Ex parte Bransford. No. —

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREED
Citation60 S.Ct. 947,84 L.Ed. 1249,310 U.S. 354
PartiesEx parte BRANSFORD. No. —-, Original
Decision Date20 May 1940

310 U.S. 354
60 S.Ct. 947
84 L.Ed. 1249
Ex parte BRANSFORD.
No. —-, Original.

Argued on Motion for Leave to File and Rule and Return April 23, 1940.

Decided May 20, 1940.

Page 355

Mr. Gerald Jones, of Tucson, Ariz., for petitioner.

Mr. J. L. Gust, of Phoenix, Ariz., for respondent.

Mr. Justice REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

The county treasurer and ex-officio tax collector of Pima County, Arizona, moves to file a tendered petition for a writ of mandamus to be directed to District Judge Ling of the federal district court for that state. A rule to show cause has issued and the return has been made. Petitioner, a county treasurer, and other officials are defendants together with their counties, in a suit brought in the district court by the Valley National Bank in which the Bank is seeking an interlocutory and permanent injunction against the collection of certain taxes by the counties. The district judge has ruled that he will hear the case while sitting alone and petitioner contends that under Section 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380, he is entitled to have the case heard before three judges. Mandamus is the proper remedy.1

Arizona taxes shares of bank stock in the name of the shareholders and requires the bank to pay for them.2

Page 356

Assessments are made in the first instance by county assessors, with an appeal allowed first to a county and then to a state board of equalization. The state board returns the final assessment with a levy of the rate for state purposes to the county supervisors. This body adds the several local rates and places the assessment upon the tax roll. Collection is performed by the county treasurer,3 and the taxes collected are apportioned between state and county.4 Where a bank is doing business in several counties the value of its stock is apportioned among the counties in accordance with the assets located in each.5 Because other property in the state has been under-assessed the state board in 1935 ordered that bank shares be valued at 75% of capital stock, surplus and undivided profit. Assets, borrowings, deposits and other liabilities are disregarded.

The petitioner is the only defendant to apply for mandamus. As the issuance of such an order depends on the jurisdiction of the single district judge, sitting alone, over the suit pending in the district court, this is sufficient. As the issues with this petitioner in that suit include those with all other defendants, we do not need to state the issues arising with the officials of counties other than Pima. The Bank states its controversy with the petitioner arose in the following manner. The Bank had branches in several counties. It had common capital stock, a surplus and undivided profits. Also the Bank had an issue of preferred which it had sold to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation prior to the time of the 1935 assessment at the par value of $1,240,000 and which the Reconstruction Finance Corporation still owns. Taking the position that the preferred owned by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation could not be taxed,

Page 357

the Bank reported a total value of $524,629.50, 75% of $699,026 (the amount of its common, surplus, undivided profits and reserves), as the total taxable value of its shares, and apportioned this among the counties according to the assets there located. On this basis $139,088.80, 26.53% of its total taxable value, was apportioned to Pima County. The assessor of Pima County made an assessment of $327,590, the 'actual cash value of the real and personal property' situated in Pima County. By agreement of the parties, the Bank paid the amount which under its computation was due Pima County, the right to litigate the validity of the county's assessment being reserved. Subsequently, the petitioner having threatened to institute proceedings to enforce the county's assessment, the Bank brought its suit in the district court to enjoin collection.

The Bank by its bill in the district court seeks an injunction upon several grounds. We are of the opinion that none of these compels the trial judge to call a three-judge court under Section 266.

The assessment in Pima County was made in the amount of the value of the Bank's real estate and personal property. It is therefore, says the Bank, impossible to tell whether the assessment is the valuation of the property, the proportion of the value of the common stock alone or that of the aggregate of the common and preferred. An assessment upon the property, it is alleged, is 'void as unauthorized by the statutes of Arizona.' If the valuation includes the preferred stock, the complaint alleges it is invalid because of the Act of March 20, 1936, exempting the preferred stock while owned by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.6 If the valuation is upon the common stock alone, it is said to be invalid (1) because the valuation is far beyond the actual value and therefore confiscatory and (2) because the valuation is discrimina-

Page 358

tory since the common stock in other banks is assessed at 75% of the value of common stock, surplus and undivided profits and other classes of property at sixty per cent of its actual value, while this valuation is on the basis of approximately twice the common stock, surplus and undivided profits of the bank and twice its actual value. It is further alleged that this excessive and discriminatory valuation violates R.S. § 5219, 12 U.S.C.A. § 548, which limits the rate of taxation of national bank shares to that assessed 'upon other moneyed capital in the hands of individual...

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170 practice notes
  • Kesler v. Department of Public Safety, Financial Responsibility Division, State of Utah, No. 14
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1962
    ...70 L.Ed. 1036, where the Supremacy Clause was not invoked and therefore the three-judge court was not required. In Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249, Buder was followed. A three-judge court was not required because the issue was 'merely the construction of an act......
  • Moss v. Hornig, Civ. No. 9261.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • May 9, 1962
    ...obtained from the use of the statute. Phillips v. United States (supra) 312 U.S. at 252-253, 61 S.Ct. at 483-484; Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 361, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249 (1940). This distinction between an attack upon the ground of unconstitutionality of a statute and the unconst......
  • Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation v. Rohan, Docket 26654.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 14, 1961
    ...the application on its merits the proper remedy was a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court (see e. g., Ex parte Bransford, 1940, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249), for a Court of Appeals would have no jurisdiction over any matter properly entertainable by a three-judge district ......
  • Swift Company v. Wickham, No. 9
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 22, 1965
    ...law. The District Court in Buder was thus clearly presented with the Supremacy Clause basis of the statutory conflict. Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249, raised a similar problem, also in the context of the validity of a state tax. The Court again held this type ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
170 cases
  • Kesler v. Department of Public Safety, Financial Responsibility Division, State of Utah, No. 14
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1962
    ...70 L.Ed. 1036, where the Supremacy Clause was not invoked and therefore the three-judge court was not required. In Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249, Buder was followed. A three-judge court was not required because the issue was 'merely the construction of an act......
  • Moss v. Hornig, Civ. No. 9261.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • May 9, 1962
    ...obtained from the use of the statute. Phillips v. United States (supra) 312 U.S. at 252-253, 61 S.Ct. at 483-484; Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 361, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249 (1940). This distinction between an attack upon the ground of unconstitutionality of a statute and the unconst......
  • Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation v. Rohan, Docket 26654.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 14, 1961
    ...the application on its merits the proper remedy was a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court (see e. g., Ex parte Bransford, 1940, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249), for a Court of Appeals would have no jurisdiction over any matter properly entertainable by a three-judge district ......
  • Swift Company v. Wickham, No. 9
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 22, 1965
    ...law. The District Court in Buder was thus clearly presented with the Supremacy Clause basis of the statutory conflict. Ex parte Bransford, 310 U.S. 354, 60 S.Ct. 947, 84 L.Ed. 1249, raised a similar problem, also in the context of the validity of a state tax. The Court again held this type ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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