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Massachusetts v. Mellon

Supreme Court of the United States
262 U.S. 447 (1923)


Facts

The United States (defendant) passed a law providing appropriations of tax funds to the states for the purpose of implementing programs to reduce infant mortality. The law required states accepting funds to report on their compliance with program requirements and authorized the withholding of funds to any state found not to be in compliance. The state of Massachusetts filed suit claiming that the law presented an unconstitutional infringement upon the sovereignty of the states. The United States Supreme Court consolidated Massachusetts’ case with the case of Frothingham. Frothingham was an individual taxpayer who filed suit claiming that the law violated the Constitution by implementing a governmental taking of property, in the form of taxation, without due process of law.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Sutherland, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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