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United States Supreme Court

123 U.S. 623

Mugler  v.  Kansas

The defendant, Peter Mugler, was prosecuted criminally in two different cases for the violation of the prohibitory liquor law of the state of Kansas. In the first case, the indictment contained one count, charging that the defendant 'did unlawfully manufacture, and did assist and abet in the manufacture, of certain intoxicating liquors on, to-wit, the first day of November, A. D. 1881, in violation of the provisions of an act entitled 'An act to prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, except for medical, mechanical, and scientific purposes, and to regulate the manufacture and sale thereof for such excepted purposes."

[Statement of Case from pages 624-625 intentionally omitted] The trial was had in this case before the court, without a jury, upon an agreed statement of facts, which statement of facts is as follows:

'It is hereby stipulated and agreed that the facts in the above-entitled case are, and that the evidence would prove them to be, as follows:

That the defendant, Peter Mugler, has been a resident of the state of Kansas continually since the year 1872; that, being foreign born, he in that year declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and always since that time, intending to become such citizen, he did, in the month of June, 1881, by the judgment of the district court of Wyandotte county, Kansas, become a full citizen of the United States and of the state of Kansas.

That in the year 1877, said defendant erected and furnished a brewery on lots Nos. 152 and 154, on Third street, in the city of Salina, Saline county, Kansas, for use in the manufacture of an intoxicating malt liquor, commonly known as beer; that such building was specially constructed and adapted for the manufacture of such malt liquor, at an actual cost and expense to said defendant of ten thousand dollars, and was used by him for the purpose for which it was designed and intended after its completion in 1877, and up to May 1, 1881.

That said brewery was at all times after its completion, and on May 1, 1881, worth the sum of ten thousand dollars for use in the manufacture of said beer, and is not worth to exceed the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars for any other purpose; that said defendant, since October 1, 1881, has used said brewery in the manner and for the purpose for which it was constructed and adapted, by the manufacture therein of such intoxicating malt liquors, and at the time of the manufacture of said malt liquor said defendant had no permit to manufacture the same for medical, scientific, or mechanical purposes, as provided by chapter 128 of the Laws of 1881. And the foregoing was all the evidence introduced in this case, and upon which a finding of guilty was made.' The defendant was found guilty, and fined $100, and appealed to the supreme court of the state of Kansas, where the court below was affirmed. A writ of error was sued out, upon the grounds that the proceedings in said suit involved the validity of a constitutional enactment of the state of Kansas, and of a statute of said state; the defendant claiming that said constitutional enactment and statute are in violation of the constitution of the United States, and the judgment of said supreme court of the state of Kansas being in favor of the validity of said enactment and statute.

Plaintiff in error invoked in the argument before the supreme court of the state of Kansas a portion of the first section of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, which provides: 'Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.' The amendment to the constitution of the state of Kansas which is complained of is as follows: 'The manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors shall be forever prohibited in this state, except for medical, scientific, and mechanical purposes.' Const. Kan. art. 15, § 10. This amendment was adopted by the people November 2, 1880. The statute complained of is chapter 128 of the Laws of Kansas, passed in 1881. That statute became operative May 1, 1881. Section 8 of that statute is as follows: 'Any person, without taking out and having a permit to manufacture intoxicating liquors as provided in this act, who shall manufacture, or aid, assist, or abet in the manufacture, of any of the liquors mentioned in section 1 of this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall suffer the same punishment as provided in the last preceding section of this act for unlawfully selling such liquors.' Section 5 of that statute is as follows: 'No person shall manufacture or assist in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors in this state, except for medical, scientific, and mechanical purposes. Any person or persons desiring to manufacture any of the liquors mentioned in section one of this act, for medical, scientific, and mechanical purposes, shall present to the probate judge of the county wherein such business is proposed to be carried on a petition asking a permit for such purpose, setting forth the name of the applicant, the place where it is desired to carry on such business, and the kind of liquor to be manufactured. Such petition shall have appended thereto a certificate, signed by at least twelve citizens of the township or city where such business is sought to be established, certifying that such applicant is a person of good moral character, temperate in his habits, and a proper person to manufacture and sell intoxicating liquors. Such applicant shall file with said petition a bond to the state of Kansas, in the sum of ten thousand dollars, conditioned that, for any violation of the provisions of this act, said bond shall be forfeited. Such bond shall be signed by said applicant or applicants, as principal or principals, and by at least three sureties, who shall justify, under oath, in the sum of seven thousand dollars each, and who shall be of the number signing said petition. The probate judge shall consider such petition and bond, and, if satisfied that such petition is true, and that the bond is sufficient, may, in his discretion, grant a permit to manufacture intoxicating liquors for medical, scientific, and mechanical purposes. The said permit, the order granting the same, and the bond and justification thereon, shall be forth with recorded by said probate judge in the same manner and with like offect as in a case of a permit to sell such liquors as provided in section two of this act; and the probate judge shall be entitled to the same fee for his services to be paid by the applicant. Such manufacturer shall keep a book, wherein shall be entered a complete record of the liquors manufactured by him, the sales made, with the dates thereof, the name and residence of the purchaser, the kind and quantity of liquors sold, and the price received or charged therefor. An abstract of such record, verified by the affidavit of the manufacturer, shall be filed quarterly in said probate court, at the end of each quarter during the period covered by such permit. Such manufacturer shall sell the liquor so manufactured only for medical, mechanical, and scientific purposes, and only in original packages.

