Head Money Cases
The Head Money Cases, 112 U.S. 580 (1884), also referred to as Edye v. Robertson, were a group of cases decided together by the United States Supreme Court. The decision was issued on December 8, 1884.
|Head Money Cases|
|Argued November 19–20, 1884
Decided December 8, 1884
|Full case name||Edye and Another v. Robertson, Collector; Cunard Steamship Company v. Robertson; Same v. Same|
|Citations||112 U.S. 580 (more)|
|Prior history||On writs of error from the Circuit Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York|
|The Court established the precedent that treaties do not hold a privileged position above other acts of Congress, and other laws affecting "its enforcement, modification, or repeal" are legitimate.|
|Majority||Miller, joined unanimously|
Officers from the customhouse in the Port of New York began collecting a tax from ships of 50 cents for each immigrant ("per head") on board who arrived at Ellis Island, based on the Immigration Act of 1882. Multiple ship owners sued because they were transporting Dutch immigrants from Rotterdam and the rest of the Netherlands had an earlier treaty with the United States that seemed to prohibit the tax.
The case established the precedent that treaties, which are described in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution as "the supreme law of the land," along with the Constitution itself as well as Federal legislation made pursuant to the Constitution, do not hold a privileged position above other acts of Congress, and other laws affecting "its enforcement, modification, or repeal" are legitimate.
- Passenger Cases: A similar case covering a head tax on British immigrants.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 112