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Sec. 7.-Bills and Resolutions
Cl. 3.- Veto of Resolutions
Constitution requires of him as the evidence of his approval, and upon his
Approval of Bills after Adjournment or During Recess
A bill signed by the President while Congress is in recess for a fixed time is not invalid. La Abra Mining Co. v. U. S. (175 U. S. 453), in which the court said:
As the Constitution, while authorizing the President to perform certain functions of a limited number that are legislative in their general nature, does not restrict the exercise of those functions to the particular days on which the two Houses of Congress are actually sitting in the transaction of public business, the court cannot impose such a restriction upon the Executive.
Approval by the President of Constitutional Amendments
It was held in Hollingsworth v. Virginia (3 Dall. 378) that an amendment to the Constitution need not be presented to the President for his approval.
Of General Application
As of general interest and application to Section 7 of Article I of the Constitution, see
Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168.
Section 8.-POWERS OF CONGRESS.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
* See also Amendment 16, “ Income tax," p. 745.
Sec. 8.—Powers of Congress
In what is considered one of the leading cases under this clause, the court said:
Of all the powers conferred upon government that of taxation is must liable to abuse. Given a purpose or object for which taxation may be lawfully used, and the extent of its exercise is in its very nature unlimited. It is true that express limitation on the amount of tax to be levied or the things to be taxed may be imposed by constitution or statute, but in most instances for which taxes are levied, as the support of government, the prosecution of war, the national defense, any limitation is unsafe. The entire resources of the people should in some instances be at the disposal of the government. The power to tax is, therefore, the strongest, the most pervading of all the powers of government, reaching directly or indirectly to all classes of the people.
Loan Association v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 663.
In McCulloch v. Maryland (4 Wheat. 316), involving the power of Congress to charter a bank, and the question of whether the legislature of Maryland could pass a law taxing a branch of the bank located within the State without violating the Federal Constitution, the court held that the States have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the General Government; that the States were not deprived of resources which they originally possessed; that they could lay a tax upon the real property of the bank, in common with other real property within the State; that they could also impose a tax on the interest which the citizens of Maryland might hold in the bank in common with other property of the same description throughout the State; but that a State has no power to tax an agency of the General Government, for “the power to tax involves the power to destroy."
(For an exhaustive and philosophical discussion of the principle on which the right of taxation is founded, see President Monroe's message to Congress of May 4, 1822.)
Sec. 8.—Powers of Congress
General Power of Taxation
The general power is given to Congress to lay and collect taxes of every kind and nature without any restraint, except on exports; but two rules are prescribed for their government, namely, uniformity and apportionment—duties, imposts, and excises by the first rule and capitation or other direct taxes by the second rule.
Hylton 1. U. S., 3 Dall. 174.
Construction of Grant
The words in a grant of power are to be taken in their natural and obvious sense, keeping always in view the objects for which the Constitution was made, and when the general purpose of the grant is ascertained, the language is to be construed, as far as possible, as subservient to that purpose. The powers granted to Congress are to be exercised with discretion, but the existence of a power can not be denied merely because it may be abused in its exercise; nor should it be presumed that abuses will take place, nor does the question of power depend upon the degree to which it may be exercised. The fact that compliance with the Constitution will lead to the abandonment of a certain recognized mode of taxation can not influence the determination of a question of power.
Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. 304.
Definition of Taxes
A tax is a rate or sum of money assessed on the person or property of a citizen by the Government for the use of the Nation or State; a charge for the support of Government, to raise money for public purposes. The obligation to pay taxes rests, not upon the privileges enjoyed or the protection given to a citizen, but upon the necessity of money for the support of Government, but the citizen receives compensation therefor in privileges and protection. A tax is not a toll; a tax is a demand of sovereignty, while a toll is a demand of proprietorship.
Loan Assn. v. Topeka, 20 Wall. 664.
Sec. 8.- Powers of Congress
County of Mobile v. Kimball, 102 U. S. 703.
Duties, Imposts, and Excises
The Constitution uses “duties, imposts, and excises" in a natural sense and in antithesis to “ direct taxes.” “ Duties” and “imposts” are synonymous terms, and are both definable as a tax levied upon articles imported from foreign countries, while an excise is an inland tax generally imposed upon manufactures, but sometimes upon consumption and upon retail sales. cise" is not to be confused with “license.”
Pollock v. Farmers Loan, etc., Co., 158 U. S. 619.
Spreckels Sugar Ref. Co. v. McClain, 192 U. S. 397.
Thomas v. U. S., 192 U. S. 370.
U. S. v. Singer, 15 Wall. 111.
LaBelle Iron Works v. U. S., 256 U, S. 392. 12703°—S. Doc. 157, 68-1-9
Sec. 8.-Powers of Congress
Death Duties, Estate Taxes, and Succession Taxes.
The estate tax imposed by the revenue act of 1918 (40 Stat. 1096) is not a succession tax upon the benefits received by devisees and legatees, but an excise or death duty upon the transfer of the decedent's estate.
Y. M. C. A. v. Davis, 264 U, S. 47.
Want of Due Process of Law
While undoubtedly both the fifth and tenth amendments qualify, in so far as they are applicable, all the provisions of the Constitution, nothing in those amendments operates to take away any grant of power upon Congress to lay taxes. The right of Congress to tax, within its delegated power, being unrestrained, except as limited by the Constitution, it is within the authority conferred upon Congress to select the objects upon which the excise should be laid. It therefore follows that in exerting its power no want of due process of law can possibly result.
McCray v. U. S., 195 U. S. 61.
U. S. v. Bennett, 232 U. S. 299.
In U. S. v. Tobacco (103 Fed. 455) it was said that “the Constitution confers the power upon Congress to lay and collect taxes, but leaves it to the wisdom of Congress to prescribe the mode, manner, and means of levying and collecting the same.”
Passavant v. U. S., 148 U. S. 214.
The State has power, so long as it does not trench upon the