Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

CONGRESS

REGULATING INTERSTATE COMMERCE IN CERTAIN

CASES.

JANUARY 24, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. LITTLEFIELD, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the

following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 13655.]

The Committee on the Judiciary, to which was referred House bill 13655, which reads as follows:

A BILL To limit the effect of the regulation of commerce between the several States and Territories

in certain cases.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the interstate-commerce character of all shipments of intoxicating liquors, including ale, wine, and beer, from one State or Territory into another State or Territory shall terminate immediately. upon their arrival within the boundary of the State or Territory in which the place of destination is situated and before the delivery of said liquors to the consignee, and said liquors and all corporations and persons engaged in such shipment shall then become subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such State or Territory enacted in the exercise of its police powers to the same extent and in the same manner as though such liquors had been produced in such State or Territory, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of being introduced therein in original packages or otherwise: Provided, That shipments of such liquors entirely through a State or Territory and not intended for delivery therein shall not be subject to the provisions of this act, nor shall this act authorize the infringement of the right of common carriers to continuously transport such merchandise from without such State to a station therein.

SEC. 2. That in all such shipments to be paid for on delivery, commonly called C. 0. D. shipments, the sale shall be held to be made at the place of destination or where the money is paid or the goods delivered. having had the same under consideration, make the following report:

This bill does not present a new question to the Congress.

The necessity for such legislation as it proposes has been declared by the House of Representatives upon several occasions. The principle upon which this measure is based was necessarily involved when Congress passed the Wilson Act of August 8, 1890. The main purpose of this bill was approved by a practically unanimous report of

HR-59-2-Vol 1-26

the Judiciary Committee on the so-called Hepburn interstate liquor bill. (See Congressional Record, 2d sess., 57th Cong., p. 1327.)

This bill seeks to supplement the act of August 8, 1890, commonly referred to as the Wilson law. The Wilson law having been sustained by decisions of the United States Supreme Court, this bill does not in any wise amend it or any part of it, but is simply supplemental thereto.

The words “ before the delivery of said goods to the consignee" and "all corporations and persons engaged in such shipment shall then become subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such State or Territory enacted in the exercise of its police powers to the same extent and in the same manner as though such liquors had been produced in such State or Territory and the C. 0. D. section," etc., contain the substantial additions to the act of August 8, 1890, and constitute the substantial changes in existing law.

The proviso “ that shipments of such liquors entirely through a State or Territory and not intended for delivery therein shall not be subject to the provisions of this act, nor shalĩ this act authorize the infringement of the right of common carriers to continuously transport such merchandise from without such State to a station therein " was placed in the bill in order that there might be no question about the interference with trans-State shipments which were to pass entirely through a State and which were not intended for deÎivery therein, and so that the ordinary right of a common carrier to transport merchandise through or to a station within such State without being held up at the State line could not be interfered with.

Section 2 of the bill makes the situs of such sales which are to be paid for on delivery, and commonly called “ C. O. D. shipments," "the place of destination, or where the money is paid or the goods delivered," and in this the common practice of the commercial world is followed, as the consignor of such shipments has and intends to retain control over the property in them until their delivery to the consignee upon the payment of the price of the goods and the transportation charges.

It is a well-accepted fact that the States, under what are known as their “ police powers," have full control within their own borders of all those subjects which affect the health, morals, peace, and prosperity of their citizens.

It is equally well accepted that the Congress of the United States, under section 8 of Article I of the Federal Constitution, has exclusive power to regulate “ commerce among the several States.” The constitutional questions respecting the exercise of these several powers by the States and the Federal Government have arisen by reason of the difficulty in determining the exact line of demarcation in vari

ous cases.

It may be noted that every argument made in behalf of the exclusive power of Congress over interstate commerce in cases where there is apparently the slightest conflict between untrammeled interstate commerce and the police regulations of a State recites or assumes the well-established fact that one of the most potent inducements which led to the formation of the Constitution was the commercial confusion that existed in the country when the States were separate and independent.

