Jordan v. Roche - 228 U.S. 436 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Jordan v. Roche, 228 U.S. 436 (1913)
Jordan v. Roche
Nos. 202, 203
Argued April 15, 1913
Decided April 28, 1913
228 U.S. 436
Bay rum imported from Porto Rico subsequent to the passage of the Foraker Act and prior to the passage of the Act of February 4, 1909, was subject to the payment of a tax equal to the internal revenue tax imposed in the United States, under §§ 3248 and 3254, Rev.Stat., on distilled spirits, spirits, alcohol, and alcoholic spirits.
The provision in § 3 of the Foraker Act, that with the institution of a system of taxation in Porto Rico, tariff duties on goods coming to and from Porto Rico and the United States should cease, is explicitly confined to such duties and does not relate to internal revenue taxes established in the act.
A statute declaring that a specified article shall be taxed and how is not necessarily a declaration by Congress that such article was not taxed under prior statutes; its history may show, as in the case of the Act of February 4, 199, that it was not the declaration of a new policy, but a more explicit expression of prior statutes.
The purpose of the Foraker Act was the equal taxation of Porto Rican articles and domestic articles.
The language of § 3248, Rev.Stat., is comprehensive enough to cover all distilled spirits.
Under the revenue laws of the United States, articles are taxed not by their commercial names or uses, but according to their alcoholic contents, under the generic name of "distilled spirits."
The facts, which involve the liability of bay rum, imported from Porto Rico subsequent to the Foraker Act, to a tax equal to the internal revenue tax under §§ 3248 and 3254, Rev.Stat., on distilled spirits, are stated in the opinion.