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MuCulloch v. Maryland Case Brief

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					MuCulloch v. Maryland 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 136 (1819)
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This case is an example of the doctrine of implied powers in the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution's list of enumerated powers as long as they are in useful furtherance of those powers.
McCulloch was the 'cashier' of the Bank of the United States. Maryland levied a tax on the bank. McCulloch refused to pay. Maryland sued in Maryland State Court and unsurprisingly won. The case was appealed to the US Supreme Court. o Maryland was taxing the Federal Bank, but not the Maryland State Bank. US Supreme Court found: o One question was whether the US Federal Government had the right to own a bank at all. Supreme Court found that there is tradition for such an institution, so the answer is yes. Plus, it wasn't secret, the bill creating the bank was debated in the legislature and Maryland is represented there. o The Constitution was ratified by people not States. So therefore it is the will of the people, and not something States have the option of agreeing or disagreeing with. The power to create a bank rests with the people, not the State of Maryland. o The Constitution and the Federal Government, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action. When doing what the Constitution says it can do, the Federal Government overrides the State governments, and no State can control it.  Residents of a State cannot vote for the legislatures of other States, therefore, they cannot be taxed by those other States. In a similar manner, the State of Maryland cannot tax a Federal Institution because it is instrument of all Americans. (The whole can operate on a part, but a part cannot operate on the whole)
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Although there is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly states that the Federal Government can create a bank, there is nothing that says it can't!  The Article of Confederation specifically limited Federal powers to what was explicitly stated. The Constitution does not have that clause.  Marshall argues that if a Constitution did explicitly contain everything it is meant to do, it would be far too long to ever read.  The Constitution says nothing about owning a bank, but it does explicitly talk about raising money and regulating commerce. Obviously you can't do those things if you don't own a bank. The Constitution says that Congress can make all laws necessary and proper to enforcing the Constitution.  Necessary means things that the government must do.  Proper means things that are within the Constitution's power to do. The Supreme Court significantly expanded the powers of the Legislature with this case. "Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and the spirit of the Constitution."  Compare this to Marbury v. Madison which expanded the power of the Judiciary. When a State imposes a tax on a National Institution, it removes the protections against oppressive taxation. Nowhere in the text of the Constitution does it say that a State cannot tax a Federal Instrumentality. The Court said that if you need to raise revenue, you could tax the property the bank was on, but, you would have to tax all banks at the same rate. If it is uniformly imposed on everyone in the jurisdiction, then it is fair because residents of that jurisdiction have a reason to keep it fair.


				
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