HEISLER V. THOMAS COLLIERY CO., 260 U. S. 245 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Heisler v. Thomas Colliery Co., 260 U.S. 245 (1922)

Heisler v. Thomas Colliery Company

No. 541

Argued November 14, 15, 1922

Decided November 27, 1922

260 U.S. 245


1. In view of the differences between anthracite and bituminous coals in properties and uses, a Pennsylvania tax is not unreasonable

Page 260 U. S. 246

and arbitrary because levied on the one but not on the other, and is therefore unobjectionable under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 260 U. S. 254.

2. The commercial competition between these two products is not a sufficient reason against classifying them separately for taxation purposes. P. 260 U. S. 257.

3. The fact that useful products are obtained from bituminous coal which are not produced from anthracite serves to justify the state policy of favoring the former in taxation. P. 260 U. S. 257.

4. Whether a statute or action of a state impinges on interstate commerce depends upon the statute or action, and not upon what was said about it or the motive that impelled it. P. 260 U. S. 258.

So held where it was argued that anthracite, being virtually confined in production to Pennsylvania but largely consumed by the necessities of other states, the tax law in question was advocated by the Pennsylvania Governor as a means of levying tribute on the other state consumption.

5. A state act regulating interstate commerce is invalid whatever the degree of interference. P. 260 U. S. 259.

6. The Pennsylvania tax on anthracite when prepared and "ready for shipment or market," as applied to coal destined to have a market in other states but not as yet moved from the place of production or preparation, is not an interference with interstate commerce. P. 260 U. S. 259. Coe v. Errol, 116 U. S. 517.

7. The fact that the statute imposes the tax when the coal "is ready for shipment or market" does not prove it an intentional fraud on the commerce clause. P. 260 U. S. 261.

274 Pa.St. 448 affirmed.

Error to a decree of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirming a decree of a lower court which dismissed a bill brought by Heisler, as a stockholder, to enjoin the Colliery Company and its trustees from paying a state tax and defendant state officials from enforcing it.

Page 260 U. S. 253

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