He shall not sell such liquors for medical purposes except to druggists, who, at the time of such sale, shall be duly authorized to sell intoxicating liquors as provided in this act; and he shall sell such liquors to no other person or persons, associations or corporations, except for scientific or mechanical purposes, and then only in quantities not less than five gallons.'

The case of State ex rel. Tufts v. Ziebold et al. is a civil case, commenced in the district court of Atchison county, Kansas, in the name of the state, by the assistant attorney general for that county, to abate an alleged nuisance, to-wit, a place where intoxicating liquors are bartered, sold, and given away, and are kept for barter, sale, and gift, in violation of law, and a place where intoxicating liquors are manufactured for barter, sale, and gift, in the state of Kansas, and to perpetually enjoin the defendants from using or permitting to be used the premises described in the petition for the purposes mentioned, in violation of the prohibitory law of the state of Kansas. The defendants filed with the clerk of the district court a bond and petition for removal to the circuit court of the United States; and, on the hearing of said petition, the same was overruled by the judge of the district court, who rendered the following opinion, retaining the cases for trial:

'The State of Kansas ex rel. J. F. Tufts, Assistant Attorney General, Plaintiff, vs. Ziebold & Hagelin, Defendants.

'On application to remove to United States circuit court.

'MARTIN, J. This is an action under the clause of section 13 of the prohibitory liquor law, which was added by the legislature of 1885; the relator, averring that the defendants have no permit from the probate judge of this county, either to manufacture or sell intoxicating liquors, and that they are doing both at their brewery, near the city of Atchison, asks that they be enjoined from selling, and from manufacturing for sale, in the state of Kansas, any malt, vinous, spirituous, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors. The defendants have filed an answer, containing a general denial, and also an averment to the effect that the defendant's brewery, which is alleged to be of the value of $60,000, was erected prior to the adoption of the prohibitory amendment to the constitution of this state, and the passage of the prohibitory law, for the purpose of manufacturing beer, and that it is adapted to no other purpose, and that if the defendants are prevented from the operation thereof for the purpose for which it was erected, the same will be wholly lost to the defendants, and that said prohibitory act is unconstitutional and void. The defendants have also presented a petition and bond for the removal of the case to the circuit court of the United States for the District of Kansas for trial. In the petition for removal it is alleged that said prohibitory act is in contravention of article 4, and section 1 of article 14, of the amendments to the constitution of the United States.

'The record presents for adjudication certain federal questions which will require the removal of the cause, unless the propositions involved have been settled by decisions of the supreme court of the United States. But, as stated by the present learned judge for the Eighth circuit, 'when a proposition has once been decided by the supreme court, it can no longer be said that in it there still remains a federal question.' State v. Bradley, 26 Fed. Rep. 289. It is a part of the constitutional history of this country that the 10 amendments to the federal constitution, numbered 1 to 10, inclusive, which were submitted to the state for ratification by the first congress at its first session, were intended as limitations upon the powers of the federal government, and not as restrictions upon the authority of the states; and as a result no state statute can be held null and void by any court, state or federal, on account of a supposed conflict with these amendments, or any of them. Article 4, which is quoted in the petition for removal, and which relates to unreasonable searches and seizures, may therefore be dismissed from our consideration. Barron v. Mayor, etc., 7 Pet. 243; Livingston's Lessee v. Moore, Id. 469, 551, 552; Fox v. State of Ohio, 5 How. 410, 434, 435; Smith v. State of Maryland, 18 How. 71, 76; Twitchell v. Com., 7 Wall. 321, 325, 326; U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 552.

