Head Money Cases

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Head Money Cases
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 19–20, 1884
Decided December 8, 1884
Full case name Edye and Another v. Robertson, Collector; Cunard Steamship Company v. Robertson; Same v. Same
Citations 112 U.S. 580 (more)
5 S. Ct. 247; 28 L. Ed. 798; 1884 U.S. LEXIS 1909; 3 A.F.T.R. (P-H) 2473
Prior history On writs of error from the Circuit Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York
Holding
The Court established the precedent that treaties do not hold a privileged position above other acts of Congress, and other laws affecting "its enforcement, modification, or repeal" are legitimate.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Morrison Waite
Associate Justices
Samuel F. Miller · Stephen J. Field
Joseph P. Bradley · John M. Harlan
William B. Woods · T. Stanley Matthews
Horace Gray · Samuel Blatchford
Case opinions
Majority Miller, joined unanimously
Laws applied
U.S. Const.

The Head Money Cases, 112 U.S. 580 (1884)[1], also referred to as Edye v. Robertson, were a group of cases decided together by the United States Supreme Court. The decision was issued on December 8, 1884.

Background[edit]

Officers from the customhouse in the Port of New York began collecting a tax from ships of 50 cents for each immigrant ("per head") on board as they arrived at Ellis Island based on the Immigration Act of 1882. Multiple ship owners sued because they were transporting Dutch immigrants from Rotterdam and the Netherlands had an earlier treaty with the United States which seemed to prohibit the tax.

Decision[edit]

The case established the precedent that treaties, which are described in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution as "the supreme law of the land," along with the Constitution itself as well as Federal legislation made pursuant to the Constitution, do not hold a privileged position above other acts of Congress, and other laws affecting "its enforcement, modification, or repeal" are legitimate.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Works related to Head Money Cases at Wikisource