192 U.S. 363 (1904), 43, Thomas v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 43
Citation:192 U.S. 363, 24 S.Ct. 305, 48 L.Ed. 481
Party Name:Thomas v. United States
Case Date:February 23, 1904
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 363

192 U.S. 363 (1904)

24 S.Ct. 305, 48 L.Ed. 481

Thomas

v.

United States

No. 43

United States Supreme Court

February 23, 1904

Argued December 4, 1903

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Syllabus

The, words duties, imposts and excises were used comprehensively in the Constitution to cover customs and excise duties imposed on importation, consumption, manufacture, and sale of certain commodities, privileges, particular business transactions, vocations, and the like. The stamp duty on sales of shares of stock in corporations imposed by the War Revenue Act of 1898, 30 Stat. 448, falls within that category, and was not a direct tax.

George C. Thomas was indicted for violation of the internal revenue laws of the United States in that, being a broker in the City of New York, he sold certain shares of Atchison preferred stock and omitted the required revenue stamps from the memorandum of sale. He demurred to the indictment on the ground that the Act of June 13, 1898, 30 Stat. 448, c. 448, which required the stamps to be affixed, was unconstitutional. The demurrer was overruled, the court, Thomas, J., delivering an opinion. 115 F. 207.

Trial was had, defendant found guilty, and judgment rendered, sentencing him to pay a fine of five hundred dollars.

The case was then brought here on writ of error.

Page 369

FULLER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

By the first clause of Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, Congress is empowered "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, . . . but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

This division of taxation into two classes is recognized throughout the Constitution.

By clause 3 of section 2, representatives and direct taxes are required to be apportioned according to the enumeration prescribed, and by clause 4 of section 9, no capitation or other direct tax can be laid except according to that enumeration.

By clause 1 of section 9, the migration or importation of persons by the states was not to be prohibited prior to 1808, but a tax or duty could be imposed on such importation, not exceeding $10 for each person.

By clause 5, it is provided: "No tax or duty shall be laid on any articles exported...

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