• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court overturned a state tax on a federal corporation, affirming the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States.

Chief Justice John MarshallMarshall, James;Osborn v. Bank of the United States[Osborn v. Bank of the United States] wrote the opinion for the 6-1 majority, using an elaborate defense of federal judicial power to uphold the Supreme Court’s decision in McCulloch v. Maryland[case]McCulloch v. Maryland[MacCulloch v. Maryland] (1819). As with McCulloch, this case involved a state (Ohio) opposed to the Bank of the United States that was attempting to impose a tax on a federal corporation. Ohio state auditor Ralph Osborn seized the assets of the bank but lost a countersuit in federal court. On appeal, the Court upheld the lower federal court, broadly interpreting the Constitution’s phrase “cases arising under” the Constitution, thereby claiming that any case involving the mere possibility of a federal question could be carried to the federal courts. Justice William Johnson dissented, saying he thought this decision gave federal courts jurisdiction over too many potential questions.State taxation;Osborn v. Bank of the United States[Osborn v. Bank of the United States]


Judicial powers

McCray v. United States

McCulloch v. Maryland

States’ rights and state sovereignty

Categories: History