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United States v. Bennett (232 U.S. 299)


Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

232 U.S. 299

United States  v.  Bennett (232 U.S. 299)

 Argued: January 6 and 7, 1914. --- Decided: February 24, 1914

ON A CERTIFICATE from the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit presenting the following questions:

I. Does the tax purporting to be imposed by § 37 of the act of Congress, approved August 5, 1909, apply to the use of a foreign-built yacht owned by a citizen of the United States, when such yacht, for a period of more than one year prior to September 1, 1909, and to the levy of such tax, was used wholly outside of the limits and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Answered in the affirmative.

II. Did the tax purporting to be imposed by said act of Congress operate retrospectively, so as to be payable on September 1, 1909, in respect of the year then ended, or only prospectively, so as to become first due and payable on September 1, 1910? Answered in the affirmative.

III. Did the whole amount of the tax purporting to be imposed by said act of Congress become due and payable on September 1, 1909, or only such proportion thereof as the time during which the act was in force at that date bears to the whole year? Answered in the affirmative; the whole tax.

IV. Has Congress the power to levy a tax upon the use by a citizen of the United States of a yacht which is not actually, and since the year 1904 was not at any time, used within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and which has its permanent situs in a foreign country? Answered in the affirmative.

V. Does said act of Congress, by purporting to impose a tax upon the use of foreign-built yachts alone, provide a valid tax, or a valid classification for purposes of taxation, within the power to lay and collect taxes delegated to Congress by the Constitution of the United States? Answered in the affirmative.

VI. Is the tax purporting to be imposed by said act of Congress in conflict with the requirement of due process of law contained in the 5th article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States? Answered in the negative.

VII. Is the United States entitled to recover interest upon the tax imposed upon the use of foreign-built yachts in and by § 37 of the tariff act of August 5, 1909? Answered in the affirmative.

Assistant Attorney General Adkins and Mr. Karl W. Kirchwey for the United States.

Mr. William D. Guthrie for James Gordon Bennett.

Mr. Chief Justice White delivered the opinion of the court:

NotesEdit

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).