Waite v. Dowley
94 U.S. 527 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Waite v. Dowley, 94 U.S. 527 (1876)

Waite v. Dowley

94 U.S. 527

Syllabus

A state statute is not void which, for the purposes of taxation, requires, under a penalty for his neglect or refusal, the cashier of each national bank within the state to transmit, on or before the fifteenth day of April in each year, to the clerks of the several towns in the state in which any stock or shareholders of such bank shall reside, a true list of the names of such stock or shareholders on the books of such bank, together with the amount of money actually paid in on each share on the first day of that month.

On the 9th of November, 1865, the Legislature of Vermont passed the following act. Acts of 1865, p. 17.

"An Act providing for taxing stock in the several banking associations in this state, formed under the Act of Congress approved June 3, 1864, entitled 'An Act to provide a national currency.'"

"SEC. 1. It shall be the duty of the cashiers of the several banking associations in this state formed under the Act of Congress approved June 3, 1864, entitled, 'An Act to provide a national currency,' and the cashiers of all other banks in this state, to transmit to the clerks of the several towns in this state in which any stock or shareholders of such banking association shall reside a

Page 94 U. S. 528

true list of the names of such stock or shareholders on the books of such banking association, together with the amount of money actually paid in on each share on the first day of April in each year hereafter, on or before the fifteenth day of April in each year."

"SEC. 2. The stock and shares of all such banking associations shall be set in the list and taxed in the same manner that the stock in the several banks in this state, which are chartered under the authority of this state, are liable to be taxed by the existing laws thereof."

"SEC. 3. If any of the stock of such banking associations is owned by or stands in the name of any person residing out of this state, it shall be the duty of the cashier of such banking association to transmit to the clerk of the town in which such banking association is situated the names of all such nonresident stock or shareholders, with the number of shares standing against the name of each of such stock or shareholders on the books of such banking association, together with the amount of money actually paid in on each share on or before the fifteenth day of April in each year."

"SEC. 4. Whenever the collector in any town in which any such banking association is situated shall have a tax against any stock or shareholder in such banking association who is not a resident of this state, it shall be the duty of the cashier of such banking association, upon presentation of such tax to him by such collector, to pay the same, and charge the same to such stock or shareholder on the books of such banking association, and all dividends due and becoming due upon the same shall be holden to such banking association for the payment of such tax."

"SEC. 5. If any cashier shall neglect or refuse to make returns to any town in this state, as provided in this act, he shall forfeit and pay to the treasurer of such town, for the benefit of such town, the sum of $500, to be recovered by an action on the case, in the name of such treasurer, founded on this statute."

This action was brought in March, 1870, in the County Court of Windham County, Vermont, by Dowley, as Treasurer of the town of Brattleboro', against Waite, the cashier of the First National Bank of Brattleboro', to recover the penalty prescribed by the fifth section of the foregoing act, for refusing, in 1866 and 1867, to make to that town the returns provided for in the first section.

The only defense set up at the trial was, that, as the bank was organized under the law of Congress, Waite, as such cashier,

Page 94 U. S. 529

was amenable to no law but that, and that the state had not power to prescribe or define his duties as such cashier.

Waite also offered evidence tending to show that, at all times during the years in question, the bank kept such lists of its stockholders as the act of Congress requires, which were open to the inspection of the trustees of said town, who were permitted at all times to transcribe therefrom, and set in the grand list of the town all such stock of said bank as they deemed taxable.

Dowley waived all objection to the admission of the evidence, but claimed that, if admitted, it constituted no legal defense to the action.

The court thereupon directed a verdict for Dowley, which was taken.

To this decision Waite duly excepted; his exceptions were allowed, and the cause passed to the supreme court for review.

That court rendered a decision affirming the judgment of the county court, and giving judgment for Dowley against Waite for the amount of the verdict with subsequent interest.

Waite thereupon brought this writ here, assigning for error that the Supreme Court of Vermont erred

First, in holding that the statute of the state was valid under the Constitution of the United States, as not repugnant to nor in conflict with the acts of Congress providing for the organization and management of national banks, being the Acts of March 25, 1863, and June 3, 1864.

Second, in rendering judgment against him for the penalties provided by a statute which is invalid, as repugnant to and in conflict with said acts of Congress.

Page 94 U. S. 532

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