THE SUPREME COURT: The Power to Tax

Handing down one of the basic decisions of U.S. constitutional law, the Supreme Court ruled in McCulloch v. Maryland, back in 1819, that the Constitution exempts the Federal Government from state taxation. Setting forth his renowned dictum that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy," Chief Justice John Marshall declared that the states (and, by inference, local governments) "have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress."

Last week a five-man Supreme Court majority (Chief Justice Earl Warren, Justices Hugo Black, William...

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