'The real point suggested by the petition for removal is whether, in view of the decisions of the supreme court of the United States, it is yet an open question that the prohibitory liquor law of this state, in so far as it restricts the right to sell and manufacture beer, is or is not in contravention of section 1 of article 14 of said amendment, which reads as follows:

"Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privilege or immunity of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.'

'Our own supreme court, in a case nearly like this one, has held that the act is not in conflict with this section, Justice BREWER, (now of the federal circuit bench,) dissenting. State v. Mugler, 29 Kan. 252. The United States circuit court for the Northern district of Georgia also takes the same view as our supreme court in the case of a brewery similarly affected by the recent local option law of Georgia. Weil v. Calhoun, 25 Fed. Rep. 865. In the case of State v. Walruff, 26 Fed. Rep. 178, Judge BREWER adheres, however, to his dissenting opinion in the Mugler Case, and holds the statute in question to be in conflict with the fourteenth amendment, because no provision is made in the act for the payment of damages to property and business injuriously affected by its operation; and this decision has been followed by Judge LOVE, of the federal district court for Iowa, in two cases. [Kessinger v. Hinkhouse, Mahin v. Pfeiffer,] 27 Fed. Rep. 883, 892. The decisions of the state courts of last resort, and of the inferior federal courts, are not conclusive upon the interpretation of the federal constitution. The supreme court of the United States is, however, the final expositor and arbiter of all disputed questions touching the scope and meaning of that sacred instrument, and its decisions thereon are binding upon all courts, both state and federal.

'Is the doctrine of the Walruff Case supported by these decisions? With the utmost deference to the opinion of Judge BREWER, we are constrained to think not. The authorities cited by him certainly do not justify his proposition, and other cases not referred to are inconsistent with his views. He treats the Walruff brewery as if taken by the state for public use without just compensation. Yet this alone, if true, would not be a matter of federal cognizance. By the fifth amendment the federal government was inhibited from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and also from taking private property for public use without just compensation? But, as re arked by Justice MILLER in Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U.S. 97, 105, in commenting on the clause of the fourteenth amendment forbidding the state from depriving any person of his property without due process of law, 'if private property is taken for public uses without just compensation, it must be remembered that when the fourteenth amendment was adopted, the provision on that subject in immediate juxtaposition in the fifth amendment with the one we are construing was left out and this was taken.' Prior to the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, a man whose property was taken by any state process for public use, without just compensation, could not on that ground resort to the federal courts for redress. His remedy was in the state courts, and it remains so to this day, that amendment being entirely silent upon the subject. But the doctrine in the Walruff Case seems to assume that the deprivation of property without due process of law is the same thing as the taking of private property for public use without just compensation, or that the former includes the latter. But the statesmen who framed the early amendments were at least as wise and had as accurate an understanding of the import of the words in a fundamental law as any who have succeeded them. They were not given to a waste of words, nor the useless and perplexing repetition of the same proposition in different forms.

They recognized the fact that private property might be taken for public use under regular process without just compensation, and also that a man might be deprived of his property without due process of law, and yet obtain compensation therefor to the full measure of its value; and the federal government was inhibited from both of these forms of injustice, while the states were left free to establish such rules on the subject as they deemed proper. Since the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, however, the fact that a person is deprived of his property by a state, without due process of law, constitutes a ground for the exercise of jurisdiction by the federal courts. Referring to this subject in the case of Davidson v. New Orleans, supra, Justice MILLER says: 'It is not a little remarkable that, while this provision has been in the constitution of the United States as a restraint upon the authority of the federal government for nearly a century, and while during all that time the manner in which the powers of that government have been exercised has been watched with jealousy, and subjected to the most rigid criticism in all its branches, this special limitation upon its powers has rarely been invoked in the judicial forum or the more enlarged theater of public discussion. But while it has been a part of the constitution as a restraint upon the powers of the states only a very few years, the docket of this court is crowded with cases in which we are asked to hold that state courts and state legislatures have deprived their own citizens of life, liberty, and property without due process of law. There is here abundant evidence that there exists some strange misconception of the scope of the provision as found in the fourteenth amendment. In fact, it would seem from the character of many of the cases before us, and the arguments made in them, that the clause under consideration is looked upon as a means of bringing to the test of the decision of this court the abstract opinions of every unsuccessful litigant in a state court of justice of the decision against him, and of the merits of the legislation on which such a decision may be founded.'

