112 U.S. 69 (1884), Moran v. City of New Orleans

Citation:112 U.S. 69, 5 S.Ct. 38, 28 L.Ed. 653
Party Name:MORAN, Widow in Community, etc., v. CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.
Case Date:November 03, 1884
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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112 U.S. 69 (1884)

5 S.Ct. 38, 28 L.Ed. 653

MORAN, Widow in Community, etc.,

v.

CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.

United States Supreme Court.

November 3, 1884

In Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana.

COUNSEL

[5 S.Ct. 38] J. R. Beckwith, for plaintiff in error.

C. F. Buck and S. P. Blanc, for defendant in error.

OPINION

MATTHEWS, J.

The city of New Orleans was authorized by a law of the state, (Acts Extra Session 1870, p. 37, § 12,) for the purposes of the act, 'to levy, impose, and collect a license upon all persons pursuing any trade, profession, [5 S.Ct. 39] or calling, and to provide for its collection; and said license shall not be constituted to be a tax on property.' The same act (section 21) provides that 'all licenses imposed by the city, not paid on the thirty-first day of July, shall be seizable, after thirty days' publication in the official journal,' in certain courts of record in the city; 'and upon the prayer of the city, through its proper representatives, any court of competent jurisdiction shall enjoin the said person or persons so liable to pay a license tax, and who shall refuse or neglect to pay the same, from continuing to carry on such business or profession until he shall have paid the same, and all costs and charges for the recovery and enforcement of the claim therefor.' The council of the city of New Orleans passed an ordinance 'to establish the rate of licenses for professions, callings, and

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other business for the year 1880,' which assessed and directed to be collected the sums specially set forth; among others: 'Sec. 39. Every member of a firm or company, every agency, person, or corporation, owning and running tow-boats to and from the Gulf of Mexico, five hundred dollars. Every member of a firm or company, every agent, person, or corporation, owning and running job-boats within the corporate limits, fifty dollars.'

Joseph Cooper was the owner of two steam-propellers, each measuring over 100 tons, duly enrolled and licensed at the port of New Orleans, under the laws of the United States, to be employed in the coasting trade, and employed them as tow-boats in taking vessels from the sea up the river to New Orleans, and from that port to the sea. The city of New Orleans brought its action against him in the third district court for the parish of Orleans, to recover the license tax under the ordinance, and obtained a judgment in its favor, which, on appeal, was affirmed by the supreme court of the state.

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The defense relied on and overruled was that the ordinance imposing the license tax was a regulation of commerce among the states, and therefore contrary to article 1, § 8, par. 3...

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