Prior to the 1979 seizure of the United States Embassy in
Tehran, appellees, American parent and subsidiary corporations
(hereinafter Sperry), entered into contracts with the Government of
Iran. After the Embassy seizure, Sperry filed suit for claims
against Iran in a Federal District Court and obtained a prejudgment
attachment of Iranian assets. Subsequently, the United States and
Iran entered into the Algiers Accords, which, inter alia,
established the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal (Tribunal) to
arbitrate Americans' claims against Iran, specified that Tribunal
awards are final, binding, and enforceable in the courts of any
nation, and placed $1 billion of Iranian assets in a Security
Account for the payment of awards to the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York (FRB) and thence to claimants. After Executive Orders
implementing the Accords invalidated Sperry's attachment and
prohibited it from further pursuing its claim in American courts,
it filed a claim with the Tribunal and ultimately entered into a
settlement agreement whereby Iran promised to pay it $2.8 million,
which agreement was recorded as an award of the Tribunal. Congress
then enacted § 502 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act,
Fiscal Years 1986 and 1987, which requires the FRB to deduct from
any Tribunal award and to pay into the United States Treasury
before remitting the award to the claimant a percentage of the
"as reimbursement to the . . . Government for expenses incurred
in connection with the arbitration of claims . . . before [the]
Tribunal and the maintenance of the Security Account."
When the FRB so deducted a percentage of Sperry's award, Sperry
renewed a suit it had previously filed in the Claims Court, arguing
that the deduction authorized by § 502 was unconstitutional.
The court rejected the claim and dismissed the suit, but the Court
of Appeals reversed.
Section 502 is not unconstitutional. Pp.
493 U. S.
(a) Section 502 does not violate the Just Compensation Clause of
the Fifth Amendment. Sperry has not identified any of its property
that was taken without just compensation. No taking occurred
because Sperry's prejudgment attachment was nullified by the
Executive Orders implementing the Accords, since Dames &
Moore v. Regan, 453 U. S. 654
453 U. S. 674
n. 6, held that American litigants against Iran had no property
interest in such attachments. Nor did Sperry suffer the deprivation
of its claim against Iran, since it presented the claim to the
Page 493 U. S. 53
settled it for a substantial sum, and now makes no claim that
the award was less than could have been recovered in ordinary
litigation or that being forced to take the lesser amount was an
unconstitutional taking. Moreover, the deduction is not a taking,
but is a reasonable "user fee" assessed against claimants before
the Tribunal and intended to reimburse the Government for its costs
in connection with the Tribunal. The amount of a user fee need not
be precisely calibrated to the use that a party makes of
governmental services, and, on the facts of this case, the §
502 deduction is not so clearly excessive as to belie its purported
character as a user fee. Sperry's contention that it did not
benefit from the procedures established by the Accords is rejected,
since those procedures assured Sperry that its award could be
enforced in the courts of any nation and actually paid in this
country, whereas, absent those procedures, Sperry would have had no
assurance that it could have pursued its action to judgment or that
a judgment would have been readily collectible. It is not
dispositive that the award was more the result of private
negotiations than Tribunal procedures, since Sperry filed its claim
with the Tribunal and had a formal award entered, and since Sperry
could be required to pay a charge for available governmental
services that it never actually used. Pp. 493 U. S.
(b) Section 502 does not violate the Due Process Clause of the
Fifth Amendment. The retroactive application of the § 502
deductions to awards, such as Sperry's, made prior to the statute's
enactment is justified by a rational legislative purpose: ensuring
that all successful claimants before the Tribunal are treated alike
in that all have to contribute to the Tribunal's costs. If §
502's application had been prospective only, those costs would have
fallen disproportionately on claimants whose awards were delayed,
and claimants who obtained awards prior to enactment would have
enjoyed a windfall by avoiding contribution. Nor does § 502
violate the Clause's equal protection component by failing to
assess a user fee against all claimants before the Tribunal, since
Congress could have rationally concluded that only successful
claimants realize a benefit sufficient to justify assessment of a
fee and that assessing all claimants would undesirably deter small
or uncertain claims. Pp. 493 U. S.
