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Rector of Christ Church v. County of Philadelphia, 65 U.S. 24 How. 300 300 (1860)

Rector of Christ Church v. County of Philadelphia

65 U.S. (24 How.) 300


In 1833, the Legislature of Pennsylvania enacted that

"the real property, including ground rents, now belonging and payable to Christ Church Hospital, in the City of Philadelphia, so long as the same shall continue to belong to the said hospital, shall be and remain free from taxes."

In 1851, they enacted that all property, real or personal, belonging to any association or incorporated company which is now by law exempt from taxation, other than that which is in the actual use and occupation of such association or incorporated company, and from which an income or revenue is derived by the owners thereof, shall hereafter be subject to taxation in the same manner and for the same purposes as other property is now by law taxable, and so much of any law as is hereby altered and supplied be and the same is hereby repealed.

This last law was not in violation of the Constitution of the United States. It is in the nature of such a privilege as the act of 1833 confers, that it exists bene placitum, and may be revoked at the pleasure of the sovereign.

Page 65 U. S. 301

The facts of the case are stated in the opinion of the court, and also the decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which was alleged to be in conflict with the Constitution of the United States.

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