Vanderbilt Law Review

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Constitutional Law-State and Local Tax-- Nondiscriminatory Ad Valorem Property Tax on Imports Stored in Warehouse Pending Sale Is Not Prohibited by Import-Export Clause

The framers of the Constitution enacted the import-export clause with the apparent intent that it remedy shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation and achieve specified national goals. Since the Articles of Confederation allowed individual states to regulate commerce as they saw fit, the seaboard stales, through whose ports goods in foreign commerce had to pass, were able to impose duties on imports destined for inland states. One reason for the import-export clause was to preserve harmony among the states by remedying this distribution of power that had allowed the coastal states to tax the citizens of other states, the ultimate consumers, by the simple expedient of levying imposts and duties on goods passing through their ports.

Walter S. Weems


Constitutional Law-- Free Exercise of Religion-Religious Snake Handling Abated as a Common Law Public Nuisance by Tennessee Supreme Court

The State of Tennessee sought to enjoin defendant-pastor and deacon of a charismatic religious sect' from handling poisonous snakes or drinking strychnine as part of their church services. The State contended that the handling of poisonous snakes violated Tennessee's Snake Handlers Act 2 but declined criminal prosecution based on the statute, insisting instead that an injunction should be granted since snakes were being handled on a continuing basis in the presence of children and others attending the church services.Defendants argued that an injunction would interfere impermissibly with the free exercise of their religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the United States Constitution,' as well as by the substantially broader protection of the Tennessee constitution. The trial court, primarily basing its action on a finding of a violation of the Snake Handlers Act, granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the handling of poisonous snakes by defendants in any church service within the county. The court of appeals, identifying the protection of persons exposed to defendants' activities as the State's only legitimate interest in an action to abate a public nuisance, found the injunction over broad. Thus the intermediate appellate court modified the injunction to a "consenting adult" standard,enjoining defendants from handling poisonous snakes in such manner as would endanger the life or health of persons who did not consent to exposure to such danger. On petition for certiorari to the Tennessee Supreme Court, held, reversed and remanded.'

Mary Martin Schaffner


Constitutional Law-Search and Seizure-- Attachment of Tracking Device to Automobile Constitutes a Search Subject to Fourth Amendment

Defendants,I charged both with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, filed motions to suppress evidence obtained by state agents who attached an electronic tracking device'to the exterior of the defendants' van while the vehicle was parked in a public parking lot. The agents subsequently used the device to track the van to a location where incriminating evidence was found.' Defendants argued that the warrantless attachment of the device constituted a search in violation of the fourth amendment.' The government contended that since a citizen has no reasonable expectation of privacy in a vehicle parked in a public parking lot or driven on public roads, defendants' right of privacy was not invaded and therefore the installation of the device did not constitute a search under the fourth amendment.' The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida suppressed the evidence, holding that use of the tracking device was an illegal search.

Ronald George Harris