Craig v. Missouri 4 Peters 410 (1830)

AuthorLeonard W. Levy

Page 704

Craig defined BILLS OF CREDIT, which no state may issue without violating Article I, section 10, of the Constitution. By a 4?3 vote the Supreme Court ruled that bills of credit mean any paper medium intended to circulate as money on the authority of a state, even if not designated as legal tender in payment of debts. Missouri, lacking currency, authorized state loan offices to issue loan certificates, on collateral, to private citizens, in amounts ranging from fifty cents to ten dollars; the certificates could be used for payment of taxes and official salaries. Chief Justice JOHN MARSHALL'S opinion invalidating the state act, though constitutionally correct, ignored economic realities: many states desperately needed a circulating medium. Senator THOMAS H. BENTON, for Missouri, defending its certificate law before the Court, thunderingly defended state sovereignty. The disastrous consequences of Craig provoked denunciations of the court and yet another movement in Congress to repeal section 25 of the JUDICIARY ACT OF 1789, the grant of APPELLATE JURISDICTION under which the Court had reversed state...

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