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21, 1871 (16 Stat. at L. 419, chap. 62), providing for contracts of the board of public works, it was distinctly provided that all contracts should be in writing and signed by the parties making the same. And it was held that this statute requires contracts to be actually signed, and that mere entries on the journals of the board would not satisfy | the statute. Barnard v. District of Columbia, 127 U. S. 409-411, 32 L. ed. 207, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1202.
The court of claims is not bound by special rules of pleading. The main purpose is to arrive at and adjudicate the justice of alleged claims against the United States. United States v. Burns, 12 Wall. 246-254, 20 L. ed. 388-390; United States v. Behan, 110 U. S. 338-347, 28 L. ed. 168-171, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 81.
On the whole record we find no error of law to the prejudice of the District. Judgment affirmed.
(197 U. S. 60) FRANK E. KEHRER, Plff. in Err.,
ANDREW P. STEWART.
Constitutional law-state taxation of local managers of foreign packing houses-infringement of commerce clause protection of the laws.
The tax of $200 upon resident managing agents of nonresident meat-packing houses which is imposed by Georgia act of December 21, 1900, regardless of the fact that the greater portion of the business may be interstate in its character, does not conflict with the commerce clause of the Federal Constitution, where the tax is construed by the highest state court to apply only to the business of selling to local customers from the stock of original packages shipped into the state without a previous sale or contract to sell, and kept and held for sale in the ordinary course of trade, and this domestic business is not shown to be a mere incident to the interstate business.
But, under the statute (June 16, 1880) now under consideration, the intention is manifest to permit the court of claims to adjudicate claims for all work done by the order and direction of the commissioners, and accepted by them for the use, purpose, and benefit of the District. For this purpose this is a remedial statute, and it is intended to permit parties to have an adjudication upon their demands where the District had been benefited by work actually done under the order and direction of the commissioners and duly accepted. And the findings of fact show that the claimant was only permitted to recover for work so performed and accepted. As we have said, this right of recovery might not revive claims for work completed under former contracts, but here the finding is that the new agreement applied to a distinct subject-matter, and not to work covered by and performed under the original agreement. We find no error in the judgment of the court of claims in this regard. And so as to various sums awarded under findings of fact, establishing that more work was made necessary by reason of the change of grade on North Carolina avenue by the commissioners in 1874, the change of grade making it necessary to further grade Third street and to do work for that purpose. The findings show that this was done by the direction of the commissioners, and upon terms mutually agreed upon. Under finding XIV., where the work is found not to have been done under the original contract, it is found that it was admitted by the defendant to be correct, and is work of which the District has received the full benefit. So, as to other findings to which exceptions are made, there is no dispute that Argued January 24, 25, 1905. Decided the work was actually done to the satisfaction of the commissioners upon terms agreed upon and the work duly accepted.
As we construe the statute, we think it affords ample authority to grant relief upon the facts found, which findings are conclusive upon us.
2. The equal protection of the laws is not denied a managing agent of a nonresident meat-packing house by the imposition, under Georgia act of December 21, 1900, of a license tax on the domestic business conducted by him, since such act applies to managing agents of both domestic and foreign houses.* The obligation of the contract of employment, by a nonresident meat-packing house, of a resident managing agent at a weekly wage, is not unconstitutionally impaired by the imposition upon him, under Georgia act of December 21, 1900, of a license tax of $200 upon the domestic business carried on by him.
February 27, 1905.
IN ERROR to the Supreme Court of the
State of Georgia to review a judgment which affirmed, on a second writ of error, a judgment of the City Court of Atlanta, sustaining a demurrer to an amended petition It is further urged by counsel for the gov-in an action to recover back a license tax imernment that the pleadings are not sufficient to authorize the judgment, but we think that, under the original petition and various amendments thereto, the court was authorized to grant the relief adjudged.
posed on a resident managing agent of a nonresident meat-packing house. Affirmed. See same case below, on first writ of error, 115 Ga. 184, 41 S. E. 680; on second: writ of error, 117 Ga. 969, 44 S. E. 854.
*Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 10,. Cent. Dig. Constitutional Law. § 687.
