United States v. Goldenberg
168 U.S. 95 (1897)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Goldenberg, 168 U.S. 95 (1897)

United States v. Goldenberg

No. 85

Argued and submitted October 14, 1897

Decided October 26, 1897

168 U.S. 95

Syllabus

Where imported foreign goods are entered at a custom house for consumption, the payment by the importer of the full amount of duties ascertained to be due upon the liquidation of the entry of the merchandise, as well as the giving notice of dissatisfaction or protest, within ten days after the liquidation of such duties, is not necessary in order to enable a protesting importer to have the exaction and classification reviewed by a board of general appraisers and by the courts, under the provision in section 14 of the Act of June 10, 1890, c. 407, 26 Stat. 131, 137,

"That the decision of the collector as to the rate and amount of duties chargeable upon imported merchandise, including all dutiable costs and charges, and as to all fees and exactions of whatever character (except duties on tonnage), shall be final and conclusive against all persons interested therein, unless the owner, importer, consignee, or agent of such merchandise, or the person paying such fees, charges, and exactions other than duties, shall within ten days after, 'but not before,' such ascertainment and liquidation of duties, as well in cases of merchandise entered in bond as for consumption, or within ten days after the payment of such fees, charges and exactions, if dissatisfied with such decision, give notice in writing to the collector, setting forth therein distinctly and specifically, and in respect to each entry or payment,

Page 168 U. S. 96

the reasons for his objections thereto, and if the merchandise is entered for consumption shall pay the full amount of the duties and charges ascertained to be due thereon."

The primary and general rule of statutory construction is that the intent of the lawmaker is to be found in the language that he has used, and the cases are few and exceptional in which the letter of the statute is not deemed controlling, and only arise when there are cogent reasons for believing that the letter does not fully justify and accurately disclose the intent.

The fourteenth section of the Act of Congress approved June 10, 1890, c. 407, 26 Stat. 131 137, is as follows:

"That the decision of the collector as to the rate and amount of duties chargeable upon imported merchandise, including all dutiable costs and charges, and as to all fees and exactions of whatever character (except duties on tonnage) shall be final and conclusive against all persons interested therein unless the owner, importer, consignee, or agent of such merchandise, or the person paying such fees charges, and exactions other than duties shall, within ten days after 'but not before' such ascertainment and liquidation of duties, as well in cases of merchandise entered in bond as for consumption, or within ten days after the payment of such fees, charges, and exactions, if dissatisfied with such decision give notice in writing to the collector, setting forth therein distinctly and specifically, and in respect to each entry or payment, the reasons for his objections thereto, and if the merchandise is entered for consumption shall pay the full amount of the duties and charges ascertained to be due thereon. Upon such notice and payment, the collector shall transmit the invoice and all the papers and exhibits connected therewith to the board of three general appraisers, which shall be on duty at the port of New York, or to a board of three general appraisers who may be designated by the Secretary of the Treasury for such duty at that port, or at any other port, which board shall examine and decide the case thus submitted, and their decision, or that of a majority of them, shall be final and conclusive upon all persons interested therein, and the record shall be transmitted to the proper collector or person acting as such who shall liquidate the entry accordingly,

Page 168 U. S. 97

except in cases where an application shall be filed in the circuit court within the time and in the manner provided for in section fifteen of this act."

Upon this section, after stating the facts of this case showing its pertinency, the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit has certified to us the following question:

"Was the payment of the full amount of the duties ascertained to be due upon the liquidation of the entry of the merchandise required to be made by the importers, as well as the giving notice of dissatisfaction or protest, within ten days after the liquidation of such duties, where the goods, as in the present case, were entered for consumption, in order to enable the protesting importers to have the exaction and classification reviewed by the board of general appraisers and by the courts? "

Page 168 U. S. 102

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