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STEWART DRY GOODS CO. V. LEWIS, 287 U. S. 9 (1932)

U.S. Supreme Court

Stewart Dry Goods Co. v. Lewis, 287 U.S. 9 (1932)

Stewart Dry Goods Co. v. Lewis

No. 27

Argued October 21, 1932

Decided October 24, 1932*

287 U.S. 9


A bill in equity to restrain the collection of state taxes under a statute alleged to violate the federal Constitution should not be dismissed on bill and answer upon the ground that the statute affords an adequate legal remedy by payment under protest and action to recover when the allegations of the bill put in doubt whether, if that remedy were pursued and the claim allowed, satisfaction of it could be secured certainly and within a reasonable time out of the fund designated by statute as the source of such payments. P. 287 U. S. 10.


These were four suits by retail merchants seeking to enjoin collection of taxes on gross sales, measured by progressively increasing rates. All the bills invoked the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, in two of them, it was claimed also that the tax operated as a direct burden on interstate commerce. By stipulation, the cases were heard together and disposed of by one opinion of the three-judge District Court. The cases were treated as submitted upon bill and answer, as well as upon plaintiffs' motion for preliminary

Page 287 U. S. 10

injunctions and defendants' motions to dismiss, and all suits were dismissed. The tenth section of the Kentucky statute, referred to in the court's opinion, is copied below.**

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