(c) This Court will not reach the merits of Sperry's argument
that § 502 was enacted in violation of the Origination Clause
of Article I, § 7, of the Constitution. The question whether
Origination Clause claims present nonjusticiable political
questions is presently pending before the Court, see United
States v. Munoz-Flores, cert. granted, post,
p. 808, and it
would be inappropriate to address Sperry's claim before the
threshold justiciability question is decided. Furthermore, even
assuming that Origination Clause claims are justiciable, this Court
Page 493 U. S. 54
from the views of the Court of Appeals, which found it
unnecessary to address the Origination Clause issue. P.
493 U. S.
853 F.2d 904 (CA Fed.1988) reversed and remanded.
WHITE, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
Section 502 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal
Years 1986 and 1987, 99 Stat. 438, note following 50 U.S.C. §
1701 (1982 ed., Supp. V), requires the Federal Reserve Bank of New
York to deduct and pay into the United States Treasury a percentage
of any award made by the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in
favor of an American claimant before remitting the award to the
claimant. We are asked to consider in this case whether § 502
violates the Just Compensation Clause or Due Process Clause of the
Fifth Amendment [Footnote 1
the Origination Clause of Article I, § 7. [Footnote 2
Appellees Sperry Corporation and Sperry World Trade, Inc.
(hereinafter Sperry) [Footnote
] are American corporations that
Page 493 U. S. 55
entered into contracts with the Government of Iran prior to the
seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.
The details of the seizure of the Embassy and diplomatic personnel
and the ensuing diplomatic crisis want no repetition here. We need
address only the means eventually established by the Governments of
the United States and Iran to resolve claims by American companies
On November 14, 1979, President Carter issued Executive Order
No. 12170, blocking the removal or transfer of all property of the
Government of Iran subject to American jurisdiction. 3 CFR 457
(1980). One day later, the Secretary of the Treasury issued
regulations invalidating any attachment affecting Iranian property
covered by the Executive Order unless the attachment was licensed
by the Secretary. 31 CFR § 535.203(e) (1980). The regulations
provided that any such license could be "amended, modified, or
revoked at any time." § 535.805. On November 26, 1979, the
President granted a general license authorizing judicial
proceedings against Iran but not the "entry of any judgment or of
any decree or order of similar or analogous effect. . . ." §
535.504(b)(1). A subsequently issued regulation made clear that the
President's license authorized prejudgment attachments. §
As part of the resolution of the diplomatic crisis, the United
States and Iran entered into an agreement embodied in two
declarations of the Government of Algeria commonly referred to as
the Algiers Accords (hereinafter the Accords). App. 29-42. The
Accords provided for the establishment in The Hague of an
international arbitral tribunal, known as the Iran-United States
Claims Tribunal (hereinafter the Tribunal), to hear claims brought
by Americans against the Government of Iran. The establishment of
the Tribunal was to
Page 493 U. S. 56
preclude litigation by Americans against Iran in American
courts, so the United States undertook to terminate such legal
proceedings, unblock Iranian assets in the United States, and
nullify all attachments against those assets. Id.
To implement the Accords, President Carter issued a series of
Executive Orders on January 19, 1981, revoking all licenses
permitting the exercise of "any right, power, or privilege" with
respect to Iranian funds and annulling all non-Iranian interests in
Iranian assets acquired after the blocking order. Exec. Orders Nos.
12276-12285, 3 CFR 104-118 (1981). On February 24, 1981, President
Reagan issued an Executive Order suspending all claims that "may be
presented to the . . . Tribunal" and providing that such claims
"shall have no legal effect in any action now pending in any court
of the United States." Exec. Order No. 12294, 3 CFR 139 (1981).
This Court upheld the revocation of the licenses and the suspension
of the claims in Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.
