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Opinion of the Court.

in so doing it might operate indirectly upon commerce outside its immediate jurisdiction; and that the provision of § 9 of article 1 of the Constitution of the United States operated only as a limitation of the powers of Congress, and did not affect the States in the regulation of their domestic affairs. The final conclusion of the court was, that the act of Illinois was not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States; and the judgment was affirmed.

In Sinking Fund Cases, 99 U. S. 700, 747, Mr. Justice Bradley, who was one of the justices who concurred in the opinion of the court in Munn v. Illinois, speaking of that case, said: "The inquiry there was as to the extent of the police power in cases where the public interest is affected; and we held that when an employment or business becomes a matter of such public interest and importance as to create a common charge or burden upon the citizen; in other words, when it becomes? a practical monopoly, to which the citizen is compelled to resort, and by means of which a tribute can be exacted from the community, it is subject to regulation by the legislative power."? Although this was said in a dissenting opinion in Sinking Fund Cases, it shows what Mr. Justice Bradley regarded as the principle of the decision in Munn v. Illinois.

In Spring Valley Water Works v. Schottler, 110 U. S. 347, 354, this court said: "That it is within the power of the government to regulate the prices at which water shall be sold by one who enjoys a virtual monopoly of the sale, we do not doubt. That question is settled by what was decided on full consideration in Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113. As was said in that case, such regulations do not deprive a person of his property without due process of law."

In Wabash &c. Railway Co. v. Illinois, 118 U. S. 557, 569, Mr. Justice Miller, who had concurred in the judgment in Munn v. Illinois, referred, in delivering the opinion of the court, to that case, and said: "That case presented the question of a private citizen, 'or unincorporated partnership, engaged in the warehousing business in Chicago, free from any claim of right or contract under an act of incorporation of any State whatever, and free from the question of continuous

Opinion of the Court.

transportation through several States. And in that case the court was presented with the question, which it decided, whether any one engaged in a public business, in which all the public had a right to require his service, could be regulated by acts of the legislature in the exercise of this public function) and public duty, so far as to limit the amount of charges that' should be made for such services."

In Dow v. Beidelman, 125 U. S. 680, 686, it was said by Mr. Justice Gray, in delivering the opinion of the court, that in Munn v. Illinois the court, after affirming the doctrine that by the common law carriers or other persons exercising a public employment could not charge more than a reasonable compensation for their services, and that it is within the power of the legislature "to declare what shall be a reasonable compensation for such services, or, perhaps more properly speaking, to fix a maximum beyond which any charge made would be unreasonable," said that to limit the rate of charges for services rendered in the public employment, or for the use of property in which the public has an interest, was only changing a regulation which existed before, and established no new principle in the law, but only gave a new effect to an old one.

In Chicago &c. Railway Co. v. Minnesota, 134 U. S. 418, 461, it was said by Mr. Justice Bradley, in his dissenting opinion, in which Mr. Justice Gray and Mr. Justice Lamar concurred, that the decision of the court in that case practically overruled Munn v. Illinois; but the opinion of the court did not say so, nor did it refer to Munn v. Illinois; and we are of opinion that the decision in the case in 134 U. S. is, as will be hereafter shown, quite distinguishable from the present


It is thus apparent that this court has adhered to the decision in Munn v. Illinois and to the doctrines announced in the opinion of the court in that case; and those doctrines have since been repeatedly enforced in the decisions of the courts of the States.

In Railway v. Railway, 30 Ohio St. 604, 616, in 1877, it was said, citing Munn v. Illinois: "When the owner of property devotes it to a public use, he, in effect, grants to the public

Opinion of the Court.

an interest in such use, and must, to the extent of the use, submit to be controlled by the public, for the common good, as long as he maintains the use." That was a decision by the Supreme Court Commission of Ohio.

In State v. Gas Company, 34 Ohio St. 572, 582, in 1878, Munn v. Illinois was cited with approval, as holding that where the owner of property devotes it to a use in which the public have an interest, he in effect grants to the public an interest in such use, and must, to the extent of that interest, submit to be controlled by the public, for the common good, so long as he maintains the use; and the court added that in Munn v. Illinois the principle was applied to warehousemen engaged in receiving and storing grain; that it was held that their rates of charges were subject to legislative regulation; and that the principle applied with greater force to corporations when they were invested with franchises to be exercised to subserve the public interest.

