The famous American Case which the SC placed reliance on in SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill case


Here is the famous American case, McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 4 Wheat. 316 316 (1819), quoted by an 8-member bench of Pakistani Supreme Court, in its interim order in the case against Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Bandial has quoted: “the power to regulate is the power to destroy.

The actual quote was a little different: โ€the power to tax is the power to destroy.โ€

A brief background of the case is that Congress established a Bank at the federal level to help control the amount of unregulated currency issued by the banks belonging to the state. The states felt aggrieved and raised questions over the constitutionality of the Act passed by Congress. Maryland State decided to tax the very bank established by Congress. The matter came for adjudication before SCOTUS which formulated two questions to decide the matter:

i) whether the Congress has power to incorporate the bank;

ii) whether Maryland State has the power to tax that bank without violating the Constitution.

The first question was answered in positive while the second in negative. It was in this context Judge Marshal, who wrote the opinion of the Court, said “the power to tax is the power to destroy.โ€

Whether the quotation is apt in the present context or not is something the readers can judge for themselves. Enjoy reading!

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