Prior to the Accords, Sperry had filed suit against Iran in the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia and had
obtained a prejudgment attachment of blocked Iranian assets, but
the Executive Orders sustained in Dames & Moore
invalidated that attachment and prohibited Sperry from further
pursuing its claims against Iran in any American courts. Sperry
therefore filed a claim against Iran with the Tribunal and also
began settlement negotiations with Iran. In February, 1982, Sperry
and Iran reached an agreement requiring the payment by Iran to
Sperry of $2.8 million. The Government of Iran gave the settlement
final approval on July 8, 1982.
Sperry and Iran then filed a joint application with the
Tribunal, which was granted, to have the settlement entered as an
"Award on Agreed Terms." The entry of the settlement provided
Sperry with a significant benefit, for it gave the settlement
agreement the status of an award by the Tribunal, and under the
Accords, all awards of the Tribunal are "final
Page 493 U. S. 57
and binding" and are "enforceable . . . in the courts of any
nation in accordance with its laws." App. 40. The entry of the
settlement also enabled Sperry to make use of the mechanism
established by the Accords and the implementing Executive Orders
for the payment of arbitral awards. As part of the Accords, $1
billion of the unblocked Iranian assets had been placed in a
Security Account in the Bank of England for the payment of awards.
at 33. Awards made by the Tribunal in favor of
American claimants are paid from the Security Account to the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which then pays the awards to the
47 Fed.Reg. 25243 (1982).
We come now to the heart of this dispute. The Accords provided
that "[t]he expenses of the Tribunal shall be borne equally by the
two governments." App. 41. On June 7, 1982, the Department of the
Treasury issued a "Directive License" requiring the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York to deduct 2% from each award certified by the
Tribunal and to pay the deducted amount into the Treasury "to
reimburse the United States Government for costs incurred for the
benefit of U.S. nationals who have claims against Iran." 47
Fed.Reg. 25243. When the Federal Reserve Bank of New York received
Sperry's award, it deducted the 2% charge over Sperry's protest,
deposited the charge in the Treasury, and paid Sperry the balance
of its award.
Sperry filed suit in the United States Claims Court, contending
that the 2% charge was unconstitutional and was not (as the United
States argued) authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriation
Act, 1952 (IOAA), 65 Stat. 290, 31 U.S.C. § 483a (1976 ed.).
] The Claims Court
held in an oral ruling on May 1, 1985, that the Directive License
violated IOAA. App. to Juris. Statement 26a-51a. Congress reacted
swiftly by enacting § 502, which specifically requires the
assessment of a charge against successful American
Page 493 U. S. 58
claimants before the Tribunal and directs the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York to deduct from Tribunal awards paid out of the
Security Account an amount equal to 1 1/2% of the first $5,000,000
and 1% of any amount over $5,000,000. Section 502(a) states that
these charges are to be deducted
"as reimbursement to the United States Government for expenses
incurred in connection with the arbitration of claims of United
States claimants against Iran before [the] Tribunal and the
maintenance of the Security Account established pursuant to the
Congress made § 502 effective retroactive to June 7, 1982,
the date on which the Treasury had issued the Directive License
struck down by the Claims Court. See
Sperry renewed its challenge to the deduction in the Claims
Court, arguing that the 1 1/2% deduction authorized by § 502
was unconstitutional. The Claims Court rejected the constitutional
claims and dismissed Sperry's suit. 12 Cl.Ct. 736 (1987). The Court
of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed, and held that §
502 was unconstitutional as it caused a taking of Sperry's private
property without just compensation. 853 F.2d 904 (1988). The Court
of Appeals likened the 1% deduction by the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York to the permanent physical occupation by the Government of
private property which, this Court held in Loretto v.
Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.
