DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Ellsworth Court (1796-1798)
ARGUED: Feb 23, 1796 / Feb 24, 1796 / Feb 25, 1796
DECIDED: Mar 08, 1796
Facts of the case
In 1794, Congress enacted a law entitled “An act to lay duties upon carriages for the conveyance of persons.” The law assessed a tax of sixteen dollars on each carriage owned by an individual or business. Hylton viewed the law as a direct tax in violation of the constitutional requirement that taxes passed by Congress must be apportioned, that is, laid according to the population and the number of representatives from each state.
Did Congress violate the Constitution and go beyond its taxing and spending powers in implementing the tax on carriages?