Plaintiff corporation owned and operated oil pipe lines lying wholly within the state of Mississippi. Oil transported through these lines was later pumped into railroad tank cars and shipped out of state. The Mississippi State Tax Commission levied a tax against plaintiff measured by its gross receipts for transporting oil through the pipe lines. The state supreme court sustained the tax, ruling that the operation of the pipe lines was intrastate rather than interstate commerce and that the tax was "merely on the privilege of operating a pipe line wholly within this state as a local activity." On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, plaintiff alleged (I) that the tax was construed by the state supreme court to be a tax on the privilege of operating the pipe lines, and (2) that the operation of the pipe lines was in fact interstate commerce. Accordingly, plaintiff contended that the tax was unconstitutional, proceeding from the premise that a state may not tax the privilege of engaging in interstate commerce. Held, affirmed. Eight justices, considering the plaintiff an operator in interstate commerce, divided evenly on the privilege tax issue. Justice Burton considered the plaintiff to be engaged in intrastate commerce and decided in favor of the tax. Interstate Oil Pipe Line Co. v. Stone, 337 U.S. 662, 69 S.Ct. 1264 (1949).
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-COMMERCE CLAUSE-STATE TAXATION OF INTERSTATE COMMERCE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol48/iss3/9