McCray v. United States

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McCRAY V. UNITED STATES (1904), 195 U.S. 27. In this 6 to 3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned Congress's use of its taxing power for purposes of economic regulation. It upheld a prohibitive tax on artificially colored oleomargarine despite challenges based on the Article 1 tax clause, the Fifth Amendment's due process and takings clauses, and the Tenth Amendment. Justice Edward D. White held that Congress could tax for regulatory as well as for revenue purposes. Together with Champion v. Ames (1903), also known as the Lottery Case, McCray sustained what is sometimes called a "national police power." The court narrowed McCray's permissive reach in the Child Labor Tax Case (1922).


Gordon, David. "McCray v. United States." In Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Edited by Leonard W. Levy. Volume 3. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

William M. Wiecek

See also Child Labor Tax Case ; Taxation .

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McCray v. United States

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