Solicitor General Lehmann for the United States.
No appearance for respondents.
Mr. Chief Justice White delivered the opinion of the court:
The petition presented by the United States in this case for the allowance of a writ of certiorari, which was not opposed, proceeded upon the basis that the decision below involved a principle concerning the collection of internal revenue taxes of farreaching importance, and which, if thereafter applied in accordance with what it was urged was the rule established by the lower court, would over- [220 U.S. 547, 548] throw practices prevailing as to the collection of internal revenue taxes for a long period of time, founded upon a well-settled administrative construction, and thus produce at least great confusion.
As the record at least prima facie tended to sustain these contentions of the government, the writ of certiorari was granted. With candor, in the argument at bar, while perspicuously discussing the legal propositions which it was deemed were involved when the certiorari was petitioned for, the government conceded that a closer scrutiny of the record made it exceedingly doubtful whether the action of the court below, when accurately tested, dealt with the principle which it was deemed rendered the granting of the writ necessary. Coming to consider the record, we conclude that it establishes that the doubt suggested by the government is well founded, and therefore, if we were to consider and decide the case, we would but review the action of the court below in regard to a question as to which, under the judiciary act of 1891 [26 Stat. at L. 826, chap. 517, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 488], the action of the court was final, and which, neither from its character nor importance, was within the scope of the grant of power to review by certiorari.
After giving the matter most careful consideration because of the precedent as to future cases which must arise from the action we take in this, we have concluded that, under the conditions which we have stated, our duty is not to pass upon the merits of the case, but to dismiss the writ of certiorari. Our order will therefore be, writ of certiorari dismissed.