UNITED STATES v. BUTLER

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
401
Petitioner 
United States
Respondent 
Butler
Opinion 
Term:
Location: Congress
Facts of the Case 

As part of the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act, Congress implemented a processing tax on agricultural commodities, from which funds would be redistributed to farmers who promised to reduce their acreage. The Act intended to solve the crisis in agricultural commodity prices which was causing many farmers to go under.

Question 

Did Congress exceed its constitutional taxing and spending powers with the Act?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Butler, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: US Const Amend 10; Agricultural Adjustment Act

The Court found the Act unconstitutional because it attempted to regulate and control agricultural production, an arena reserved to the states. Even though Congress does have the power to tax and appropriate funds, argued Justice Roberts, in this case those activities were "but means to an unconstitutional end," and violated the Tenth Amendment.

Cite this Page
UNITED STATES v. BUTLER. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 27 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1935/1935_401>.
UNITED STATES v. BUTLER, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1935/1935_401 (last visited July 27, 2014).
"UNITED STATES v. BUTLER," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 27, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1935/1935_401.