Bi-Metallic Investment Company v. State Board of Equalization

239 U.S. 441, 36 S. Ct. 141, 60 L.Ed. 372 (1915)


The State Board of Equalization and Colorado Tax Commission increased the valuation of all assessed property in Colorado by 40 cents. The P sought to have the tax increase halted at trial and was successful. P argues that the increase came before it had any opportunity to be heard, which violates due process of law.


“Whether all individuals have a constitutional right to be heard before a matter can be decided in which all are equally concerned.”


No, held. When a rule impacts everyone, it is impractical that every voice can be directly heard. Their rights are protected by office holders who the general public vote in and out based on their decision making. For example, if there was an increased tax on everyone, every impacted tax payer couldn’t have said to have their due process rights violated. There must “must be a limit to individual argument in such matters if government is to go on.” When a relatively small number of people are impacted, it is perhaps practically necessary for hearings to occur where direct voices can be heard. But where everyone is affected, it is impracticable.

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