, 458 U. S. 441
(1982), is always a "taking" requiring just compensation. The Court
of Appeals was unmoved by the United States' argument that there
was no taking, given the benefits that Sperry had obtained from the
"[W]e do not see the benefit of the Tribunal to Sperry when,
prior to the Accords, it had secured the attachment of Iranian
assets sufficient to cover its eventual award and, had the
President not suspended American claims, would have had no need for
853 F.2d at 908.
The United States invoked our appellate jurisdiction under the
version of 28 U.S.C. § 1252 (1982 ed.) in effect before
Page 493 U. S. 59
amendment in 1988. [Footnote
] We noted probable jurisdiction, 489 U.S. 1009 (1989), and we
Sperry argues that the deduction is a part of Congress' scheme
to shift to American claimants against Iran those costs of settling
the diplomatic crisis that should have been borne by the Nation as
a whole. As we see it, however, Sperry has not identified any of
its property that was taken without just compensation. To the
extent the Court of Appeals' decision may be read as concluding
that Sperry suffered a taking of its property because its
prejudgment attachment against Iranian assets was nullified by the
Executive Orders implementing the Accords, see
853 F.2d at
907, that conclusion is incorrect; we held in Dames & Moore
463 U.S. at
463 U. S. 674
, n. 6, that American litigants against
Iran had no property interest in such attachments. Nor did Sperry
suffer the deprivation of its claim against Iran. Sperry presented
its claim to the Tribunal and settled the claim for a substantial
sum. [Footnote 6
] And we note
that Sperry makes no claim that the gross amount of the award was
Page 493 U. S. 60
than what would have been recovered in ordinary litigation and
that being forced to take the lesser amount was an unconstitutional
taking of property. The case thus turns only on the
constitutionality of the deduction.
As for the deduction itself, the United States urges that it is
not a taking at all, but is a reasonable "user fee" assessed
against claimants before the Tribunal and intended to reimburse the
United States for its costs in connection with the Tribunal. Sperry
responds that the § 502 charge cannot be upheld as a user fee
because there has been no showing that the amount of the deduction
approximates the cost of the Tribunal to the United States or bears
any relationship to Sperry's use of the Tribunal or the value of
the Tribunal's services to Sperry. None of Sperry's submissions is
Section 502(a) specifically states that the deductions are made
"reimbursement to the United States Government for expenses
incurred in connection with the arbitration of claims of United
States claimants against Iran before [the] Tribunal and the
maintenance of the Security Account. . . ."
Given especially this specific declaration by Congress that the
deductions are intended to reimburse costs incurred by the United
States, the burden must lie with Sperry to demonstrate that the
reality of § 502 belies its express language before we
conclude that the deductions are actually takings. Cf.
Pittsburgh v. Alco Parking Corp., 417 U.
, 417 U. S.
-376 (1974). That burden has not been met.
This Court has never held that the amount of a user fee must be
precisely calibrated to the use that a party makes of government
services. Nor does the Government need to record invoices and
billable hours to justify the cost of its services. All that we
have required is that the user fee be a "fair approximation of the
cost of benefits supplied." Massachusetts v. United
States, 435 U. S. 444
435 U. S. 463
n. 19 (1978). In that case, the Court upheld a flat registration
fee assessed by the Federal Government on civil aircraft, including
aircraft owned by the States, against a challenge that the fee
Page 493 U. S. 61
violated the principle of intergovernmental tax immunity. In
holding that the registration charge could be upheld because it was
a user fee rather than a tax, the Court rejected Massachusetts'
argument that the "amount of the tax is a flat annual fee, and
hence is not directly related to the degree of use of the airways."
at 435 U. S. 463
The Court recognized that, when the Federal Government applies user
charges to a large number of parties, it probably will charge a
user more or less than it would under a perfect user-fee system,
but we declined to impose a requirement that the Government "give
weight to every factor affecting appropriate compensation for
airport and airway use," id.
at 435 U.S. 468
. [Footnote 7
Page 493 U. S. 62
The deductions authorized by § 502 are not so clearly
excessive as to belie their purported character as user fees. This
is not a situation where the Government has appropriated all, or
most, of the award to itself and labeled the booty as a user fee.
Cf. FCC v. Florida Power Corp., 480 U.
