McCulloch v. Maryland

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McCulloch v. Maryland,

case decided in 1819 by the U.S. Supreme Court, dealing specifically with the constitutionality of a Congress-chartered corporation, and more generally with the dispersion of power between state and federal governments. After the First Bank of the United States (1791) had folded in 1811 due to a lack of congressional support, inflation in the years following the War of 1812 compelled Congress to establish (1816) a new national bank. The Second Bank of the United States was authorized by Congress to help control the unregulated issuance of currency by state banks. Many continued to oppose the bank's constitutionality, and Maryland set an example by imposing a tax on all banks not chartered by the state. When the U.S. branch bank in Baltimore refused to pay taxes, Maryland brought suit for collection from the bank. Chief Justice John Marshall, who wrote the uncontested opinion, gave trenchant expression to the doctrine of implied powers: "Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional." The chartering of a bank, according to the Court, was a power implied from the power over federal fiscal operations. Because the state cannot impede constitutional federal laws, the tax was voted unconstitutional. One of the most important decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, Marshall's opinion called for a broad interpretation of the powers of the federal government. The case became the legal cornerstone of subsequent expansions of federal power.


See study by Gerald Gunther, ed. (1969).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The Supreme Court already ruled on this case -- 200 years ago in its landmark McCulloch v. Maryland decision.
(24) It was the cornerstone of Chief Justice Marshall's argument in McCulloch v. Maryland for why Maryland could not tax the federal Bank of the United States.
This conventional wisdom originates with McCulloch v. Maryland, which established that nationally chartered banks are federal instrumentalities entitled to regulate themselves free from state law--even when national law fails to address the risks that state law seeks to regulate.
Seen against the young nation's economic and physical expansion, leading to the "Missouri Crisis" are John Marshall's decision in the McCulloch v. Maryland case and a forward-looking theological interpretation of humanity's duties, exemplified in the "Baltimore Sermon" that William Ellery Channing preached for the installation of Jared Sparks.
(1) Dan's essay on McCulloch v. Maryland, (2) "Banking on National Power," concludes the twentieth volume of this journal.
Madison (4) and McCulloch v. Maryland, (5) several passages from which have literally been carved in stone as reminders at the justices' version of "poet's corner" in the crypt-like basement of the Supreme Court.
The federal government has no inherent legislative power: "This government is acknowledged by all as one of enumerated powers." (McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 US [4 Wheat] 316, 4 L.Ed.
The Framers of the amendment, as well as judges and commentators of the era, expected courts to review acts of Congress under the deferential standard laid out by Chief Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland.(14) The amendment grants Congress the power to enforce its provisions by "appropriate" legislation, a word that called to their minds the Chief Justice's canonical opinion.
Supreme Court put it 175 years ago in McCulloch v. Maryland) should remain vested in the General Assembly -- we submit it should be the Comptroller rather than the Board of Public Works who crafts any change.