Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, United States Supreme Court case dealing with taxation of railroad properties. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. The case is most notable for what it did not hold, but was later misunderstood to have held--namely, that juristic persons are entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Note This Wikipedia entry deals with the legal concept legal person. The Fourteenth Amendment ( Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution is one of the post- Civil War Reconstruction Amendments, firstwas a
For its opinion, the Court consolidated three separate cases: Santa Clara County v. Santa Clara County is a County located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U Southern Pacific Railroad Company, California v. California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. Central Pacific Railroad Company, and California v. The Central Pacific Railroad was the California-to-Utah portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in North America Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
California had created a law which provided for taxation of railroad property. The taxpaying railroads challenged this law. They raised numerous defenses, including claims that the taxes violated equal protection. The lower court had entered judgment for the railroads, holding that the tax assessments were void because they improperly included property which was outside the jurisdiction of the agency that assessed the tax. 
The Supreme Court never reached the equal protection claims. Nonetheless, this case is sometimes incorrectly cited as holding that corporations, as juristic persons, are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Note This Wikipedia entry deals with the legal concept legal person.  Although the question of whether corporations were persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment had been argued in the lower courts and briefed for the Supreme Court, the Court did not base its decision on this issue. However, before oral argument took place, Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite announced: "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. Oral arguments are spoken presentations to a Judge or Appellate court by a Lawyer (or parties when representing themselves of the legal reasons The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the U Morrison Remick Waite, nicknamed "Mott" ( November 29 1816 &ndash March 23 1888) was the Chief Justice of the United States The Fourteenth Amendment ( Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution is one of the post- Civil War Reconstruction Amendments, first The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme Law of the United States. We are all of the opinion that it does. " This quotation was printed by the court reporter in the syllabus and case history above the opinion, but was not in the opinion itself. The Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States is the official charged with editing and publishing the Court's opinions both when announced and As such, it did not have any legal precedential value.  Nonetheless, the persuasive value of Waite's statement did influence later courts.  For these reasons, it is considered a turning point in the extension of constitutional rights to juristic persons.