, 480 U. S. 253
(1987); Webb's Fabulous Pharmacies, Inc. v. Beckwith,
449 U. S. 155
(1980). [Footnote 8
] We need
not state what percentage of the award would be too great a take to
qualify as a user fees, for we are convinced that, on the facts of
this case, 1 1/2% does not qualify as a "taking" by any standard of
excessiveness. This was obviously the judgment of Congress, and we
abide by it. [Footnote 9
Page 493 U. S. 63
Sperry complains that the United States has taken its property
by charging it for the use of procedures that it has been forced to
use, or at least that it would rather not have used. But as we have
at 493 U. S. 60
a reasonable user fee is not a taking if it is imposed for the
reimbursement of the cost of government services. "A governmental
body has an obvious interest in making those who specifically
benefit from its services pay the cost. . . ." Massachusetts v.
United Stales, supra,
435 U.S. at 435 U. S. 462
(opinion of BRENNAN, J.). Though we may accept Sperry's word that
it would have preferred to pursue its action against Iran in the
familiar and proximate federal district courts, we cannot accept
its contention that it did not benefit in any way from the
procedures established by the Accords. The fact is that Sperry did
benefit directly from the existence and functions of the Tribunal.
The Accords that established the Tribunal and the Executive Orders
that implemented the Accords assured Sperry that any award made to
it, whether the result of a settlement or otherwise, could be
enforced in the courts of any nation and actually paid in this
country. Had the President not agreed to the establishment of the
Tribunal and the Security Account, Sperry would have had no
assurance that it could have pursued its action against Iran to
judgment or that a judgment would have been readily collectible. As
it was, Sperry filed its claim with the Tribunal, arrived at a
settlement with Iran, and had the settlement entered as a formal
award by the Tribunal, which was paid in full except for the
deduction at issue in this case.
It is not at all dispositive that the award to Sperry was more
the result of private negotiations between Sperry and Iran than the
Tribunal procedures placed.at Sperry's disposal. Sperry filed its
claim with the Tribunal and had a formal award entered.
Furthermore, Sperry may be required to pay a charge for the
availability of the Tribunal even if it never actually used the
Tribunal; Sperry received the "benefit from [the Tribunal] in the
sense that the services are available for [its] use."
Massachusetts v. United States, supra,
Page 493 U. S. 64
at 435 U.S. 468
also Clyde Mallory Lines v. Alabama ex rel. State Docks
Comm'n, 296 U. S. 261
296 U. S.
-267 (1935). Had Sperry's negotiations with Iran
failed, it would have then had the opportunity to use the hearing
rooms, translation facilities, and facilities for service of
documents made available through the Tribunal and the State
Department. The Tribunal made available to claimants such as Sperry
sufficient benefits to justify the imposition of a reasonable user
We turn next to Sperry's due process claims. Sperry urges that
§ 502 violates the Due Process Clause because the deductions
apply to awards, such as Sperry's, made by the Tribunal prior to
the enactment of the statute. Our standard of review is
"[R]etroactive legislation does have to meet a burden not faced
by legislation that has only future effects."
"It does not follow . . . that what Congress can legislate
prospectively it can legislate retrospectively. The retroactive
aspects of legislation, as well as the prospective aspects, must
meet the test of due process, and the justifications for the latter
may not suffice for the former."
"But that burden is met simply by showing that the retroactive
application of the legislation is itself justified by a rational
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. R.A. Gray &
Co., 467 U. S. 717
467 U. S. 730
(1984) (quoting Usery v. Turner Elkhorn Mining Co.,
428 U. S. 1
428 U. S. 16
(1976)) (citation omitted).
We agree with the United States that the retroactive application
of § 502 is justified by a rational legislative purpose.
Retroactive application of § 502 ensures that all successful
claimants before the Tribunal are treated alike, in that all have
to contributed toward the costs of the Tribunal. If Congress had
made the application of § 502 prospective only, the costs of
the Tribunal would have fallen disproportionately on the claimants
whose awards, for whatever reason, were
Page 493 U. S. 65
delayed, and Congress might have had to increase the percentage
charge on those claimants to recoup a sufficient portion of the
Federal Government's costs. Claimants who were fortunate enough to
obtain awards prior to the enactment of the statute would have
obtained a windfall by avoiding contribution. It is surely proper
for Congress to legislate retrospectively to ensure that costs of a
program are borne by the entire class of persons that Congress
rationally believes should bear them. Cf. Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation v. R.A. Gray & Co., supra,
