Head Money Cases
|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||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|
Pursuant to the Immigration Act of 1882, officers from the customhouse in the Port of New York began collecting a tax from ships of fifty cents for each immigrant on board who arrived at Ellis Island. Multiple ship owners sued because they were transporting Dutch immigrants, and the Netherlands had a 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 US Constitution as "the supreme law of the land" equal to any domestic federal law, do not hold a privileged position above other acts of Congress. Hence, other laws affecting the "enforcement, modification, or repeal" of treaties are legitimate.
- Passenger Cases: A similar case covering a head tax on British immigrants.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 112