Pullman Co. v. Kansas
Annotate this Case
216 U.S. 56 (1910)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Pullman Co. v. Kansas, 216 U.S. 56 (1910)
Pullman Co. v. Kansas
Argued March 17, 18, 1909
Decided January 31, 1910
216 U.S. 56
The judgment of the court below reversed on the authority of Western Union Telegraph Company v. Kansas, ante, p. 216 U. S. 1, and also held that:
A corporation organized in one state and doing an interstate business is not bound to obtain the permission of another state to transact interstate business within its limits, but can go into the latter, for the purposes of that business, without liability to taxation there with respect to such business, although subject to reasonable local regulations for the safety, comfort, and convenience of the people which do not, in a real, substantial sense, burden or regulate its interstate business nor subject its property interests outside of that state to taxation.
The requirement that such a company, as a condition of its right to do intrastate business, shall, in the form of a fee, pay to the state a
specified percent of its authorized capital is a violation of the Constitution of the United States in that such a single fee, based on all the property, interests, and business of the company within and out of that state, is in effect a tax both on the interstate business of that company and on its property outside of that state, and compels the company, in order that it may do local business in connection with its interstate business, to waive its constitutional exemption from state taxation on its interstate business and on its property outside of the state.
A state can no more exact such a waiver than it can prescribe as a condition of the company's right to do local business that it agree to waive the constitutional guaranty of the equal protection of the laws, or the guaranty against being deprived of its property otherwise than by due process of law.
A decree ousting and prohibiting a company from doing intrastate business within a state for refusing to pay such a tax should not be granted, but the aid of the court should be refused because a decree would, in effect, recognize the validity of a condition which the state could not constitutionally prescribe under the guise of a fee for permission to do intrastate business.
75 Kan. 664 reversed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality of certain features of the Bush Act, which was under consideration in the preceding case, are stated in the opinion.