at 467 U. S. 730
Usery v. Turner Elkhorn Mining Co., supra,
428 U.S. at
428 U. S. 18
Nor does § 502 violate the equal protection component of
the Due Process Clause [Footnote
] because it assesses a user fee only against claimants who
have actually received an award from the Tribunal, and not against
all claimants before the Tribunal. The classification implicitly
made by § 502 neither burdens fundamental constitutional
rights nor creates suspect classifications, so again our standard
of review is that of rationality. See United States Railroad
Retirement Board v. Fritz, 449 U. S. 166
449 U. S.
-175 (1980). Congress could have rationally concluded
that only those who are successful before the Tribunal realize a
benefit therefrom sufficient to justify assessment of a fee.
Congress could also have determined that assessing a user fee
against all claimants would undesirably deter those whose claims
were small or uncertain of success from presenting them to the
Tribunal. This case is wholly unlike Rinaldi v. Yeager,
384 U. S. 305
(1966), where the Court was unable to discern any legitimate
interest that was served by a requirement that the State be
reimbursed for the cost of criminal trial transcripts by
incarcerated prisoners unsuccessful in their appeals but not by
other indigent appellants, even other unsuccessful ones who had not
been incarcerated. Here the costs are imposed on only the
successful claimants, not, as in Rinaldi,
unsuccessful ones, a situation presenting entirely different
Page 493 U. S. 66
Moreover, as discussed supra
at 493 U. S. 65
sensible distinction may be made between successful claimants who
have completed the Tribunal proceedings and all other
As a final ground for affirming the judgment below, Sperry
relies on an argument presented to but not passed on by the Court
of Appeals, i.e.,
that § 502 was enacted in violation
of the Origination Clause of Article I, § 7, which provides
"[a]ll Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with
Amendments as on other Bills."
Sperry refers us to the legislative history of the Foreign
Relations Authorization Act, which indicates that § 502 was
added as a Senate amendment to a bill that contained no
revenue-raising provisions when it originated in the House.
We do not reach the merits of this contention. In another case
to be argued this Term, we have directed the parties to brief
whether claims based on the Origination Clause present
nonjusticiable political questions. See United States v.
Munoz-Flores, cert. granted, post,
p. 808 (1989); cf. INS
v. Chadha, 462 U. S. 919
462 U. S.
-943 (1983); Baker v. Carr, 369 U.
, 369 U. S. 217
(1962). Although this Court has on prior occasions appeared to
address the merits of Origination Clause claims, see, e.g.,
Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 U. S. 107
220 U. S. 143
(1911); Millard v. Roberts, 202 U.
(1906); Twin City Bank v. Nebeker,
167 U. S. 196
(1897), it would be inappropriate for us to do so now, before we
decide the threshold question of justiciability in
Furthermore, even assuming that Origination
Clause claims are justiciable, we would benefit from the views of
the Court of Appeals, which found it unnecessary to address the
Origination Clause issue. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of
Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
"No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation."
U.S. Const., Amdt. 5.
"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with
Amendments as on other Bills."
U.S. Const., Art. I, § 7, cl. 1.
Sperry World Trade, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sperry
Corporation. Subsequent to the commencement of this action, Sperry
Corporation merged with Burroughs Corporation. The successor
corporation was renamed as UNISYS Corporation. Brief for Appellees
1, n. 1.
Title 31 was recodified in 1982, and IOAA is now to be found at
31 U.S.C. § 9701 (1982 ed.).
Section 1252 permitted a direct appeal to this Court from
"an interlocutory or final judgment, decree or order of any
court of the United States . . . holding an Act of Congress
unconstitutional in any civil action, suit, or proceeding to which
the United States . . . is a party."