Statement by Mr. Justice Brown:
This was an action by Kehrer against the tax collector of the county of Fulton to recover back a tax of $200, with interest and costs, paid to Stewart under protest, such tax having been assessed against him under the general tax law of the state, of December 21, 1900, which provided that there should be assessed and collected "upon all agents of packing houses doing business in this state, $200 in each county where said business is carried on." Petitioner charged the law to be a violation of the 14th Amendment.
and until sold were stored and preserved and remained the property of the firm.
1. It was admitted by the supreme court of Georgia, in its opinion, and by both parties hereto, that a tax upon the seller of goods is a tax upon the goods themselves (Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat. 419, 6 L. ed. 678; Welton v. Missouri, 91 U. S. 275, 23 L. ed. 347), and that a tax upon goods sold in another state, delivered to a common carrier, and consigned to the purchaser in the state of Georgia, was an illegal interference with interstate commerce. Caldwell v. Defendant demurred to the petition, and North Carolina, 187 U. S. 622, 47 L. ed. this demurrer being overruled, a writ of er- 336, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 229; Norfolk & W. R. ror was taken from the supreme court, Co. v. Sims, 191 U. S. 441, 48 L. ed. 254, which reversed the judgment of the court be- 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 151; Stone v. State, 117 low in overruling the demurrer. 115 Ga. Ga. 292, 43 S. E. 740. It was therefore 184, 41 S. E. 680. Plaintiff thereupon | held that the tax, so far as applied to meats amended his petition, insisting that the tax denied him due process of law as well as the equal protection of the law, impaired the obligation of his contract with the firm, and was also in conflict with the commerce clause of the Constitution of the United States. The defendant demurred to the amended petition. The court sustained the demurrer and the supreme court affirmed its action. 117 Ga. 969, 44 S. E. 854.
sold in Chicago, and shipped to the petitioner in Georgia for distribution, could not be supported; but that so far as the petitioner was engaged in the business of selling directly to customers in Atlanta, he was engaged in carrying on an independent business as a wholesale dealer, and was liable to the tax. |
This decision was correct. In carrying on the domestic business, petitioner was indistinguishable from the ordinary butcher, who
Mr. Alexander W. Smith for plaintiff slaughters cattle and sells their carcasses,
Nelson Morris & Co., citizens of Illinois, were engaged, in the city of Chicago, in the business of packing meats for sale and consumption, and also had a place of business in Atlanta, Georgia, where they sold their products at wholesale, having in their employ several clerks and helpers, one of whom was the petitioner, who was employed as chief clerk and manager at a salary of $25 per week. The firm did not have any where within the state of Georgia any packing house for slaughtering, dressing, curing, packing, or manufacturing the products of any animals for food or commercial use, but took orders, which were transmitted and filled at Chicago, the meats sent to Atlanta, and there distributed in pursuance of such orders. Certain meats were also shipped from Chicago to Atlanta without a previous sale or contract to sell. These were stored in the Atlanta house of the firm in the original packages, and were kept and held for sale, in the ordinary course of trade, as domestic business. They were offered for sale to such customers as might require them,
and in principle it made no difference that the cattle were slaughtered in Chicago and their carcasses sent to Atlanta for sale and consumption in the ordinary course of trade. Upon arrival there they became a part of the taxable property of the state. It made no difference whence they came and to whom domestic and interstate business were carthey were ultimately sold, or whether the ried on in the same or different buildings. In this particular the case is covered by that of Brown v. Houston, 114 U. S. 622, 29 L. ed. 257, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1091, wherein it was held that coal mined in Pennsylvania and sent by water to New Orleans, to be sold in open market there on account of the owners in Pennsylvania, became intermingled with the general property of the state, and liable to taxation under its laws, although it might have been after arrival sold from the vessel on which the transportation was made, without being landed, and for the purpose of being taken out of the country on a vessel bound to a foreign port. The same principle was applied in Emert v. Missouri, 156 U. S. 296, 39 L. ed. 430, 5 Inters. Com. Rep. 68, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 367, in which a license tax upon peddlers of goods, which made no distinction between residents and products of the state and of those of other states, was sustained. To the same effect is Howe Mach. Co. v. Gage, 100 U. S. 676, 25 L. ed. 754.
