AMERICAN STEEL & WIRE CO. V. SPEED, 192 U. S. 500 (1904)

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U.S. Supreme Court

American Steel & Wire Co. v. Speed, 192 U.S. 500 (1904)

American Steel & Wire Company v. Speed

No. 3566

Submitted January 11, 1904

Decided February 23, 1904

192 U.S. 500


In a constitutional sense, "imports" embrace only goods brought from a foreign country, and do not include merchandise shipped from one state to another. The several states are not, therefore, controlled as to such merchandise by constitutional prohibitions against the taxation of imports, and goods brought from another state, and not from a foreign country, are subject to state taxation after reaching their destination and whilst held in the state for sale.

Woodruff v. Parham, 8 Wall. 123, Brown v. Houston, 114 U. S. 622, have never been overruled directly or indirectly by Leisy v. Hardin, 135 U. S. 100; Lyng v. Michigan, 135 U. S. 161, or other cases resting on the rule expounded in those cases.

Goods brought in original packages from another state, after they have arrived at their destination and are at rest within the state, and are enjoying the protection which the laws of the state afford, may, without violating the commerce clause of the Constitution, be taxed without discrimination like other property within the state, although at the time they are stored at a distributing point from which they are subsequently

Page 192 U. S. 501

to be delivered in the same packages, through the storage company to purchasers in various states.

Where the levy of a merchant's privilege tax violates no federal right, the mere determination of who are merchants within the state law involves no federal question. The construction of the state law is conclusive, and

if it embraces all persons doing a like business there is no discrimination.

The facts are stated in the opinion of court.

Page 192 U. S. 508

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