Congress eliminated most of this Court's appellate jurisdiction,
including that based on § 1252, in Public Law 100-352, 102
Stat. 662, which was enacted on June 27, 1988. However, § 7 of
Public Law 100-352 provides that the statute "shall take effect
ninety days after the date of the enactment of this Act,"
on September 25, 1988, and shall not "affect the
right to review or the manner of reviewing the judgment or decree
of a court which was entered before such effective date."
at 664. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was
entered on August 10, 1988, before the effective date of Public Law
100-352. The appeal is therefore proper. See also Duquesne
Light Co. v. Barasch, 488 U. S. 299
488 U. S. 307
n. 4 (1989).
Sperry's ability to pursue its claim against Iran in another
forum distinguishes this case from Gray v. United States,
21 Ct.Cl. 340 (1886). In the treaty at issue in Gray,
United States canceled American claims against France altogether.
Sperry urges however, that American Trucking Assns., Inc. v.
Scheiner, 483 U. S. 266
(1987), compels invalidation of the deduction here. In that case,
the Court rejected Pennsylvania's argument that flat truck
registration fees and axle taxes did not violate the Commerce
Clause because they were imposed as user fees to reimburse
Pennsylvania for the costs of highway maintenance. The Court stated
"Pennsylvania's flat taxes discriminate against out-of-state
vehicles by subjecting them to a much higher charge per mile
traveled in the State, and they do not even purport to approximate
fairly the cost or value of the use of Pennsylvania's roads."
at 483 U. S.
The reasoning of American Trucking Assns.
extended outside the context of the Commerce Clause. The Court
there was faced with particular constitutional restrictions on fees
and taxes not present in this case, that a fee charged by a State
not discriminate against out-of-state vehicles and not place an
undue burden on interstate commerce. The flat taxes were
objectionable because, even though they were facially neutral,
their effect was to subject out-of-state vehicles, which traveled
on average much fewer miles inside Pennsylvania than did in-state
vehicles, to a much higher charge per mile traveled. The taxes
failed what we have described as the "internal consistency"
requirement of the Commerce Clause. Id.
at 483 U. S.
-287; see also Tyler Pipe Industries, Inc. v.
Washington State Department of Revenue, 483 U.
, 483 U. S. 247
(1987). There is no similarly exacting requirement under the Just
Compensation Clause. On the contrary, the Just Compensation
"has never been read to require the . . . courts to calculate
whether a specific individual has suffered burdens . . . in excess
of the benefits received"
in determining whether a "taking" has occurred. Keystone
Bituminous Coal Assn. v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.
, 480 U. S. 491
n. 21 (1987).
In Webb's Fabulous Pharmacies, Inc. v. Beckwith,
Court struck down a Florida statute appropriating interest on funds
deposited into a court registry by an interpleader complainant.
Florida law provided for both the deduction of a small percentage
of the interpleader funds as a fee for services rendered by the
clerk of the court and the deduction of interest earned on the
"It is obvious that the interest was not a fee for services, for
any services obligation to the county was paid for and satisfied by
the substantial fee charged . . . and described specifically . . .
as a fee 'for services' by the clerk's office."
449 U.S. at 449 U. S. 162
We failed to discern any justification for the deduction of the
interest other than the bare transfer of private property to the
county. We expressed
"no view as to the constitutionality of a statute that
prescribes a county's retention of interest earned, where the
interest would be the only return to the county for services it
at 449 U. S. 165
a situation more analogous to the case at bar.
Sperry argues, however, that we should not even consider the
amount deducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York because the
deduction was akin to a "permanent physical occupation" of its
property, and therefore was a per se
taking requiring just
compensation, regardless of the extent of the occupation or its
economic impact. See Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV
Corp., 458 U. S. 419
458 U. S. 441
(1982). The Court of Appeals agreed with Sperry. 853 F.2d 904,
906-907 (CA Fed.1988). It is artificial to view deductions of a
percentage of a monetary award as physical appropriations of
property. Unlike real or personal property, money is fungible. No
special constitutional importance attaches to the fact that the
Government deducted its charge directly from the award rather than
requiring Sperry to pay it separately. If the deduction in this
case was a physical occupation requiring just compensation, so
would be any fee for services, including a filing fee that must be
paid in advance. Such a rule would be an extravagant extension of
See Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.
, 347 U. S. 499