CARLEY & HAMILTON, INC. V. SNOOK, 281 U. S. 66 (1930)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Carley & Hamilton, Inc. v. Snook, 281 U.S. 66 (1930)

Carley & Hamilton, Inc. v. Snook

Nos. 86 and 267

Submitted January 9, 1930

Decided February 24, 1930

281 U.S. 66


1. Fees exacted by the California Motor Vehicle Act for the registration of specified classes of motor vehicles used for intrastate transportation of passengers for hire and of property, the revenue from which fees is applied by the Act to the support of the State Division of Motor Vehicles and to the construction and maintenance of public roads, held exactions made in the exercise of the state taxing power for the privilege of operating such vehicles over public highways, expended for state purposes, and not in conflict with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 281 U. S. 71.

2. There is nothing in the federal Constitution which requires a state to apply such fees for the benefit of those who pay them. P. 281 U. S. 72.

3. The proposition that, although the fees are not per se disproportionate to the privilege of operating over all the highways of the state, owners are entitled to licenses limiting the operation of their motor vehicles to a few highways which they wish to use (e.g., to streets in particular cities) upon payment of correspondingly reduced fees, is not supported by any constitutional principle. P. 281 U. S. 72.

Page 519 U. S. 67

4. Owners of motor vehicles operated wholly or principally within the limits of California cities may not escape payment of the registration fees exacted by the Motor Vehicle Act upon the round that they already pay the fees imposed by the cities, since the imposition of two taxes by different state statutes upon the same subject matter does not transgress the due process clause if the imposition of the total tax by a single statute would not do so. P. 281 U. S. 72.

5. The California Motor Vehicle Act, in imposing graduated registration fees on described classes of motor vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for hire or of property, exempts vehicles weighing, when unladen, less than 3,000 lbs. Held not violative of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or of the similar provision of § 21, Art. I, of the California Constitution. 281 U. S. 72.

6. The legislature may graduate such fees according to the propensities of the vehicles to injure the public highways, and may exempt those with respect to which it finds this tendency to be slight or nonexistent. P. 281 U. S. 73.

7. These registration fees are not "tolls" within the meaning of § 9 of the federal Highway Act, providing "that all highways constructed or reconstructed under the provisions of this Act shall be free from tolls of all kinds." P. 281 U. S. 73.


Appeals from decrees of the district court of three judges dissolving temporary injunctions and dismissing the bills in two suits against California officials, to enjoin them from enforcing provisions cf the state Motor Vehicle Act with respect to the imposition and collection of certain registration fees for motor vehicles.

Page 519 U. S. 68

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