Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co

In Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), where the purpose and effect of the Amendment were first drawn in question, the Chief Justice reviewed at length the legislative and judicial action which prompted its adoption and then, referring to its text and speaking for a unanimous court, said, pp. 17-18: "It is clear on the face of this text that it does not purport to confer power to levy income taxes in a generic sense - an authority already possessed and never questioned - or to limit and distinguish between one kind of income taxes and another, but that the whole purpose of the Amendment was to relieve all income taxes when imposed from apportionment from a consideration of the source whence the income was derived. Indeed in the light of the history which we have given and of the decision in the Pollock Case and the ground upon which the ruling in that case was based, there is no escape from the conclusion that the Amendment was drawn for the purpose of doing away for the future with the principle upon which the Pollock Case was decided, that is, of determining whether a tax on income was direct not by a consideration of the burden placed on the taxed income upon which it directly operated, but by taking into view the burden which resulted on the property from which the income was derived, since in express terms the Amendment provides that income taxes, from whatever source the income may be derived, shall not be subject to the regulation of apportionment."