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McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Commission

United States Supreme Court
411 U.S. 164 (1973)


McClanahan (plaintiff), a member of the Navajo Tribe, lived and worked on the reservation in the State of Arizona (defendant). Arizona deducted state income taxes from McClanahan’s paycheck. McClanahan filed a protest of the taxes and requested a refund, because all her income was earned on the reservation. Arizona took no action on McClanahan’s claim. McClanahan sued in Arizona Superior Court, seeking return of the money and a declaratory judgment that the state could not assess taxes on income earned by Indians on the reservation. The Arizona Superior Court dismissed the action for failure to state a claim. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that Arizona had a right to tax federal employees and, therefore, that imposition of a state tax did not infringe on the Indian’s right to self-governance. The Arizona Supreme Court declined review. McClanahan petitioned for certiorari from the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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