Fox v. State of Ohio,
Annotate this Case
46 U.S. 410 (1847)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Fox v. State of Ohio, 46 U.S. 5 How. 410 410 (1847)
Fox v. State of Ohio
46 U.S. (5 How.) 410
The power conferred upon Congress by the fifth and sixth clauses of the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of the United States, viz., "1 To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures "; "To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States" does not prevent a state from passing a law to punish the offense of circulating counterfeit coin of the United States.
The two offenses of counterfeiting the coin and passing counterfeit money are essentially different in their characters. The former is an offense directly against the government, by which individuals may be affected; the latter is a private wrong, by which the government may be remotely, if it will in any degree, be reached.
The prohibitions contained in the amendments to the Constitution were intended to be restrictions upon the federal government, and not upon the authority of the states.
This was an indictment in the state court against Malinda Fox for
"passing and uttering a certain piece of false, base, and counterfeit coin, forged and counterfeited to the likeness and similitude of the good and legal silver coin currently passing in the State of Ohio, called a dollar."
Being convicted, the case was taken by her upon writ of error to the court in bank of the state, its highest judicial tribunal, and at the December term, 1842, of that court the judgment of the common pleas was affirmed.
From this decision of the court in bank the plaintiff in error brought the case to this Court, and claimed a reversal of the judgment on the ground that the courts of that state had no jurisdiction of the offense charged in the indictment, but that the jurisdiction belongs exclusively to the courts of the United States.