Crandall v. Nevada

Crandall v. Nevada
Crandall v. Nevada
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued February 19, 1868
Decided March 16, 1868
Full case name Crandall v. State of Nevada
A U.S. state cannot inhibit a person from leaving the state by taxing them. judgment reversed, and the case remanded to the Supreme Court of the State of Nevada, with directions to discharge the plaintiff in error from custody.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Miller
Concurrence Chase
Concurrence Clifford

Crandall v. Nevada, 73 U.S. 35 (1868) was a U.S. Supreme Court case which established that a state cannot inhibit a person from leaving the state by taxing them. The opinion of the Court was written by Justice Miller. Chief Justice Chase and Justice Clifford concurred.

"But if the government has these rights on her own account, the citizen also has correlative rights. He has the right to come to the seat of the government... this right is in its nature independent of the will of any State over whose soil he must pass in the exercise of it." –Miller, J.


The facts

In 1867, a Nevada statute imposed a $1 tax on every person leaving the state by railroad, stage coach, or other vehicles engaged or employed in the business of transporting passengers for hire.

Issue and Holding

Does the tax violate Article I, section 10, which prohibits state "Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports?" No. Is the tax allowed? No.


The Court reasoned that the right to travel is a fundamental right. The people of the United States constitute one nation, and a State may not impose a tax on a person for the "privilege" of leaving the State or for passing through it.

The Court stated that a person traveling is different from the transportation of a good, therefore you can’t have imposts or duties on a person. The Court cited precedent from Cooley v. Board of Wardens to show that a tax "does not itself institute any regulation of commerce of a national character..." The Court also used precedent from McCulloch v. Maryland to show that the very presence of the tax was unconstitutional, not its degree of burdensomeness.

Concurring/Dissenting Opinions

Chief Justice Chase and Justice Clifford concurred. They based their reasoning on the commerce clause of the Constitution, saying that this tax impeded interstate commerce.


A state cannot inhibit a person from leaving the state by taxing them

See also

Further reading

  • Brest, Paul; et al. (2006). Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (5th ed.). New York: Aspen Publishers. ISBN 073555062X. 
  • Cresswell, Tim (2006). "The Right to Mobility: The Production of Mobility in the Courtroom". Antipode 38 (4): 735–754. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2006.00474.x. 

External links

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