Department Of Revenue Of Oregon v. Acf Industries, Inc.

PETITIONER: Department Of Revenue Of Oregon
RESPONDENT: Acf Industries, Inc., et al.
LOCATION: Charleston Naval Base

DOCKET NO.: 92-74
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1993-1994)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 510 US 332 (1994)
ARGUED: Nov 08, 1993
DECIDED: Jan 24, 1994

ADVOCATES:
Carter G. Phillips - on behalf of the Respondents
Kent L. Jones - as amicus curiae in support of the Petitioner
Richard A. Malm - for the Railway Progress Institute et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance
Thomas W. Andrews - for the Railway Progress Institute et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance
Virginia L. Linder - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Department Of Revenue Of Oregon v. Acf Industries, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 08, 1993 in Department Of Revenue Of Oregon v. Acf Industries, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 24, 1994 in Department Of Revenue Of Oregon v. Acf Industries, Inc.

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 92-74 Department of Revenue of Oregon versus ACF Industries will be announced by Justice Kennedy.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Oregon imposes an ad valorem tax upon all real and personal property within its jurisdiction except property granted an express exception and there are various classes of business personal property that are exempt.

The respondents in these case are called the Carlines and there are eight companies at least railroad cars to railroad and shippers.

Now, the railroad cars are not exempt in taxation in Oregon and the Carlines brought claim that this differential exemption scheme voilates the federal statute and that statute prohibits certain taxes against railroad property.

It is called the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, otherwise known as the 4-R Act.

The question presented is whether Congress violated the 4-R Act by imposing an ad valorem tax upon railroad property while exempting various other but not all classes of commercial and industrial property.

In an opinion for the Court of some 14 pages now we attempt in detial to examine the structure and the wording to the statute to resolve the issue presented.

Now, that analysis would be somewhat insidious to explain on the bench even in a brief statement.

Suffice it to say that our holding rejects the challenge to the taxation scheme.

The exemptions Oregon granted did not discriminate its railroad property within the meaning relevant statutory sections.

We are confident that had congress to limit.

The power of the State to exempt non-railroad property from a general property tax scheme it would have spoken with precision and clarity in order to do so.

We do not find that intent to the stature.

We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justine Steven has filed a dissenting opinion.