While this historical fact is admitted, there is another historical fact that ought not to be forgotten, and that is that the police power of the States is older than the commerce clause of the Constitution and was never surrendered by the States to the Federal Government, but was reserved to the States by the very nature of the Constitution, and afterwards declared by the adoption of the tenth amendment to have been reserved because not granted away.

There has not been a more perplexing problem presented to the Supreme Court of the United States from time to time than the question of what a State may do or may not do in given cases affecting interstate commerce more or less. The police power of the State is limited to the jurisdiction of the State, but within such jurisdiction the State is supreme.

The control of Congress over commerce essentially foreign or interstate is exclusive.

It has been invariably held by the Supreme Court that the right to license, tax, prohibit, or otherwise regulate the traffic in intoxicating liquors within their own limits belongs exclusively to the States. (Mugler 1. Kansas, 123 U. S., 623, and cases cited. See also Ripple 2. Texas, 193 U. S., 504.)

Nearly all of the States have passed laws as police regulations, differing more or less in their provisions, for the prohibition, license, or other regulation of the traffic in intoxicating liquors within their respective jurisdictions. In order to perfect their internal policy some of the States, and notably Iowa and Kansas, some fifteen or more years ago attempted to prevent the carrying on of the liquor business in the States by parties from the outside. A particular statute of Iowa attempting to do this, upon being reviewed by the Supreme Court, in the case of Bowman v. Northwestern Railway Company (125 U. S., 465), was held to be unconstitutional, because the Iowa statute, by its operation and effect, was “essentially a regulation of commerce among the States, and not sanctioned by the authority, express or implied, of Congress.”

LEISY V. HARDIN.

In a subsequent case, viz, Leisy v. Hardin (135 U. S., 100), the court held what was a logical sequence of the Bowman decision, and stated that the right to import liquors from a sister State and the first sale in the original, unbroken package could not be interfered with by State law in the absence of Federal legislation removing the “restriction" of the interstate-commerce clause of the Constitution.

The effect of this decision of the Supreme Court was to deny to the States all power to control or prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors transported from one State into another while they remained in the original package and had not become “mingled with the mass of property within the State.”

Throughout the Leisy case the court, while constrained to declare the Iowa statute unconstitutional, nevertheless, seeing the embarrassing, if not intolerable, situation in which such decision would leave the States in respect of the exercise of their police powers as affecting the liquor traffic, used expressions like the following, indicating clearly that the desired redress lay in legislation by Congress: “Yet a subject matter which has been confided exclusively to Congress

*

by the Constitution is not within the jurisdiction of the police powers of the State unless placed there by Congressional action” (135 U. S., p. 108); “ hence, inasmuch as interstate commerce, consisting in the transportation, purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities, is national in its character, and must be governed by a uniform system, so long as Congress does not pass any law to regulate it, or allow the States so to do

(ibid., p. 109);

can a State, in the absence of legislation on the part of Congress, prohibit either importation from abroad or from a sister State, or when imported, prohibit their sale by the importer!” (ibid., p. 110);

essentially a regulation of commerce among the States, and not sanctioned by the authority, express or implied, of Congress (ibid., p. 111):

The States can not exercise that power (to regulate interstate commerce) without the assent of Congress

(ibid., p. 119); “the responsibility is upon Congress, so far as the regulation of interstate commerce is concerned, to remove the restriction upon the State in dealing with imported articles of trade within its limits, which have not been mingled with the common mass of property therein, if, in its judgment, the end to be secured justifies and requires such action” (ibid., p. 123); " * in the absence of Congressional permission to do so, the State had no power to interfere by seizure or any other action in prohibition of the sale by the foreign or nonresident importer” (ibid., pp. 124-125). The court expressly held in this case that interstate transportation did not end, and the commerce clause applied until the liquor was “ mingled in the common mass of property in the State,” saying, “ Under our decision in Bowman v. Chicago Railway Company, supra, they had the right to import this beer into that State, and in the view which we have expressed they had the right to sell it, by which act alone it would become mingled with the common mass of property within the State” (ibid., p. 124).

