Evans v. Gore - 253 U.S. 245 (1920)


U.S. Supreme Court

Evans v. Gore, 253 U.S. 245 (1920)

Evans v. Gore

No. 654

Argued March 5, 1920

Decided June 1, 1920

253 U.S. 245

Syllabus

The relation of its members to the principle involved cannot relieve this Court of the duty to determine the taxability of the salary of a judge of another federal court in a case duly presenting the question. P. 253 U. S. 247.

The primary purpose of the Constitution in providing (Art. I, § 1, cl. 6) that the compensation of the judges "shall not be diminished during their continuance in office" was not to benefit the judges, but to attract fit men to the bench and insure that independence of action and judgment which is essential to the maintenance of the Constitution and the impartial administration of justice. Pp. 253 U. S. 248, 253 U. S. 253.

Such being its purpose, the limitation is to be construed not as a private grant, but as a limitation imposed in the public interest -- not restrictively, but in accord with its spirit and the principle on which it proceeds. P. 253 U. S. 253.

Any diminution which by necessary operation and effect withholds or takes from the judge a part of that which has been promised by law for his services must be regarded as within the limitation. P. 253 U. S. 254.

The prohibition embraces and prevents diminution by taxation, and has been so construed in the actual practice of the government. P. 253 U. S. 255.

The purpose of the Sixteenth Amendment, as shown by its language and history and by recent decisions of this Court, was not to extend the taxing power to new or excepted subjects, but merely to remove all occasion otherwise existing for an apportionment among the states of taxes laid on income, whether derived from one source or another. P. 253 U. S. 259.

A tax upon the net income of a United States district judge, assessed under the Act of February 4, 1919, c. 18, 40 Stat. 1062, § 213 (passed since he took office), by including his official salary in the computation operates to diminish his compensation in violation

Page 253 U. S. 246

of the Constitution, and is invalid. P. 253 U. S. 263. Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247 U. S. 16; United States Glue Co. v. Oak Creek, id., 247 U. S. 321, distinguished.

262 F. 550 reversed,

The case is stated in the opinion.



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