256 U.S. 635 (1921), 240, Merchants' National Bank of Richmond, Virginia v. City of Richmond

Docket NºNo. 240
Citation256 U.S. 635, 41 S.Ct. 619, 65 L.Ed. 1135
Party NameMerchants' National Bank of Richmond, Virginia v. City of Richmond
Case DateJune 06, 1921
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 635

256 U.S. 635 (1921)

41 S.Ct. 619, 65 L.Ed. 1135

Merchants' National Bank of Richmond, Virginia

v.

City of Richmond

No. 240

United States Supreme Court

June 6, 1921

Argued March 21, 1921

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS

OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA

Syllabus

1. A judgment of a state supreme court sustaining a state statute and a city ordinance imposing taxes over the objection that, as construed and applied, they are repugnant to a law of the United States is reviewable here by writ of error. P. 637.

Page 636

2. Where the state court omits to find the facts relevant to a question of federal law, it is the duty of this Court to examine the evidence on the subject. P. 638.

3. In the provision of Rev.Stats., § 5219, respecting state taxation of shares of national banks, that it "shall not be at a greater rate than is assessed upon other moneyed capital in the hands of individual citizen of such state," the words "moneyed capital in the hands of individual citizens " include bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness in the hands of individuals which are shown to come materially into competition with the national banks in the loan market. P. 638.

124 Va. 522 reversed; application for writ of certiorari denied.

The case is stated in the opinion.

PITNEY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the Court.

The court of last resort of Virginia sustained a tax assessed by the City of Richmond in the year 1915, in form against plaintiff in error, a national banking association, in substance and effect against its shareholders, overruling a contention based upon the Constitution and laws of the United States. To review its judgment a writ of error has been sued out and allowed, and application has been made also for the allowance of a writ of certiorari. The proceeding originated in the hustings court of the City of Richmond with a petition filed by the bank against the city to correct the assessment as erroneous. The first hearing resulted in an order granting the relief prayed for upon grounds not now material, but, upon review by the Supreme Court of Appeals, this was reversed (124 Va. 522) and the case remanded

Page 637

for further proceedings in conformity with the views of that court, in consequence of which, correction of the alleged erroneous assessment was refused by the trial court, and the proceeding dismissed. An application for a writ of error to review this judgment was denied by the Supreme Court of Appeals, with the effect of affirming the judgment of the hustings court.

The tax was imposed pursuant to an ordinance approved April 9, 1915, passed under the powers conferred upon the city by its charter and an act of the General Assembly approved March 15, 1915 (Acts Va.1915, c. 85, p. 119). The opinion of the court of last resort shows that plaintiff in error drew in question the validity of the ordinance and statute, as construed and applied, upon the ground of their alleged repugnance to § 5219, Rev.Stats., and that the court sustained their validity notwithstanding. Under § 237, Judicial Code, as amended by Act of Sept. 6, 1916, c. 448, 39 Stat. 726, a writ of error is the appropriate process for reviewing the final judgment in this Court, and the petition for allowance of a writ of certiorari will be denied.

The tax was imposed pursuant to an ordinance approved April 9, 1915, passed under the powers conferred upon the city by its charter and an act of the General Assembly approved March 15, 1915 (Acts Va.1915, c. 85, p. 119). The opinion of the court of last resort shows that plaintiff in error drew in question the validity of the ordinance and statute, as construed and applied, upon the ground of their alleged repugnance to § 5219, Rev.Stats. and that the court sustained their validity notwithstanding. Under § 237, Judicial Code, as amended by Act of Sept. 6, 1916, c. 448, 39 Stat. 726. It will not be necessary to recite the provisions of the statute and ordinance, beyond saying that, taken in connection with another act of the General Assembly, approved March 17, 1915 (Acts Va.1915, c. 117, p. 160), they authorized the imposition for the year 1915 upon bank stocks, state and national, of a tax for state purposes at the rate of 35 cents and a tax for city purposes at the rate of $1.40 -- a total of $1.75 -- upon the $100 of valuation, while upon intangible personal property in general, including bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness, the state rate was 65 cents and the city rate 30 cents, an aggregate of 95...

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  • 456 F.2d 608 (6th Cir. 1972), 71-1335, Morgan v. Rhodes
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    ...States declared the Virginia tax on national banks invalid because it violated this provision. Merchants' Nat. Bank v. City of Richmond, 256 U.S. 635, 41 S.Ct. 619, 65 L.Ed. 1135. This decision was promptly used by national banks throughout the country to test the validity of the various la......
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