THE WILSON LAW.

To remove the effect of this decision, and acting upon the suggestion of Chief Justice Fuller in delivering the opinion of the court from which the above excerpts are taken, and to remove the impediment occasioned by the silence of Congress to the exercise of the police powers of the several States, the Wilson law, so called, approved August 8, 1890, was passed, Leisy v. Hardin having been decided April 28, 1890. That act provided “that all fermented, distilled, or other intoxicating liquors or liquids transported into any State or Territory or remaining therein for use, consumption, sale, or storage therein shall, upon arrival in such State or Territory, be subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such State or Territory enacted in the exercise of its police powers to the same extent and in the same manner as though such liquids or liquors had been produced in such State or Territory, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of being introduced therein in original packages or otherwise.

The constitutionality of the Wilson law was specifically upheld in the Rahrer case, coming up from the State of Kansas, decided May 25, 1891, and reported in 140 U. S., 545. In a subsequent case, coming up from the State of South Carolina, under the operations of the dispensary law of that State, the statute of South Carolina, in some of

its provisions, was held to be unconstitutional on the ground that they were discriminatory as to the products of other States (Scott v. Donald, 165 U. S., 58). The next case to come before the Supreme Court involving a construction of the Wilson law was that of Rhodes v. Iowa (170 U. S., 412). The decision in this case, except as to the point that the moving of interstate-commerce goods from the platform to the freight warehouse was a part of the interstate-commerce transportation, turned on the interpretation of the language used by Congress in the Wilson law,"arrival in such State or Territory.”

As in the transportation cases involving intoxicating liquors, there was a strong dissenting opinion filed by some of the judges, but the Rhodes case held that State jurisdiction, under the wording of the Wilson law, attached only after the delivery of the interstate shipment to the consignee.

While it destroyed the commercial value of the liquor and defeated to a large degree the object of the transportation, and took the life out of an extraterritorial contract, this practically defeated a large part of the intention of Congress in the passage of that law. This is evident, not only from the debates in the Fifty-first Congress, by which the Wilson law was passed, by the contention of the proponents of the pending bill and the admission of its opponents in the hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, but also from the nature of the evils which the Wilson law was originally designed to correct. On the same day the Rhodes decision was handed down-namely, May 9, 1898—the two cases of Vance v. Vandercook Company were decided (170 U. S., 438). The second of these cases involved simply questions concerning the jurisdiction of the lower courts and was in nowise connected with the question of interstate commerce.

In the first case of Vance v. Vandercook what was decided, and all that was decided, was that a certain provision of the South Carolina dispensary law was unconstitutional because, to use the language of the court, it subjected “the constitutional right of the nonresident to ship into the State, and of the resident in the State TO RECEIVE for his own use, to conditions which are wholly incompatible with and repugnant to the existence of the right which the statute itself acknowledges.” The constitutionality of the Wilson law, previously affirmed, was in nowise questioned.

The “ constitutional right” referred to was the right that the resident possessed under the interstate-commerce clause. If an original package under the Wilson law could be delivered to a consignee within a State for sale, as the court held it could in Rhodes v. Iowa, it is quite obvious that it could be delivered to a consignee in any State for his personal use, as the greater would very clearly include the less.

It should be stated here that the bill now under consideration, like the Wilson law, which it is designed to supplement, is not in any sense a prohibitory law. Of itself it prohibits nothing; it prevents nothing. It will not of itself close a single saloon in any State or Territory of the Union. It will not discriminate in favor of any particular method of dealing with the liquor traffic under the police powers of the several States. Its passage is as much desired by States having the license and local option and dispensary policies—and in which, therefore, the sale of liquors under certain conditions is permissible—as it is by States like Kansas, Maine, and North Dakota having

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »