Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company v. Philadelphia
Messrs. John F. Dillon, H. B. Gill, Silas W. Pettit, George H. Fearons, Rush Taggart, Henry D. Estabrook, and Messrs. Brown & Wells for plaintiff in error.
Messrs. John L. Kinsey and James Alcorn for defendant in error.
Statement by Mr. Justice Brewer:
This action was commenced in the common pleas court of Philadelphia on December 31, 1891, to recover the sum of $3,715 as license fees alleged to be due the city for the six preceding years. The case was removed by the defendant to the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. A trial was had before the court and a jury, which resulted in a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff for a part of the sum claimed, which judgment was thereafter reversed by the circuit court of appeals. A second trial was had in April, 1901, before the court and a jury, which resulted in a verdict and judgment for the full amount claimed, with interest. From such judgment the case was brought to this court directly on writ of error, on the ground that it involved the construction and application of the Constitution of the United States; that the action was brought to recover from the telegraph company certain license charges imposed by the city which the company claimed the city had no right or power to impose, for the reason that it was a regulation of commerce between the states.
Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court: