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Encyclopedia > McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued February 22, 1819
Decided March 6, 1819
Full case name: James McCulloch v. The State of Maryland, John James
Citations: 17 U.S. 316; 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316; 4 L. Ed. 579; 1819 U.S. LEXIS 320; 4 A.F.T.R. (P-H) 4491; 4 Wheat. 316; 42 Cont. Cas. Fed. (CCH) P77,296
Prior history: Judgment for John James, Baltimore County Court; affirmed, Maryland Court of Appeals
Subsequent history: None
Holding
Although the Constitution does not specifically give Congress the power to establish a bank, it does delegate the ability to tax and spend, and a bank is a proper and suitable instrument to assist the operations of the government in the collection and disbursement of the revenue. Because federal laws have supremacy over state laws, Maryland had no power to interfere with the bank's operation by taxing it. Maryland Court of Appeals reversed.
Court membership
Chief Justice: John Marshall
Associate Justices: Bushrod Washington, William Johnson, Henry Brockholst Livingston, Thomas Todd, Gabriel Duvall, Joseph Story
Case opinions
Majority by: Marshall
Joined by: unanimous
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 1, 18

McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision. Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Party State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. ... External link Biography from the OYEZ Project Categories: People stubs | 1762 births | 1829 deaths | U.S. Supreme Court justices ... Categories: People stubs | U.S. Supreme Court justices | 1771 births | 1834 deaths ... Henry Brockholst Livingston (25 November 1757 - 18 March 1823) was an American jurist and a native of New York City. ... Categories: People stubs | U.S. Supreme Court justices | 1765 births | 1826 deaths ... Gabriel Duval (1752 - 1844) was a U.S. jurist. ... American jurist Joseph Story Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 - September 10, 1845), American jurist, was born at Marblehead, Massachusetts. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of the United States of America Page one of the original copy of the Constitution. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Article One of the United States Constitution Article One of the United States Constitution states the establishment of the legislative branch of the United States government, known as Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Party State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body...


In this case, the state of Maryland attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland. Though the law, by its language, was generally applicable, the U.S. Bank was the only out-of-state bank then existing in Maryland, and the law is generally recognized as specifically targeting the U.S. Bank. The Court invoked the Elastic Clause in the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution's list of express powers as long as those laws are in useful furtherance of the express powers. Official language(s) None (English, de facto) Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Area  Ranked 42nd  - Total 12,417 sq mi (32,160 km²)  - Width 90 miles (145 km)  - Length 249 miles (400 km)  - % water 21  - Latitude 37°53N to 39°43N  - Longitude 75°4W to 79°33... The Second Bank of the United States was a bank chartered in 1816, five years after the expiration of the First Bank of the United States. ... A tax is a financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state (for example, tribes, secessionist movements or revolutionary movements). ... The necessary and proper clause (also known as the elastic clause) refers to Section 8 of Article One of the United States Constitution: To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the...



This fundamental case established the following two principles:

  1. that the Constitution grants to Congress implied powers for implementing the Constitution's express powers, in order to create a functional national government, and
  2. that state action may not impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the Federal government.

The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Marshall, a man whose many judicial opinions have shaped modern constitutional law. The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of the United States. ... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. ... Constitutional law is the study of foundational or basic laws of nation states and other political organizations. ...

Contents

Background

The dispute that led to McCulloch began in 1790 between Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who favored congressional authority to create a Bank of the United States, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Madison, a member of the House of Representatives, who claimed Congress had no constitutional authority to create the bank, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph, who opposed. Despite the resistance, Congress created the First Bank of the United States in 1791. The bank existed until 1811, when the charter expired. However, the bank was re-instituted as the Second Bank of the United States in 1816 to resolve the serious economic problems of the country. The economic troubles continued, however, and many states opposed the bank because it called for loans owed by the states. The State of Maryland retaliated by creating a law to impose a $15,000 ($229,000 in 2006 dollars) tax on any bank not chartered by the state. The U.S. Bank, the only bank operating in Maryland that was not chartered by the state, refused to pay the taxes and Maryland, represented by Maryland Attorney General Luther Martin, filed suit against James McCulloch, the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the Bank of the United States. Year 1790 (MDCCXC) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... The United States Secretary of the Treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, concerned with finance and monetary matters, and, until 2003, some issues of national security and defense. ... Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757–July 12, 1804) was an Army officer, lawyer, Founding Father, American politician, leading statesman, financier and political theorist. ... Seal of the United States Department of State. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Seal of the United States Department of Justice The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice (see 28 U.S.C. Â§ 503) concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... Edmund Jennings Randolph (August 10, 1753 – September 12, 1813) was an American attorney, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General. ... Type Bicameralism Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D, since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... Bank facade This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... 1791 (MDCCXCI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 11-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The Second Bank of the United States was a bank chartered in 1816, five years after the expiration of the First Bank of the United States. ... 1816 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Contrarian Founding Father Luther Martin Luther Martin (February 9, 1748–July 8, 1826) was a politician and one of United States Founding Fathers, but refused to sign the Constitution because he felt it violated states rights. ... Nickname: Monument City, Charm City, Mob Town[1][2], B-more Motto: The Greatest City in America,[3] Get in on it. ...


The State courts upheld the Maryland law and ruled in the state's favor. The case was appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals where the state of Maryland argued that "the Constitution is silent on the subject of banks." It was Maryland's contention that because the Constitution did not specifically state that the Federal Government was authorized to charter a bank, the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional. The court upheld Maryland. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court. A federal government is the common government of a federation. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into constitutionality. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Party State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body...


Supreme Court decision

The court determined that Congress had the power to charter the bank. Chief Justice Marshall supported this conclusion with three main arguments.


1. The Court argued that the Constitution was a social contract created by the people via the Constitutional Convention. The government proceeds from the people and binds the state sovereignties. Therefore, the federal government is supreme, based on the consent of the people. Marshall declares the federal government’s overarching supremacy in his statement: This article discusses the history of the United States Constitution. ...

If any one proposition could command the universal assent of mankind, we might expect it would be this– that the government of the Union, though limited in its power, is supreme within its sphere of action.

2. Congress is bound to act under explicit or implied powers of the Constitution. Pragmatically, if all of the means for implementing the explicit powers were listed, then we would not be able to understand or embrace the document; it would not be possible to write them all down in a brief document. Although the term "bank" is not included, there are express powers in the Taxing and Spending Clause. Although not explicitly stated, Congress has the implied power to create the bank in order to implement the express powers. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, known as the Taxing and Spending Clause states: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States...


3. Marshall supported the Court's opinion textually using the Necessary and Proper Clause, which permits Congress to seek an objective that is within the enumerated powers as long as it is rationally related to the objective and not forbidden by the Constitution. Marshall rejected Maryland's narrow interpretation of the clause, because many of the enumerated powers would be useless. Marshall noted that the Necessary and Proper Clause is listed within the powers of Congress, not the limitations. The necessary and proper clause (also known as the elastic clause) refers to Section 8 of Article One of the United States Constitution: To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the...


For those reasons, the word "necessary" does not refer to the only way of doing something, but rather applies to various procedures for implementing all constitutionally established powers. Marshall wrote:

Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.

This principle had been established many years earlier by Alexander Hamilton:[1]

[A] criterion of what is constitutional, and of what is not so.... is the end, to which the measure relates as a mean. If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any particular provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority. There is also this further criterion which may materially assist the decision: Does the proposed measure abridge a pre-existing right of any State, or of any individual? If it does not, there is a strong presumption in favour of its constitutionality....

Chief Justice Marshall also determined that Maryland may not tax the bank without violating the Constitution. The Supremacy Clause dictates that State laws comply with the Constitution and succumb when there is a conflict. Taking as undeniable the fact that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy", the court concluded that the Maryland tax could not be levied against the government. If states were allowed to continue their acts, they would destroy the institution created by federal government and oppose the principle of federal supremacy which originated in the text of the Constitution. Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause: The Supremacy Clause establishes the Constitution, Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as the supreme law of the land. ...


The Court held that Maryland violated the Constitution by taxing the bank, and therefore voided that tax. The opinion stated that Congress has implied powers that need to be related to the text of the Constitution, but need not be enumerated within the text. This case was an essential element in the formation of a balance between federalism, federal power, and states' powers. Political federalism is a political philosophy in which a group or body of members are bound together (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. ... States rights refers to the idea that U.S. states possess certain rights and political powers in the politics of the United States and constitutional law. ...


Chief Justice Marshall also explained in this case that the Necessary and Proper Clause does not require that all federal laws be necessary and proper. Federal laws that are enacted directly pursuant to one of the express enumerated powers need not comply with the Necessary and Proper Clause. As Marshall put it, this Clause "purport[s] to enlarge, not to diminish the powers vested in the government. It purports to be an additional power, not a restriction on those already granted."


References

  • Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer Of A Nation, New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1996.
  • Jean Edward Smith, The Constitution And American Foreign Policy, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1989.

Jean Edward Smith is an accomplished educator and biographer having authored such works as Grant, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation, and Presently he is the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University. ... Jean Edward Smith is an accomplished educator and biographer having authored such works as Grant, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation, and Presently he is the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University. ...

External links

  • McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) (full text with links to cited material)
  • Full text of the decision courtesy of Findlaw.com
  • Minutes from the court's discussion of the case (image of original handwritten minutes)

 
 

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