So, if the stock of a transportation company be taxed by taking as a basis of assessment such proportion of its capital stock as the number of miles of railroad over which its cars are run within the state bear to the whole number of miles over which its cars are run throughout the United States, such assessment does not impinge upon the power of Congress.
Pullman's Palace Car Co. v. Pennsylvania, 141 U. S. 18, 35 L. ed. 613, 3 Inters. Com. Rep. 595, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 876. The case is still simpler if the tax be imposed in terms upon the domestic commerce seeing that the corporation is free to abandon the business taxed if it sees fit. Pullman Co. v. Adams, 189 U. S. 420, 47 L. ed. 877, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 494; Allen v. Pullman's Palace Car Co. 191 U. S. 171, 48 L. ed. 134, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 39.
The case is readily distinguishable from | 472, 33 L. ed. 409, 2 Inters. Com. Rep. 726, that of Crutcher v. Kentucky, 141 U. S. 47, 10 Sup. Ct. Rep. 161. 35 L. ed. 649, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 851, wherein a state law requiring a license from agencies of foreign express companies was held to be a regulation of interstate commerce, so far as applied to a corporation of another state engaged in interstate business, although as incidental thereto it did some local business by carrying goods from one point to another in the state of Kentucky. The court observed that while the local business was probably quite as much for the accommodation of the people of the state as for the advantage of the company, this did not obviate the objection to the tax; that the regulations as to license and capital stock were imposed as conditions on the companies carrying on the business of interstate commerce, which was manifestly the principal object of its organization. "These regulations are clearly a burden and a restriction The only difficulty in this case arises from upon that commerce. Whether intended as the fact that the tax is laid not in terms upsuch or not, they operate as such. But on the domestic business, nor upon the gross taxes or license fees in good faith imposed receipts or profits which might be apporexclusively on express business carried on tioned between interstate and domestic busiwholly within the state would be open to no ness, but is a gross sum imposed upon the such objection." managing agent of packing houses, regardThe same doctrine was applied to tele-less of the fact that the greater portion of graph companies in Leloup v. Mobile, 127 U. the business may be interstate in its charS. 640, 32 L. ed. 311, 2 Inters. Com. Rep.acter. This contingency, however, is met by 134, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1380, wherein a general the case of Osborne v. Florida, 164 U. S. license tax upon the telegraph company was 650, 41 L. ed. 586, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 214, held to affect its entire business, interstate wherein a license tax imposed upon express as well as domestic or internal, and was un- companies doing business in Florida had constitutional. This case, however, must be been construed by the supreme court of that read in connection with the Postal Teleg. state as applying solely to business of the Cable Co. v. Charleston, 153 U. S. 692, 38 company done within the state, and not to L. ed. 871, 4 Inters. Com. Rep. 637, 14 Sup. its interstate business. Accepting this conCt. Rep. 1094, wherein we held that a license struction of the state statute as in reality tax upon a telegraph company on business part of the statute itself, we held that it did done exclusively within the state, and not not in any way violate the Federal Constiincluding any business done to or from tution. The statute was sustained, notpoints without the state, and not including withstanding the fact that 95 per cent of any business done for the government of the the business was interstate in its character, United States, was an exercise of the police and only 5 per cent consisted of carrying power, and not an interference with inter- goods and freight between points within the state commerce. In line with this case is state of Florida. Crutcher v. Kentucky, 141 that of Ratterman v. Western U. Teleg. Co. U. S. 47, 35 L. ed. 649, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 851, 127 U. S. 411, 32 L. ed. 229, 2 Inters. Com. was distinguished as one which prohibited Rep. 59, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1127, in which a the agent of a foreign express company from percentage tax assessed upon receipts of tel- carrying on business at all in that state egraph companies partly derived from inter- without first obtaining a license from the state commerce and partly from commerce state. Said the court: "It has never been within the state, and which were capable of held, however, that when the business of the separation, but were returncl and assessed company which is wholly within the state is in gross, and without separation or appor- but [not] a mere incident to its interstate tionment, was held invalid in proportion to business, such fact would furnish any obthe extent that such receipts were derived stacle to the valid taxation by the state of from interstate commerce, but valid as ap- the business of the company which is enplied to receipts from messages within the tirely local. So long as the regulation as state. To the same effect is Western U. to the license or taxation does not refer to, Teleg. Co. v. Alabama Bd. of Assessment and is not imposed upon, the business of the (Western U. Teleg. Co. v. Scay), 132 U. S. company which is interstate, there is no in
terference with that commerce by the state statute."
