Board of Trustees of University of Illinois v. United States

PETITIONER: Board of Trustees of University of Illinois
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 538
DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1932-1937)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Feb 17, 1933
DECIDED: Mar 20, 1933

Facts of the case

The University of Illinois imported scientific equipment for educational user and, under protest, was required to pay tariffs on the equipment under the Tariff Act of 1922. Arguing that the tariff was a tax that the university, as an institution serving an instrumentality of a state, should be exempt from paying, the university challenged the tariff before the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. The court rejected the claim, asserting that the act was an exercise of Congress' authority to regulate commerce under Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, rather than a tax.

Question

Should the University of Illinois be required to pay tariffs required by the Tariff Act of 1922 on equipment it imports for educational purposes?