previous
next

§ 459. “Nor Shall the Commonwealth.”

The exemption of State property from Federal taxation is also secured. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided that the general principles of the Constitution forbid the Congress to tax the necessary governmental instrumentalities of the States, such as the salaries of officers and the revenues of municipal corporations, on the ground that such a power would enable the Congress to destroy the States, which nothing short of the amending power, the sovereignty, should be able to do in a federal system of government. (Collector v. Day, 11 Wall. 113.) The United States courts determine, of course, in what these necessary instrumentalities, in any particular case, consist. (Burgess, Political Sc., ii. p. 151.)

States not to coin money.

115. A State shall not coin money460, nor make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender461 in payment of debts.

UNITED STATES.—No State shall … coin money; … make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.—Art. I., sec. x., sub-s. 1.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The clause in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was in identical words—with the exception of “or” for “nor.” At the Adelaide session, 1897, it was introduced and passed as it now stands. (Conv. Deb., Adel., p. 1204.) At the Melbourne session, a suggestion by the Legislative Council of Tasmania, to insert after “money” the words “unless the Parliament otherwise provides” was negatived. A suggestion by the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, to omit the provision as to legal tender, and insert “unless the Parliament otherwise determines,” was also negatived. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 653-4.)

previous
next