The Supreme Court of Illinois, in Ruggles v. People, 91 Illinois, 256, 262, in 1878, cited Munn v. People, 69 Illinois, 80, which was affirmed in Munn v. Illinois, as holding that it was competent for the general assembly to fix the maximum charges by individuals keeping public warehouses for storing, handling and shipping grain, and that, too, when such persons had derived no special privileges from the State, but were, as citizens of the State, exercising the business of storing and handling grain for individuals.

The Supreme Court of Alabama, in Davis v. The State, 68 Alabama, 58, in 1880, held that a statute declaring it unlawful, within certain counties, to transport or move, after sunset and before sunrise of the succeeding day, any cotton in the seed, but permitting the owner or purchaser to remove it from the field to a place of storage, was not unconstitutional. Against the argument that the statute was such a despotic interference with the rights of private property as to be tantamount, in its practical effect, to a deprivation of ownership "without due process of law," the court said that the statute sought only to regulate and control the transportation of cotton in one particular condition of it, and was a mere police

Opinion of the Court.

regulation, to which there was no constitutional objection, citing Munn v. Illinois. It added, that the object of the statute was to regulate traffic in the staple agricultural product of the State, so as to prevent a prevalent evil, which, in the opinion of the law-making power, might do much to demoralize agricultural labor and to destroy the legitimate profits of agricultural pursuits, to the public detriment, at least within the specified territory.

In Baker v. The State, 54 Wisconsin, 368, 373, in 1882, Munn v. Illinois was cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, as holding that the legislature of Illinois had power to regulate public warehouses, and the warehousing and inspection of grain within that State, and to enforce its regulations by penalties, and that such legislation was not in conflict with any provision of the Federal Constitution.

The Court of Appeals of Kentucky, in 1882, in Nash v. Page, 80 Kentucky, 539, 545, cited Munn v. Illinois, as applicable to the case of the proprietors of tobacco warehouses in the city of Louisville, and held that the character of the business of the tobacco warehousemen was that of a public employment, such as made them subject, in their charges and their mode of conducting business, to legislative regulation and control, as having a practical monopoly of the sales of tobacco

at auction.

In 1884, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in Girard Storage Co. v. Southwark Co., 105 Penn. St. 248, 252, cited Munn v. Illinois as involving the rights of a private person, and said that the principle involved in the ruling of this court was, that where the owner of such property as a warehouse devoted it to a use in which the public had an interest, he in effect granted to the public an interest in such use, and must, therefore, to the extent thereof, submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, as long as he maintained that use.

In Sawyer v. Davis, 136 Mass. 239, in 1884, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts said that nothing is better established than the power of the legislature to make what are called police regulations, declaring in what manner prop

Opinion of the Court.

erty shall be used and enjoyed and business carried on, with a view to the good order and benefit of the community, even though they may interfere to some extent with the full enjoyment of private property, and although no compensation is given to a person so inconvenienced; and Munn v. Illinois was cited as holding that the rules of the common law which had from time to time been established, declaring or limiting the right to use or enjoy property, might themselves be changed as occasion might require.

The Supreme Court of Indiana, in 1885, in Brechbill v. Randall, 102 Indiana, 528, held that a statute was valid which required persons selling patent rights to file with the clerk of the county a copy of the patent, with an affidavit of genuineness and authority to sell, on the ground that the State had power to make police regulations for the protection of its citizens against fraud and imposition; and the court cited Munn v. Illinois as authority.

The Supreme Court of Nebraska, in 1885, in Webster Telephone Case, 17 Nebraska, 126, held that when a corporation or person assumed and undertook to supply a public demand, made necessary by the requirements of the commerce of the country, such as a public telephone, such demand must be supplied to all alike, without discrimination; and Munn v. Illinois was cited by the prevailing party and by the court. The defendant was a corporation, and had assumed to act in a capacity which was to a great extent public, and had undertaken to satisfy a public want or necessity, although it did not possess any special privileges by statute or any monopoly of business in a given territory; yet it was held that, from the very nature and character of its business, it had a monopoly of the business which it transacted. The court said that no statute had been deemed necessary to aid the courts in holding that where a person or company undertook to supply a public demand, which was "affected with a public interest," it must supply all alike who occupied a like situation, and not discriminate in favor of or against any.

In Stone v. Yazoo & Miss. Valley R. Co., 62 Mississippi, 607, 639, the Supreme Court of Mississippi, in 1885, cited

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