'Neither the state nor the federal courts ever had any rightful power to avoid an act of a state legislature, because by such court deemed impolitic or unreasonable. It could only be so avoided when in contravention of the constitution of the state, or of the federal constitution, or some act of congress passed or treaty made in pursuance of its authority. The views of a court upon the merits or demerits of a statute have nothing to do with its validity. In the Walruff Case an effo t appears to be made to blend and combine two principles,-one embraced in the fourteenth amendment; and the other entirely outside of the constitution,-and then to show that the Kansas liquor law is in conflict with the combined principle. The syllabus of the case shows this. It reads as follows: 'The prohibitory amendment to the constitution of Kansas, and the laws passed in pursuance thereof, condemn and confiscate to public use all property then in use for the manufacture of the prohibited articles, and, having failed to provide compensation therefor, are in violation of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, as taking property without due process of law.' Waiving, however, for the present, this unwarranted blending of constitutional and extra-constitutional principles, it is safe to assert that no decision of the supreme court of the United States either establishes or tends to establish the doctrine that a liquor law such as ours operates upon the owners of distilleries or breweries as a taking of private property for public use, or as a deprivation of property without a due process of law.

'The scope of the first section of the fourteenth amendment was first fully discussed by that tribunal in the Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36: 'The legislature of Louisiana, on March 8, 1869, passed an act conferring upon the defendant company, a corporation created by the act, the exclusive right, for twenty-five years, to have and maintain slaughter-houses, landings for cattle, and yards for confining cattle intended for slaughter, within the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard, a territory comprising an area of 1,154 square miles, including the city of New Orleans, and prohibiting all other persons from keeping or having slaughter-houses, landings for cattle, and yards for confining cattle intended for slaughter, within said limits, and requiring that all cattle and other animals to be slaughtered for food in that district should be brought to the slaughter-houses and works of said company, to be slaughtered upon the payment of a fee and certain perquisites to the company for such service. The plaintiffs, an association of butchers, averred that, prior to the passage of the act in question, they were engaged in the business of procuring and bringing to said parishes, animals suitable for human food, and in preparing the same for market; that in the prosecution of this business they had provided in these parishes suitable establishments for landing, sheltering, keeping, and slaughtering cattle, and the sale of meat; that with their association about 400 persons were connected, and that in said parishes almost 1,000 persons were thus engaged in procuring, preparing, and selling animal food. It is evident that the establishment of the plaintiffs would be rendered almost valueless, and their business substantially broken up, by the operation of the monopoly created by the legislature. And yet the supreme court held that this legislation was not in contravention of any of the provisions of the fourteenth amendment, but that it was a valid exercise of the police power of the state of Louisiana, with which the federal courts could not rightfully interfere.' In the entire official report of the case, embracing nearly one hundred cases, and including the brief of the unsuccessful counsel, the opinion of the court, and the views of three dissenting justices, there is not a word of reference to the taking of private property for public use without first compensation. The learned justice did not seem to regard this as one of the evils that the fourteenth amendment was designed to remedy. To the argument that the butchers were deprived of their property without due process of law, Justice MILLER, delivering the opinion of the court, answered as follows: 'It is sufficient to say that, under no construction of that provision that we have ever seen, or that we deemed admissible, can the restraint imposed by the state of Louisiana upon the exercise of their trade by the utchers of New Orleans be held to be a deprivation of property within the meaning of that provision.'

