GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

The court not only asserted that governmental

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The Court not only asserted that governmental regulation of rates charged by public utilities and allied businesses was within the states’ police power, but added that the determination of such rates by a legislature was conclusive and not subject to judicial review or revision. 141 Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. v. Minnesota, 134 U.S. 418 (1890). 142 Wolff Packing Co. v. Industrial Court, 262 U.S. 522, 535–36 (1923) (citations omitted). 1869 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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that this is superimposed upon them. In the language of the cases, the owner by devoting his business to the public use, in effect grants the public an interest in that use and subjects himself to public regulation to the extent of that interest although the property con- tinues to belong to its private owner and to be entitled to protec- tion accordingly.” Through application of this formula, the Court sustained state laws regulating charges made by grain elevators, 143 stockyards, 144 and tobacco warehouses, 145 as well as fire insurance rates 146 and commissions paid to fire insurance agents. 147 The Court also voided statutes regulating business not “affected with a public interest,” including state statutes fixing the price at which gasoline may be sold, 148 regulating the prices for which ticket brokers may resell the- ater tickets, 149 and limiting competition in the manufacture and sale of ice through the withholding of licenses to engage in such busi- ness. 150 In the 1934 case of Nebbia v. New York , 151 however, the Court finally shelved the concept of “a business affected with a public in- terest,” 152 upholding, by a vote of five-to-four, a depression-induced New York statute fixing fluid milk prices. “Price control, like any other form of regulation, is unconstitutional only if arbitrary, dis- criminatory, or demonstrably irrelevant to the policy the legisla- ture is free to adopt, and hence an unnecessary and unwarranted 143 Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 113 (1877); Budd v. New York, 143 U.S. 517, 546 (1892); Brass v. North Dakota ex rel. Stoesser, 153 U.S. 391 (1894). 144 Cotting v. Kansas City Stock Yards Co., 183 U.S. 79 (1901). 145 Townsend v. Yeomans, 301 U.S. 441 (1937). 146 German Alliance Ins. Co. v. Kansas, 233 U.S. 389 (1914); Aetna Insurance Co. v. Hyde, 275 U.S. 440 (1928). 147 O’Gorman & Young v. Hartford Ins. Co., 282 U.S. 251 (1931). 148 Williams v. Standard Oil Co., 278 U.S. 235 (1929). 149 Tyson & Bro. v. Banton, 273 U.S. 418 (1927). 150 New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932). See also Adams v. Tan- ner, 244 U.S. 590 (1917); Weaver v. Palmer Bros., 270 U.S. 402 (1926). 151 291 U.S. 502 (1934). 152 In reaching this conclusion the Court might be said to have elevated to the status of prevailing doctrine the views advanced in previous decisions by dissenting Justices. Thus, Justice Stone, dissenting in Ribnik v. McBride, 277 U.S. 350, 359–60 (1928), had declared: “Price regulation is within the State’s power whenever any com- bination of circumstances seriously curtails the regulative force of competition so that buyers or sellers are placed at such a disadvantage in the bargaining struggle that a legislature might reasonably anticipate serious consequences to the commu- nity as a whole.” In his dissenting opinion in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 302–03 (1932), Justice Brandeis had also observed: “The notion of a dis-
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