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Hannis Distilling v. Baltimore, 216 U.S. 285 (1910)

Hannis Distilling v. Baltimore

No. 75

Argued January 12, 1910

Decided February 21, 1910

216 U.S. 285


Where the unsoundness of a federal question so clearly appears from previous decisions of this Court as to foreclose the subject and leave no room for controversy, the writ of error will be dismissed.

This Court having decided in Carstairs v. Cochran, 193 U. S. 10, that the State of Maryland can, as an exertion of its taxing power, without denial of due process of law, tax tangible property having a situs within its borders irrespective of the residence of the owner, and can if necessary impose the obligation to pay such tax upon the custodian or possessor of such property, giving a lien thereon to secure reimbursement, the only federal question involved and which would give this Court jurisdiction in this case is so foreclosed that the writ of error is dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

This Court will not usurp the functions of a state court of last resort in order to distort, if not destroy for infirmity of state power, a state statute expressly upheld as valid by the state court.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a taxing law of the State of Maryland and the jurisdiction of this Court to consider the same on writ of error, are stated in the opinion.

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