« PreviousContinue »
But a state cannot, under the guise of a license tax, exclude from its jurisdiction a foreign corporation engaged in interstate commerce, nor impose any burdens upon such commerce within its limits. Where the business of a through line of railroads consists, in part, of carrying passengers and freight into Pennsylvania from other states and out of that state into other states, and a railroad company which is a corporation of Virginia is a link in that line, such company is engaged in interstate commerce in Pennsylvania. A license tax assessed under the Pennsylvania act of June 7, 1879 (Pub. Laws, 112, 120), by the auditor-general of that state against such company for keeping an office in Philadelphia for the use of its officers, stockholders, agents and employés, is a tax upon the company's business of interstate commerce, and is a violation of the commercial clause of the Constitution of the United States.
Nor can the jurisdiction of Federal courts be affected by state legislation. An act of a state seeking to make the right of foreign corporations to transact business in that state dependent upon surrender of right to remove causes to Federal courts, is invalid. A corporation is a citizen of the state by which created, so far as its right to sue and be sued in the Federal courts is concerned. Under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1887, a civil action in a Federal court for violations of the Interstate Commerce Act can be brought only in the district whereof defendant is an “inhabitant," as jurisdiction is not dependent on citizenship. ation created and existing solely under the laws of a state in which it has its principal office and place of business cannot be said to be an inhabitant of another state so that it can be sued there in the Federal court, although it does business there through agents."
In the pursuit of business authorized by the government of the United States, and under its protection, the corporations of other states cannot be prohibited or obstructed by any state. A foreign corporation has the same right as an individual to
Norfolk & W. R. Co. v. Pennsylvania, 136 U. S. 114, 34 L. ed. 394. 'Barron v. Burnside, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 295, 121 U. S. 186, 30 L. ed. 915. 'Connor y. Vicksburg & M. R. Co. 2 Inters. Com. Rep. 177, 1 L. R. A 331,
36 Fed. Rep. 273.
conduct everywhere the business of interstate transportation.' A constitutional requirement that a foreign corporation shall have a place of business and an agent upon whom service may be made within the state, is void as a restriction on navigation.' When a state carrier engages in interstate commerce it becomes a national instrumentality for the purposes of such commerce, and is subject to regulations prescribed by the national authority.' If Congress should employ a corporation of shipbuilders to construct a man-of-war, they would have the right to purchase the necessary timber and iron in any state of the Union; and in carrying on foreign and interstate commerce, corporations, equally with individuals, are within the protection of the commercial power of Congress, and cannot be molested in another state by state burdens or impediments.
This was decided in the case of Gloucester Ferry Co. v. Pennsylvania, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 382, 114 U. S. 204, 29 L. ed. 162, and affirmed in the recent case of Philadelphia & S. M. SS. Co. v. Pennsylvania, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 308, 122 U. S. 326, 30 L. ed. 1200; and although the decision in Paul v. Virginia, 75 U. S. 8 Wall, 168, 19 L. ed. 357, conformed to the doctrine of Bank of Augusta v. Earle, the following striking language was used by the court to wit: “At the time of the formation of the Constitution, a large part of the commerce of the world was carried on by corporations. The East India Company, the Hudson's Bay Company, the Hamburgh Company, the Levant Company, and the Virginia Company, may be named among the many corporations then in existence, which acquired, from the extent of their operations, celebrity throughout the commercial world. This state of facts forbids the supposition that it was intended in the grant of power to Congress, to exclude from its control the commerce of corporations. The language of the grant makes no reference to the instrumentalities by which commerce may be carried on; it is general and includes alike commerce by "Paul v. Virginin, 75 U. S. 8 Wall. 168, 19 L. ed. 357; Pensacola Teleg. Co.
v. Western U. Teleg. Co. 96 U. S. 12, 24 L. ed. 711; Doyle v. Continental Ing. Co. 94 U. S. 544, 24 L. ed. 152; Western U. Teleg. Co. v. Texas, 105
U. S. 460, 26 L. ed. 1067. ? Nero Orleans & M. Packet Co. v. James, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 599, 32 Fed.
individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations.” This language may be fairly supplemented by adding that when the Constitution was adopted, it could not have been supposed that the regulations of commerce to be made by Congress, might be of no avail to commercial corporations, or at least might be rendered nugatory with regard to them, in consequence of state restrictions upon their power to act as corporations in any other state than that of their origin.
