McCulloch v Maryland (1819)

McCulloch v Maryland was argued for the Congress’s power to “incorporate a bank” which basically is the congress’s power to charter banks. The background of the case was Maryland decided to put a tax on banks that were not charter by Maryland which in turn was only one bank and that was the bank that Second Bank of the U.S that congress had chartered. Clearly noticing that they were being targeted by the law the bank refused to take part in the law which forced a lawsuit on James McCulloch. The cases was successfully appealed to the State Appellate court on the grounds that the Second Bank being unconstitutional for the constitution did  not specify that Congress can charter a bank. An Unanimous decision that John Marshall decided to uphold the ruling of Martin v Hunter, for he found that it was not necessary for the constitution to specify in a text that addressed banks.   

The issues of the case is whether Congress has the right to charter banks, and whether maryland had the power to tax said bank. In a decision that upheld congress’s power to charter banks the Supreme Court stated that federal law outbeats states laws for congress’s power to charter a bank stems from their power to spend and tax, for a bank is the institution in which they carry out the means to do so. And the enumerated power that makes it necessary and proper to carry out the implied power to charter banks. This would mean that maryland’s power to say that they can tax this bank is unconstitutional, for they cannot interfere with the congress’s power to tax and to spend.

The holdings of this case are relevant for congress to have powers that are not expressly stated within the constitution. The 10th amendment, where that the power to charter banks stem from the constitution which means that the sovereignty of power comes from the people and not the state. Additionally because of this that means in this case the federal law would be placed higher than that of the state law which allows for the overturn of maryland’s taxing laws on banks of the legislature. Additionally the bank’s power to tax and to spend embodies the nature of the implied powers because within the majority it is stated that congress can do what is necessary and proper to carry out laws which the banks are doing. This enumerated power of the necessary and proper clause is used injunction with the implied powers to produce the results of why banks can be chartered under the powers of congress.

In the case of NFIB v Sebelius the use of the case McCulloch v Maryland is used to interpret the way the implied power would work with the case, which was found not to have been justiciable. Because the implied powers that the commerce clause brought was not relevant enough for the supreme court to say that the powers of commerce can be used by congress to regulate the affordable healthcare act. Because the cases were not similar in using the implied powers with the necessary and proper clause, for the affordable healthcare act tries to use it to regulate the people’s purchase of healthcare while in McCulloch v Maryland the implied powers were used to charter a bank and proceed with helping with the power to tax and spend. However it is noted that the power to spend and collect taxes are used as both the foundations of both the cases because Roberts, uses this case to show the limits of what the implied powers and necessary and proper clause.     



“McCulloch v. Maryland 17 U.S. 316 (1819).” Justia Law. Ed. Chris Skelton. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015. <>


McCulloch v. Maryland 17 U.S. 316 (1819)



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