United States v. Jahn
August 15, 1890, G. A. Jahn & Co. imported into New York some casks of molasses, which on the 28th of that month they withdrew from warehouse, and exported to Montreal for the benefit of the drawback. Upon such withdrawal and exportation, the collector of customs at New York exacted a charge of 10 cents per cask for gauging the molasses under the provisions of section 3023 of the Revised Statutes. The importers protested against the charge for gauging, claiming that it had been abolished by the twenty-second section of the act entitled 'An act to simplify the laws in relation to the collection of the revenue,' approved June 10, 1890 (26 Stat. 131, 140, c. 407).
The matter was duly taken before the board of general appraisers, which sustained the action of the collector, and the importers appealed to the circuit court of the United States for the Southern district of New York. The circuit court reversed the decision of the board of general appraisers, and held that the gauging charge exacted by the coltector had been abolished. Thereupon the United States appealed to the circuit court of appeals, and assigned for error that the circuit court erred in reversing the decision of the board of general appraisers, for the reason that the decision of the board was final and conclusive, and that the circuit court had no jurisdiction to make any decree or order in said proceeding. The jurisdiction of the circuit court was first challenged upon the appeal. The circuit court of appeals certified to this court the question: 'Whether the United States circuit court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the questions of law and of fact involved in said decision of the board of general appraisers.'
Sol. Gen. Maxwell, for the United States.
Edwin B. Smith, for defendants.
Mr. Chief Justice FULLER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.