Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co.
259 U.S. 20 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U.S. 20 (1922)

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Company

No. 657

Argued March 7, 8, 1922

Decided May 15, 1922

259 U.S. 20

Syllabus

1. An act of Congress which clearly, on its face, is designed to penalize, and thereby to discourage or suppress, conduct the regulation of which is reserved by the Constitution exclusively to the States, cannot be sustained under the federal taxing power by calling the penalty a tax. P. 259 U. S. 37. Veazie Bank v. Fenno, 8 Wall. 533; McCray v. United States,195 U. S. 27; Flint v. Stone Tracy Co.,220 U. S. 107, and United States v. Doremus,249 U. S. 86, distinguished.

Page 259 U. S. 21

2. Title XII of the Revenue Act of February 24, 1919, c. 18, 40 Stat. 1138, entitled "Tax on Employment of Child Labor," provides that any person operating (a) any mine or quarry in which children under the age of sixteen years have been employed or permitted to work during any portion of the taxable year, or (b) any mill, cannery, workshop or factory in which children under the age of fourteen years have been employed or permitted to work, or children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen have been employed or permitted to work more than eight hour in any day, or more than six days in any week, or after 7 o'clock P.M. or before 6 o'clock A.M., during any portion of the taxable year, shall pay for such taxable year an excise equivalent to ten percent of the entire net profits received or accrued for such year from the sale or disposition of the product of his mine or other establishment, but relieves from liability one who employs a child believing him to be above the specified ages, relying on a certificate issued under authority of a board consisting of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Secretary of Labor, or under the laws of a State designated by them. Provision is made for inspection of the mines, etc., by or under authority of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, or by or under authority of the Secretary of Labor upon request of the Commissioner, and obstruction of such inspections is made punishable by fine and imprisonment. Held unconstitutional. P. 259 U. S. 34.

276 Fed. 452, affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the District Court for the plaintiff in an action against an internal revenue collector to recover the amount of a tax previously paid under protest.

Page 259 U. S. 34

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