Congress can confer upon a state corporation powers not contained in its original charter.' If Congress, in the execution of its powers, chooses to employ the intervention of a proper corporation, whether of the state or out of the state, no reason suggests itself why it should not do so. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent it from making contracts with, or conferring powers upon, state corporations forcarrying out its own legitimate purposes. Congress may, in the exercise of its power to regulate interstate commerce, construct or authorize individuals or corporations to construct railroads across the states and territories of the United States.' It may authorize a private corporation to occupy the navigable waters within a state and appropriate soil under them, for purposes of interstate commerce, without consent of the state."
If it be argued that Congress cannot confer powers on a state corporation the position is untenable. It has used their agency for carrying on its own purposes from an early period. It adopted as post roads the turnpikes belonging to the various turnpike corporations of the country as far back as such corporations were known, and subjected them to burdens and accorded to them privileges arising out of that relation. It continued the same system with regard to canals and railroads when these modes of transportation came into existence. Nearly half a century ago, it constituted every railroad built or to be built in the United States, a post route. This, of course, involved duties and conferred privileges and powers not contained in their original charter. In 1866, Congress authorized every steam railroad company in the United States to carry passengers and goods on their way from one state to another, and to receive compensation therefor, and to connect with roads of other states, so as to form continuous lines for the transportation of the same to the place of destination. The powers thus conferred were independent of the powers conferred by the charter of any railroad company. Surely these acts of Congress cannot at this late day be condemned as unconstitutional exertions of power.' Stockton v. Baltimore & N. Y. R. Co. 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 411, 32 Fed.
Stockton v. Baltimore & N. Y. R. Co. 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 411, 32 Fed.
Rep. 9. California v. Central Pac. R. Co. 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 153, 127 U. S. 1, 32
L. ed. 150. 3 Stockton v. Baltimore & N. Y. R. Co. 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 411, 32 Fed. Rep.
9; Decker v. Baltimore & N. Y. R. Co. 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 434, 30 Fed. Rep. 723.
COMMERCE, STATE AND INTERSTATE.
$ 135. State Commissions to Regulate Charges. .
$ 135. State Commissions to Regulate Charges.
The charter of a company is not a contract, the obligation of which is impaired by a state statute creating a commission to provide for the regulation of freight and passenger rates, prevent unjust discrimination and enforce certain police regulations affecting railroad companies doing business in that state. Giving railroad commissioners power to fix rates is not an unlawful delegation of legislative power."
An act prescribing different maximum rates to be charged for the carriage of passengers by railroads within the state, the roads being classified according to their length, is not in violation of the constitutional provision against special legislation, as its provisions apply to each class uniforınly.' A statute concerning railroad classification and charges covering the entire subject will repeal the common law, and the only remedy for an overcharge by a carrier is that given by the statute. Such acts usually give to the state board of railroad commissioners power to make a full schedule of maximum rates of transportation charges of railroad companies, after the investigation of any complaint; which sched
Stone v. Farmers L. & T. Co. (“R. R. Commission Cases") 116 U. S. 307, 29
L. ed. 636. "Chicago & N. W. R. Co. v. Dey, 2 Inters. Com. Rep. 325, 1 L. R. A. 744,
35 Fed. Rep. 866. a Doro v. Beidelman, 49 Ark. 325. * Young v. Kansas City, St. J. & C. B. R. Co. 33 Mo. App. 509; Mc Whorter
v. Pensacola & A. R. Co. 2 L. R. A. 504, 24 Fla. 417, 12 Am. St. Rep. 220.