Morgan's Louisiana Company v. Board of Health of the State of Louisiana
This is a writ of error to the supreme court of the state of Louisiana. The plaintiff in error was plaintiff in the state court, and in the court of original jurisdiction obtained an injunction against the board of health prohibiting it from collecting from the plaintiffs the fee of $30, and other fees allowed by act 69 of the legislature of Louisiana of 1882, for the examination which the quarantine laws of the state required in regard to all vessels passing the station. This decree was reversed on appeal by the supreme court of the state, and to this judgment of reversal the present writ of error is prosecuted.
The grounds on which it is sought, in this court, to review the final judgment of the Louisiana court, are thus stated in an amended petition filed in the cause in the court of first instance: 'The amended petition of plaintiffs respectfully represents that all the statutes of the state of Louisiana relied on by defendants for collection of quarantine and fumigation fees are null and void, because they violate the following provisions of the United States constitution: Article first, section 10, paragraph 3, prohibits the states from imposing tonnage duties without the consent of congress. Article first, section 8, paragraph 3, vesting in congress the power to regulate commerce, which power is exclusively so vested. Article first, paragraph 6, section 9, which declares that no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce to the ports of one state over that of another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one state be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.'
The statute which authorizes the collection of these fees, approved July 1, 1882, is as follows:
'Section 1. Be it enacted by the general assembly of the state of Louisiana that the resident physician of the quarantine station on the Mississippi river shall require for every inspection and granting certificate the following fees and charges: For every ship, thirty dollars, ($30;) for every bark, twenty dollars, ($20;) for every brig, ten dollars, ($10;) for every schooner, seven dollars and a half, ($7.50;) for every steam-boat, (tow-boats excepted,) five dollars, ($5;) for every steam-ship, thirty dollars, ($30.)
'Sec. 2. Be it further enacted,' etc., 'that the board of health shall have an especial lien and privilege on the vessels so inspected for the amount of said fees and charges, and may collect the same, if unpaid, by suit before any court of competent jurisdiction, and in aid thereof shall be entitled to the writ of provisional seizure on said vessels.
'Sec. 3. Be it further enacted,' etc., 'that all laws, and parts of laws, in conflict with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed, and all laws, and parts of laws, on the same subject-matter, not in conflict or inconsistent herewith, are continued in full force and effect.'
H. J. Leovy and J. E. McDonald, for plaintiff in error.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 457-458 intentionally omitted]
Wm. M. Evarts, F. C. Zacharie, and Albert Voorhies, for defendants in error.