McCulloch v. Maryland
4 Wheat. 316 (1819)
FACTS: The Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816, amid much opposition from the states. However, following many financial disasters throughout the nation, eight states, including Maryland, passed statutes restricting the “activities of the Bank or imposing heavy burdens on it.” The state of Maryland impeded the operations of the Bank by imposing a significant paper tax on all notes not chartered by the state. McCulloch, the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the Bank brought the case to the trial court which decided against him. The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed this decision. ISSUE: Does Congress have the authority to instate a bank, and if so, does the state of Maryland have the authority to tax a branch without violating the Constitution? REASONING: Mr. Chief Justice Marshall: In this case, the state of Maryland refuses to comply with federal legislation. In turn, the plaintiff refuses to comply with state legislation, questioning its validity. Thus, this is a demonstration of a conflict between the federal body and the sovereign states that compose it. First, the issue of the validity of the Second Bank of the United States must be evaluated. All things in this country are executed according to the Constitution. The Bank underwent heavy criticism and evaluation before becoming law by Congress. Although Maryland has contested that sovereignty of their state, the Constitution is a social contract formulated by convention. This contract comes from the people of the states, and bounds the states together under one union. Thus, the federal government is based on the consent of the citizens of the nation. Congress has a set of enumerated powers under the Constitution. However, if all of the powers of the branches of the federal government were listed in detail, the document would become obscure and hard to understand. Thus, it is understood that Congress may also act upon implied powers provided by...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document