has the right to classify occupations, and to impose different taxes upon different ocSo, in the case under consideration, it was cupations. Such has been constantly the expressly held by the supreme court of practice of Congress under the internal reveGeorgia that that part of the Nelson Morris nue laws. Cook v. Marshall County, 196 U. & Company's business which consisted in S. 261, 275, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 233, 49 L. ed. shipping goods to Atlanta to fill orders pre- 471. What the necessity is for such tax, and viously received, the goods being delivered upon what occupations it shall be imposed, as in accordance with such orders, was inter- well as the amount of the imposition, are exstate commerce, not subject to taxation with-clusively within the control of the state legin the state, and that, so far as applied to islature. So long as there is no discriminathat business, the tax was void. Accepting tion against citizens of other states, the this construction of the supreme court, we amount and necessity of the tax are not think the act, so far as applied to domestic open to criticism here. business, is valid. The record does not show what proportion of such business is interstate and what proportion is domestic, although it is conceded that most of the business is interstate in its character. If the amount of domestic business were purely nominal, as, for instance, if the consignee of a shipment made in Chicago, upon an order filled there, refused the goods shipped, and the only way of disposing of them was by sales at Atlanta, this might be held to be strictly incidental to an interstate business, and in reality a part of it, as we held in Crutcher v. Kentucky, 141 U. S. 47, 35 L. ed. 649, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 851; but if the agent carried on a definite, though a minor, part of his business in the state by the sales of meat there, he would not escape the pay ment of the tax, since the greater or less magnitude of the business cuts no figure in the imposition of the tax. There could be no doubt whatever that, if the agent carried on his interstate and domestic business in two distinct establishments, one would be subject and the other would not be subject to the tax, and in our view it makes no difference that the two branches of business are carried on in the same establishment. burden of proof was clearly upon the plaintiff to show that the domestic business was a mere incident to the interstate business.
2. The act in question does not deny to the petitioner the equal protection of the laws, as the tax is imposed alike upon the managing agent both of domestic and of foreign houses. In its first opinion in this case the supreme court held that the tax was a vocation or occupation tax, and that it was not designed to apply to every agent or employee of the company, but only to the managing or superintending agent, who is the alter ego of the principal by whom he is employed. There is no discrimination in favor of the agents of domestic houses, and, while we may suspect that the act was primarily intended to apply to agents of ultra state houses, there is no discrimination upon the face of the act, and none, so far as the record shows, upon its practical administration. As we have frequently held, the state
3. The argument that the tax impairs the obligation of a contract between the petitioner and Nelson Morris & Company is hardly worthy of serious consideration. The power of taxation overrides any agreement of an employee to serve for a specific sum. His contract remains entirely undisturbed. There was no stipulation for an employment for a definite period; and if there were, it is inconceivable that the state should lose this right of taxation by the fact that the party taxed had entered into an engagement with his employer for a definite period. The tax is an incident to the business, and probably might, under the terms of their contract, be charged up against the employer as one of the necessary expenses of carrying it on.
The judgment of the Supreme Court of Georgia is affirmed.
(197 U. S. 135) UNITED STATES, Petitioner,
MORRIS WHITRIDGE and Richard J.
Duties-value of invoice coin-reliquidation by Secretary of the Treasury.
reliquidation by the Secretary of the Treasury of the entry of imported gunnies at the exchange value of the invoice rupee, which is also its value as a fraction of a pound, where that value differs by more than 10 per cent from the value of the pure metal therein, as proclaimed by him at the beginning of the quarter year, is authorized by the proviso to the act of August 27, 1894 (28 Stat. at L. 509, 552, chap. 349, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 2375), § 25, which empowers him to order the reliquidation of any entry at a different value from that so proclaimed by him, upon satisfactory evidence that the value in United States currency of the foreign money specified in the invoice was, at the date of consular certification of the invoice, at least 10 per cent more or less than the value proclaimed during the quarter.
