Binns v. United States

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United States Supreme Court

194 U.S. 486

Binns  v.  United States

 Argued: April 6, 1904. --- Decided: May 31, 1904

Section 460 of title II. of the Alaska Penal Code (act of March 3, 1899, 30 Stat. at L. 1253, 1337, chap. 429), as amended by the act of June 6, 1900, entitled 'An Act Making Further Provision for a Civil Government for Alaska, and for Other Purposes' (31 Stat. at L. 321, 330, chap. 786), reads 'that any person or persons, corporation or company prosecuting or attempting to prosecute any of the following lines of business within the district of Alaska shall first apply for and obtain license so to do from a district court or a subdivision thereof in said district, and pay for said license for the respective lines of business and trade, as follows, to wit: . . . Transfer companies, fifty dollars per annum.'

Section 461 provides: 'That any person, corporation, or company doing or attempting to do business in violation of the provisions of the foregoing section, or without having first paid the license therein required, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor,' etc.

Section 463: 'That the licenses provided for in this act shall be issued by the clerk of the district court or any subdivision thereof . . . duly made and entered: . . . Provided, That . . . all moneys received for licenses by him . . . under this act shall, except as otherwise provided by law, be covered into the Treasury of the United States, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe.'

Under this statute, plaintiff in error was prosecuted and convicted in the district court for the district of Alaska, second division. This conviction has been brought to this court on writ of error, and the question presented is whether the statute is in conflict with § 8 of article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which reads: 'The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.' Messrs. J. C. Campbell and W. H. Metson for plaintiff in error.

Assistant Attorney General Purdy for defendant in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 488-490 intentionally omitted]

Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court:


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).