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U.S. Supreme Court

Helson and Randolph v. Kentucky, 279 U.S. 245 (1929)

Helson and Randolph v. Kentucky

No. 296

Argued February 27, 28, 1929

Decided April 8, 1929

279 U.S. 245


1. The regulation of interstate and foreign commerce is within the exclusive control of Congress, and state legislation which directly burdens such commerce, by taxation or otherwise, is invalid. P. 279 U. S. 248.

2. Transportation by ferry from one state to another is interstate commerce, and within the protection of the commerce clause. P. 279 U. S. 249.

3. The power vested in Congress to regulate commerce embraces within its control all the instrumentalities by which that commerce may be carried on. P. 279 U. S. 249.

4. A state cannot lay a tax on interstate commerce in any form, whether by way of duties laid on the transportation of the subjects of that commerce, or on the receipts derived from that transportation, or on the occupation or business of carrying it on. P. 279 U. S. 249.

5. While a state has power to tax property having a situs within its limits, whether employed in interstate commerce or not, it cannot interfere with interstate commerce through the imposition of a tax which is, in effect, a tax for the privilege of transacting such commerce. P. 279 U. S. 249.

6. A state statute imposing a tax upon the use of gasoline, insofar as it affects gasoline purchased outside the state for use as fuel upon a ferry engaged in interstate commerce, is in effect a tax upon an instrumentality of commerce, in contravention of the commerce clause of the Constitution, notwithstanding that the tax is confined to such only of the gasoline as is used within the limits of the state. P. 279 U. S. 252.

225 Ky. 45 reversed.

Error to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky to review a judgment upholding against plaintiffs in error, a ferry company engaged in interstate commerce, the constitutionality of a statute of Kentucky which imposed a tax upon the use of gasoline. chanrobles.com-red

Page 279 U. S. 247