Argued January 27, 30, 1905. Decided Feb- | that the latter rate should have been taken, ruary 27, 1905.
and directed a reliquidation on that footing. The collector appealed to the circuit court and then to the circuit court of appeals, both of which sustained the board of ap
then obtained a writ of certiorari from this court. The question is whether the Secretary of the Treasury had power to order reliquidation at the rate of 32 cents.
N WRIT of Certiorari to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review a decree which af-praisers. 129 Fed. 33. The United States firmed a decree of the Circuit Court for the District of Maryland, sustaining the decision of the board of general appraisers that the Secretary of the Treasury was not authorized to reliquidate an entry of imported merchandise at the exchange value of the invoice rupee where that differed by 10 per cent from that of the value of the pure metal therein, as proclaimed by him at the beginning of the quarter year. Reversed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.
Messrs. Albert Comstock, William R. Sears, Aldis B. Browne, Howard T. Walden, and Page, McCutcheon, & Knight for respondents.
There is, to be sure, a preliminary question as to the conclusiveness of the Secretary's action under the statute. Technically it does not appear that his decision was not based on a finding as to the metal value of the rupee; that is to say, as to the value on April 19, 1900, in fractions of a gold dollar, of the silver contained in the coin. If the decision were based on such a finding we may assume that it would not be open to review. United States v. Klingenberg, 153 U. S. 93, 38 L. ed. 647, 14 Sup. Ct. Rep. 790. But the greater part, at least, of the argument was made on a different assumption, which, in view of our conclusion, we shall
Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion adopt. We do so the more readily because, of the court:
upon the public and well-known facts, it is not to be supposed that the imagined finding as to the value of silver was made, and the policy of the Treasury Department to adopt the exchange value of rupees was wellknown and publicly declared. It would not be consistent with the honor of the government to take the exchange value and then to cover itself from correction, if it was wrong, by suggesting that it had gone upon a different ground, when that ground could not have been taken by any one knowing the prices of the time. There is another argument for the conclusiveness of the Secretary's action which is so closely connected with the merits that we shall not separate it from our general discussion of the act.
Whitridge, White, & Co., the respondents, on June 18, 1900, imported from India certain gunnies, invoiced in rupees. The invoice contained a certificate from the American consui, dated April 19, 1900, that the exchange value of the rupee at that date was 32 cents, estimated in United States gold dollars. For the purpose of ascertain ing the ad valorem duties under the act of July 24, 1897 (30 Stat. at L. 151, chap. 11, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1663), schedule J., clause 341, in July, 1900, the collector of the port of Baltimore estimated the value of the merchandise at the date of the consular certificate by converting the invoice value into dollars, taking the rupees at 32 cents. The importers entered protest and the col- The power of the Secretary depends on lector reliquidated the entry, taking the the construction of the act of August 27, rupee at 20.7 cents. The Secretary of the 1894 (28 Stat. at L. 509, 552, chap. 349, § Treasury, on June 6, 1901, wrote that satis- 25, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 2375).† It factory evidence had been produced to him is argued for the respondents that the Secrethat the value of the rupee was 32 cents at tary must derive his power from the proviso, the date of the consul's certificate, and di- if from anything, that the value dealt with rected a reliquidation at that rate. The in this section is the same thing throughout, collector of the port reliquidated accordingly and being declared to be that of the pure on June 12, 1901. The importers (respond- metal of the coin in the body of the section, ents) protested, and the matter was sub-must be the same in the proviso, and that mitted to the board of general appraisers in New York. Act of June 10, 1890 (26 Stat. at L. 137, chap. 407, § 14, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1931). The board found that the exchange value of the rupee at the date of certification was 32 cents, but that the metal value was 20.7 cents, as estimated by the Director of the Mint and proclaimed by the Secretary of the Treasury for the quarter year beginning April 1, 1900, and ruled
in the money of account of the United States shall be that of the pure metal of such coin of standard value; and the values of the standard coins in circulation of the various nations of the world shall be estimated quarterly by the Director of the Mint, and be proclaimed by the the passage of this act, and thereafter quarterly Secretary of the Treasury immediately after on the first day of January, April, July, and October in each year. And the values so pro
"That the value of foreign coin as expressed