Logourl black

McCulloch v. Maryland

United States Supreme Court
17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316 (1819)


Facts

In 1816, Congress passed an act that incorporated the Bank of the United States. In 1817, the Bank opened up a branch in the state of Maryland (plaintiff). In 1818, the Maryland state legislature passed an act to impose a tax on all out-of-state banks operating in the state of Maryland. Although the act was general in nature, the Bank of the United States was the only such bank in Maryland at that time and was thus the only establishment affected by the tax. James McCulloch (defendant), head of the Maryland branch of the Bank of the United States (Bank), refused to pay the tax. This lawsuit ensued and the case was appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The court of appeals upheld Maryland’s argument that because the Constitution was specifically silent on the subject of whether the United States government could charter a bank, the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional. The case was then appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

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 (Marshall, C.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.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.