Passenger Cases 7 Howard 283 (1849)

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PASSENGER CASES 7 Howard 283 (1849)

Two states imposed a tax on the masters of vessels for each alien passenger they landed in the country. By a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court held the state acts unconstitutional. Each of the Justices in the majority wrote an opinion, and none spoke for the Court. Three of the four dissenters wrote opinions. The report of the cases takes 290 pages and reflects chaos in judicial interpretation. The Justices squabbled about concurrent powers, and the commerce clause in relation to the police power, but they settled nothing doctrinally.

Leonard W. Levy