U.S. Supreme Court
ERIE RY CO v. COM. OF PENNSYLVANIA, 82 U.S. 282 (1872)
82 U.S. 282 (Wall.)
ERIE RAILWAY COMPANY
December Term, 1872
A case, like the preceding one, in error to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff in error, in the present case, was a corporation created by the State of New York, which by acts
of the Pennsylvania legislature of February 16th, 1841, and March 26th, 1846, was authorized to construct its railroad through a portion of Pennsylvania, paying for the privilege the annual sum of $10,000, and being subjected to taxation on so much of its stock as equalled the cost of construction of that part of its road situate in Pennsylvania, in the same manner and at the same rate as other similar property was, or might be, subject.
Under an act of Assembly of the State, of August 25th, 1864, a tax was levied upon freight carried upon that portion of the road situate in Pennsylvania, either taken up within the State and carried out, or received by the company in another State for the sole purpose of being brought within it, and actually so brought. The question now was, whether that act, so far as it taxed such freight, was constitutional. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania had held that it was. The case being brought here, was elaborately and ably argued by Messrs. W. W. McFarland and J. W. Simonton, for the plaintiff in error; and by Mr. Wayne McVeigh, contra, for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Of necessity the arguments were to some extent similar to those meant to be reported in the preceding case; but on both sides they were presented with fresh aspects, and with varied illustrations.
Mr. Justice STRONG gave the judgment of the court.
He stated briefly that the question presented in the case was the same which the court had considered and answered in the preceding one; and that for the reasons given in the opinion of the court there, the act, so far as it taxed the sort of freight above mentioned, was to be held unconstitutional. As in the preceding case, therefore, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was reversed, and the record remitted for further proceedings in conformity with the opinion of this court.
Full Text of Opinion