The sixtieth section of the act of the Ohio Legislature
incorporating the state bank contains a contract for a fixed rule
of taxation upon that bank and its branches, and a subsequent act,
which attempts to assess a larger tax by a different rule is
Writ of error to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The State of Ohio,
by Mr. Walcott, her Attorney General, brought suit in the Supreme
Court of Franklin County against the Franklin Branch of the State
Bank of Ohio, claiming the sum of $4,076.30, as due from the bank
to the state for taxes assessed pursuant to an Act of the
legislature passed 5th April, 1859. The bank pleaded that the 60th
section of the charter was a contractor, by which the state bound
herself to levy no other or greater taxes on the State Bank or its
branches than what are stipulated for in that section, and that the
act of 1859, under which the taxes claimed in this case are
assessed, is void as being a violation of the contract. The
plaintiff demurred. The court gave judgment against the defendant
for the sum claimed. The defendant took the case into the supreme
court of the state, where the judgment of the county court was
affirmed. There upon the bank took this writ of error.
Page 66 U. S. 475
MR. JUSTICE WAYNE.
The single question in this case is whether the 60th section of
the statute of Ohio entitled "An act to incorporate the State Bank
of Ohio and other banking companies," passed February 24, 1845,
constitutes a contract for a fixed amount and mode of taxation, and
whether the statute of Ohio passed April 5, 1859, entitled "An act
for the assessment and taxation of all the property in this state,
and for levying taxes thereon, according to its value in money"
impairs that contract.
The amount of tax due from the Franklin Branch &c. upon the
basis of the 60th section was $1,216 42 for the year 1859; the
amount assessed against it, under the Act of the 24th February,
1855, was $1,076 30 for the same year. The case, of course, turns
upon the true construction of the 60th section, and this Court has
just said, in the case of the Jefferson Branch of the State
Bank of Ohio v. Skelly,
No. 143, that the 60th section
contains a contract for a fixed rule of taxation, and that the Act
of April 15, 1853, which attempts to assess a larger tax by a
different rule, was unconstitutional. See also
of Knoop v. Piqua
16 How. 369; Dodge v.
18 How. 331; Mechanics
and Traders' Bank v. Debolt,
18 How. 380. In all of
these cases, this Court held that the 60th section was a contract,
and that the various state laws, which attempted to change the rule
of taxation fixed by such contract were void.
We affirm again the unconstitutionality of the law of Ohio under
which the tax was assessed and levied against the Franklin Bank,
and direct the reversal of the judgment of the Supreme Court of the
State of Ohio now before us by a writ of error.
The clerk of this Court will, under the direction of this Court,
issue the proper mandate.