Standard Oil Co. v. Johnson
316 U.S. 481 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Standard Oil Co. v. Johnson, 316 U.S. 481 (1942)

Standard Oil Company of California v. Johnson

No. 1125

Argued May 5, 1942

Decided June 1, 1942

316 U.S. 481

Syllabus

1. Where the validity of a state statute, as construed, was drawn in question in the state court on the ground of its being repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, an appeal lies under Jud.Code § 237(a) from a judgment of the state court sustaining the statute. P. 316 U. S. 482.

2. In upholding a state tax on sales of motor fuel, as applied to sales to United States Army Post Exchanges, under a state statute containing an express exception of fuel sold to the government of the United States or any department thereof, the state court construed the exception as inapplicable because, as it concluded upon a consideration of the relation of such Exchanges to the United States, they were not instrumentalities or agencies of the United States.

Held: a decision of a federal question by which this Court is not bound upon appeal. P. 316 U. S. 483.

3. Army Post Exchanges are established and operated under regulations of the Secretary of War, authorized by Acts of Congress, and having the force of law. P. 316 U. S. 483.

4. Army Post Exchanges are arms of the Federal Government -- integral parts of the War Department partaking of its immunity under the Federal Constitution and statutes. P. 316 U. S. 485.

5. Since there is no way of knowing whether the California Supreme Court would have construed the Act in question as applicable to Post Exchanges if it had correctly understood their federal status, a determination of the constitutionality of such application is not called for by the present record, and the case is therefore remanded to that court for further proceedings. P. 316 U. S. 485.

19 Cal.2d 104, 119 P.2d 329, reversed.

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment against the oil company in an action to recover a tax payment.

Page 316 U. S. 482

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