Whitney v. Robertson
124 U.S. 190 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190 (1888)

Whitney v. Robertson

Argued December 13-14, 1887

Decided January 9, 1888

124 U.S. 190


The Treaty of February 8, 1861, with the Dominican Republic (art. 9) provides that

"No higher or other duty shall be imposed on the importation into the United states of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture of the Dominican Republic, or of her fisheries, than are or shall be payable on the like articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country or of its fisheries."

The Convention of January 30, 1575, with the King of the Hawaiian Islands provides for the importation into the United States, free of duty, of various articles, the produce and manufacture of those islands (among which were sugars), in consideration of certain concessions made by the King of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. Held that this provision in the treaty with the Dominican Republic did not authorize the admission into the United States, duty free, of similar sugars, the growth, produce, or manufacture of that republic as a consequence of the agreement made with the King of the Hawaiian Islands, and that there was no distinction in principle between this case and Bartram v. Robertson, 122 U. S. 116.

By the Constitution of the United States, a treaty and a statute are placed on the same footing, and if the two are inconsistent, the one last in date will control, provided the stipulation of the treaty on the subject is self-executing.

This was an action to recover back duties alleged to have been illegally exacted. Verdict for the defendant and judgment on the verdict. The plaintiffs sued out this writ of error.

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