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Inter-Island Steam Navigation Co. v. Hawaii, 305 U.S. 306 (1938)

Inter-Island Steam Navigation Co. v. Hawaii

No. 94

Argued November 18, 1938

Decided December 5, 1938

305 U.S. 306


1. The conclusion of the Supreme Court of Hawaii that a common carrier of freight and passengers by water between different points in the Territory was a public utility within the meaning of the Hawaii Utilities Act of 1913, is accepted by this Court on review. P. 305 U. S. 311.

2. Enactment by Congress of the Shipping Act of 1916 did not oust the Public Utilities Commission of Hawaii of all jurisdiction whatsoever over common carriers by water between ports of the Territory, and did not abrogate the Commission's power to exact fees from such carriers to defray the expense of investigatory services which it still had authority to perform. Pp. 305 U. S. 311, 305 U. S. 313.

3. An Act of Congress will not be deemed to supersede a territorial law unless that intention is clear. P. 305 U. S. 312.

4. The imposition of a tax upon a common carrier by water between ports of the Territory of Hawaii (assumed to be engaged in interstate or foreign commerce), under an Act of the Territory to which Congress had expressly subjected such carrier, does not violate the commerce clause of the Federal Constitution. P. 305 U. S. 313.

5. Congress has plenary legislative authority over the people and government of the territories. P. 305 U. S. 314.

6. The general tax imposed on public utilities by the Hawaii Utilities Act of 1913, designed to effectuate a plan for control and supervision of the utilities of the Territory, is not void under the Fifth Amendment as applied to a particular utility which may not have directly benefited from the investigatory and supervisory services performed by the Commission under the Act. P. 305 U. S. 314.

96 F.2d 412 affirmed.

Certiorari, post, p. 580, to review the affirmance of a judgment for the Territory of Hawaii in a suit against the Navigation Company to collect taxes.

Page 305 U. S. 308

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