Weston v. Charleston

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2 Pet. (27 U.S.) 449 (1829), argued 28 Feb. and 10 Mar. 1829, decided 18 Mar. 1829 by vote of 4 to 2; Marshall for the Court, Johnson and Thompson in dissent, Trimble deceased. Weston involved an attempt by the city of Charleston (a political subdivision of the state of South Carolina), to tax “stock of the United States,” that is, debt certificates held by creditors of the federal government. The Court struck down the tax as an interference with the Article I, section 8 power “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” Chief Justice John Marshall reaffirmed McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), which had vigilantly guarded federal powers against state encroachment by invoking the maxim “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

William M. Wiecek

Subjects: Law.

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