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which distinguishes the public use for which taxes may be assessed from the private use for which they may not, is not always easy to discern. A statute which authorizes a town to issue its bonds in aid of a 1 manufacturing enterprise of individuals, is void, because the taxes necessary to pay the bonds would, if : collected, be a transfer of the property of individuals to aid in the projects of gain and profit of others, and not for a public use in the proper sense of that term.
Mrs. Va. Minor, * of Missouri, claimed the right to vote on the grounds that she was a native born free white citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one years. The Constitution of Missouri said that every male citizen of the United States shall be entited to vote.
Happersett, the Registrar of voters, refused to register her as a lawful voter because she was a woman. The State courts refused to punish the registrar for his refusal, and the case was brought to the Supreme Court when the Chief Justice delivered the unanimous opinion of the court that the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage on any one; that the right of suffrage was not necessarily one of the privileges and immunities of citizenship before the adoption of the Fourteenth amendment, and that amendment does not add to those privileges and immunities; that the word citizen is often used to convey the idea of membership in a nation ; that the elector or voter holds an office in the State which is distinct from the privileges and immunities of a citizen; and that the office of elector never did
* Minor vs. Happersett; 21 Wallace, 162.
embrace the whole body of the citizens of the States.
It has since been held * that citizens are merely members of the political community to which they belong ; that there is in our political system a government of each of the several States and a government of the United States ; that the rights of a citizen under one government will be different from those he has under the other; that the government of the United States, although, within the scope of its powers, it is supreme and beyond the States, can neither grant nor secure to its citizens rights or privileges which are not placed under its jurisdiction; that the United States Constitution has not conferred the right of suffrage on any one. The right to vote in the States comes from the States.
The powers † of Congress under the Fifteenth amendment may be applied to punish the wrongful refusal to receive the vote of a qualified elector at elections because of his "race, color or previous condition of servitude.” The power of Congress to legislate on the subject of voting at State elections rests on the Fifteenth amendment. That amendment does not confer the right of suffrage. It enables Congress to prevent discrimination by the States when State laws discriminate against the citizen on account of ‘race, color or previous condition of servitude."
The powers of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States preven I the States from passing laws discriminating against
* United States vs. Cruikshank, et al.; 2 Otto, 542. † United States vs. Reese, et al.; 2 Otto, 214. # Welton vs. Missouri; 1 Otto, 275.
the products of other States, and if Congress passes no laws in regard to inter-state commerce, then that commerce is to be free. A license tax required to be paid to the State for the privilege of selling goods imported from another State is virtually a tax upon the goods themselves and a regulation of commerce. A State tax thus discriminating against the goods of another State is void.
A State statute * which imposes a burdensome and almost impossible condition on the ship-master as a pro-requisite to his landing his passengers with an alternative payme
of a small sum of money for each one of them, is a tax on the ship owner for the right to land such passengers and in effect on the passengers themselves, since the ship-master makes them pay it in advance as part of their fare. Such a statute is a regulation of commerce, and when applied to foreign passengers is unconstitutional since Congress has the sole power to regulate commerce with -- foreign nations. The police power of the State will not enable it to tax or prohibit foreign or inter-State commerce.t
The national banks are held to be under the exclusive control of Congress. The right of eminent domain exists in the government of the United States, by which it can take private property I for public uses in any State to enable it to execute the powers conferred upon it by the Constitution. Just compensation
* Henderson et al., vs. the Mayor of the City of New York; 2 Otto, 259.
| Chy Lung vs. Freeman et al.; 2 Otto, 275. # Kohl et vs. U. S.; 1 Otto, 367.
must be made to the individual, and the property must be taken by due process of law.
The laws of the United States are as much the law of the land in any State as State laws are, and although in their enforcement, exclusive jurisdiction may by Congress be given to the Federal courts, yet where such exclusive jurisdiction is not given or necessarily implied, the State courts may be resorted to. I Congress expressly gives the State courts jurisdiction in many Federal affairs, and thus receives the aid of the powers of the States, in the enforcement of its laws.
Standing by its former decisions, the guardian of the Constitution, yet meting out justice to every suitor, the National Judiciary commands the respect and admiration of all good men. Claflin vs. Houseman; 3 Central Law Journal, 803.