithstanding any rule of either House, the power of Congress in this District is restricted and qualified by all the general limitations, express or implied, which are imposed on its authority by the Constitution. Curry v. District of Columbia, 14 D. C. App. 429, 438-445; Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 127; Thompson v. Utah, 170 U. S. 343, 346; United States v. More, 3 Cranch, 160, note; Loan Association v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 655; Loughborough v. Blake, 5 Wheat. 317, 325; Wilkes County v. Coler, 180 U. S. 506, 513-525; Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 446.

If a tax is imposed upon one of the political subdivisions of a country, as in the present case, the purpose must not only be a public purpose as regards the people of that subdivision, but it must also be local. People v. Town of Salem, 20 Michigan, 452, 474; Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 446; Loughborough v. Blake, 5 Wheat. 317, 325.

The people of the District of Columbia cannot be taxed to pay “the debts of the United States,” in whole or in part, whether equitable or legal, unless the taxes on them for that purpose be, if indirect, uniform throughout the United States, and be, if direct, apportioned among the States and Territories in proportion to population; and hence the case of United

202 U. S.

Argument for Appellant.

States v. Realty Co., 163 U. S. 440, 444, the Sugar Bounty case, is no precedent here, even if these taxes were designed to pay a debt, and not provide uno flatu a bounty for a private corporation and a stately edifice for the adornment of the capital of the nation, as such. The cases above cited sustain this contention,

The right of taxation can only be used in aid of a public object, an object which is within the purpose for which governments are established, and cannot, therefore, be exercised in aid of enterprises strictly private, even though, in a remote or collateral way, the local public may be benefited thereby. Loan Association v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 655, 664; Cole v. LaGrange, 112 U. S. 1, 6; Miles Planting Co. v. Carlisle, 5 D. C. App. 138; Hanson v. Vernon, 27 Iowa, 28; Whiting v. Sheboygan, Fond du Lac R. R. Co., 25 Wisconsin, 167; Sweet v. Hulbert, 51 Barb. (N. Y.) 312; Lowell v. Boston, 111 Massachusetts, 454; Central Branch U. P.R.R. Co. v. Smith, 23 Kansas, 533.

It is admitted by the Court of Appeals that all three of the acts in question originated in the Senate; and the same fact also appears affirmatively by reference to the Congressional Record.

A literal compliance with the mandatory provisions of the Constitution, whether affirmative or negative, is a condition precedent to the validity of any law laying taxes on the property of the people, and attempts to evade those provisions constitute violations of them. Wilkes County v. Coler, 180 U. S. 506, 521, 522; Baltimore v. Gill, 31 Maryland, 375, 387, 388; Rodman v. Munson, 13 Barb. (N. Y.) 63; People v. Nicoll, 3 Selden, 9, 139.

All remedial laws, such as the constitutional provisions respecting taxation and due process of law, must be so construed as to repel the mischief and advance the remedy, by searching out and nullifying evasions as well as violations of them. Atty. General v. Meyricke, 2 Vesey, Sr. 44; Atty. General v. Day, 1 Vesey, Sr. 218; Atty. General v. Davies, 9 Vesey, Jr. 535, 541; Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch, 137, 175, 176; Ex parte Gar

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land, 4 Wall. 333; Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 237; Baltimore v. Gill, 31 Maryland, 375; Cooke County v. Industrial School for Girls, 125 Illinois, 540, 564, 565; Farmer v. St. Paul, 67 N. W. Rep. 990; Washingtonian Home v. Chicago, 157 Illinois, 414, 428; Central Transportation Co. v. Pullman's Palace Car Co., 139 U. S. 24, 40 et seq.; Loan Association v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 655; Ward v. Joplin, 186 U. S. 142, 152; Brownsville v. League, 129 U. S. 493; Bank of San Francisco v. Dodge, Assessor, 197 U. S. 70.

No conclusive presumption can arise to defeat the operation of the mandatory and remedial provisions of the Constitution respecting taxation and due process of law, which are selfexecuting. Wilkes County v. Coler, 180 U. S. 506, 521, 522; Post v. Supervisors, 105 U. S. 657, 667; Town of South Ottawa v. Perkins, 94 U. S. 260.

The Solicitor General for the Treasurer of the United States; Mr. Wayne Mac Veagh, Mr. Frederic D. McKenney and Mr. John S. Flannery for Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington R. R. Co.; Mr. George E. Hamilton and Mr. Michael J. Colbert for Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Co. and Washington Terminal Co.; Mr. Edward H. Thomas for the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, appellees, submitted:

The act of February 28, 1903, and the two acts approved February 12, 1901, do not appropriate public moneys or levy taxes upon the taxpayers of the District of Columbia for private purposes. The project was in response to a general desire of the public, to abolish dangerous grade crossings and to remove the railroad tracks from the mall. The acts were based on an ample consideration, irrespective of the general power of Congress in the premises.

We submit that Congress, in the acts themselves, having declared that the appropriations were made upon a valuable consideration and for a public purpose, the matter is not open to review in the courts. Cooley's Principles of Constitutional Law, 57, 58; Cooley on Taxation, 2d ed., 111,

202 U. S.

Argument for Appellees.

This court has repeatedly held that, although railroad corporations are private corporations as distinguished from those created for municipal and governmental purposes, their uses are public. N. Y. & N. E. R. R. Co. v. Bristol, 151 U. S. 556, 571.

The power of States, counties and municipalities to aid in the construction of railroads, upon the ground that railroads are quasi public institutions created and existing for the benefit of the public at large, is well established. Olcott v. Supervisors, 16 Wall. 698; Curtis v. County of Butler, 24 How. 447, 449; Rogers v. Burlington, 3 Wall. 665; St. Joseph v. Rogers, 16 Wall. 663; Gillman v. Sheboygan, 2 Black, 515; Larned v. Burlington, 4 Wall. 276; Railroad Co. v. County of Otoe, 16 Wall. 673; Township of Pine Grove v. Talbott, 19 Wall. 676; United States v. Railroad Co., 17 Wall. 330; Loan Assn. v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 661; Otoe Co. v. Baldwin, 111 U. S. 15.

The United States possesses complete jurisdiction, both of a political and municipal nature, over the District of Columbia. When Congress, acting as the municipal legislature of said District, in the exercise of the police power, enacts legislation for the benefit of the health and safety of the community and makes an appropriation and levies an assessment to carry said legislation into effect, the propriety of its action is not open to review by the courts. Wight v. Davidson, 181 U. S. 371, 381; Wilson v. Lambert, 168 U. S. 611; N. Y. & N. E. R. R. Co. v. Bristol, 151 U. S. 556. See also Wabash R. R. Co. v. Defiance, 167 U. S. 88, 98; Chicago &c. R. R. v. Nebraska, 170 U. S. 57, 74.

But even if the appropriations made by the acts of 1901 and 1903 could be regarded as donations they would still be legal and the acts providing therefor constitutional and valid.

From the beginning of this Government, Congress has made donations for the benefit of public service corporations, in the nature of land grants, subsidies and bounties, and such donations have been invariably sustained. Allen v. Smith, 173 U. S. -402; United States v. Realty Co., 163 U. S. 440.


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