Alaska Fish Co. v. Smith

In Alaska Fish Co. v. Smith, 255 U.S. 44 (1921), a statute of Alaska levying a heavy license tax upon persons manufacturing fish oil, etc., was upheld as constitutional against the contention that it would prohibit and confiscate plaintiff's business. "Even if the tax," the court said, "should destroy a business it would not be made invalid or require compensation upon the ground alone. Those who enter upon a business take that risk. . . . The acts must be judged by their contents not by the allegations as to their purpose in the complaint. We know of no objection to exacting a discouraging rate as the alternative to giving up a business, when the legislature has the full power of taxation."