'In the case of Bartemeyer v. Iowa, 18 Wall. 129-133, Justice MILLER, again delivering the opinion of the court, says: 'The weight of authority is overwhelming that no such immunity has heretofore existed as would prevent state legislatures from regulating, and even prohibiting, the traffic in intoxicating drinks, with a solitary exception. That exception is the case of a law operating so rigidly on property in existence at the time of its passage, absolutely prohibiting its sale, as to amount to depriving the owner of his property. A single case (Wynehamer v. People, 13 N. Y. 485) has held that as to such property the statute would be void for that reason. But no case has held that such a law was void as violating the privileges or immunities of citizens of a state or of the United States. If, however, such a proposition is seriously urged, we think that the right to sell intoxicating liquors, so far as such right exists, is not one of the rights growing out of citizenship of the United States, and in this regard the case falls within the principles laid down by the court in the Slaughter-House Cases.' The 'solitary exception' from the principle is then referred to as follows: 'But if it were true, and if it were fairly presented to us, that the defendant was the owner of the glass of intoxicating liquor which he sold to Hickey at the time that the state of Iowa first imposed an absolute prohibition on the sale of such liquor, then we can see that two very grave questions would arise, namely: First, whether this would be a statute depriving him of his property without due process of law; and, secondly, whether it would be so far a violation of the fourteenth amendment in that regard as would call for judicial action by this court.' And Justice FIELD, concurring specially, says: 'I have no doubt of the power of the state to regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors, when such regulation does not amount to the destruction of the right of property in them. The right of property in an article involves the power to sell and dispose of such article, as well as to use and enjoy it. Any act which declares that the owner shall neither sell nor dispose of it, nor use and enjoy it, confiscates it, depriving him of his property without due process of law.'

'In the Walruff Case, Judge BREWER lays great stress upon those passages relating to the doctrine in the New York case. But what relevancy they had to the Walruff Case in difficult to imagine. It was not claimed that Walruff had any beer that was manufactured prior to the adoption of the prohibitory amendment and the passage of the prohibitory law of 1881; and if such a fact had been made to appear, still neither said amendment nor the act of 1881 imposed an absolute prohibition upon the sale of such beer, and not even the slightest restriction upon its use, except that the owner shall not become drunk by imbibing it. Although the tenth amendment to our state constitution, and the legislation in pursuance thereof, are commonly called 'prohibitory,' yet they are not so in strictness of speech, as fully stated by our supreme court in the Mugler case. The evident purpose of both is to diminish the evils of intemperance by placing the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors under regulations more strict than those formerly existing.

'It is said, however, that Walruff owned a brewery,-a building and its appurtenances especially adapted to the manufacture of beer,-prior to the adoption of said amendment. This is a great remove from the 'solitary exception' mentioned by Justice MILLER in the Iowa case,-a remove from the product in the manufactory. But the title to such brewery is in no manner affected or incumbered by the amendment and the statutes. Neither the real estate nor the personal property is taken' by the state for public use. The state obtains no title, no easement, no license,-nothing. And the owner is in nowise deprived of his property; he parts with nothing. It is true that the state restricts and regulates to some extent the use of such property, so that, in the opinion of the legislature, it shall not be an instrument of hurt and injury to the public. And this brings us to the quotation by Judge BREWER from the opinion of Justice FIELD in the Chicago Elevator Case, entitled Munn v. Illinois,' 94 U.S. 113, 141, as follows: 'All that is beneficial in property arises from its use and the fruits of that use; and whatever deprives a person of them deprives him of all that is desirable or valuable in the title and possession. If the constitutional guaranty extends no further than to prevent a deprivation of title and possession, and allows a deprivation of use, and the fruits of that use, it does not merit the encomiums it has received.' It must be remembered, however, that this is not the opinion of the court, but only the view of one of the two dissenting justices. The court, by Chief Justice WAITE, states as its opinion that, by the powers inherent in every sovereignty, a government may regulate the conduct of its citizens towards each other, and, when necessary for the public good, the manner in which each shall use his own property. Accordingly, it was held that, notwithstanding the provisions of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, the grain elevators built in Chicago by private enterprise, with private capital, and owned by individuals prior to the adoption of the constitution of 1870 by the people of Illinois, were so far subject to the power of the state under that constitution that a subsequent legislature might make rules and regulations for the government of elevators in their dealings with their patrons, and might fix the value of the use of such elevator property by establishing maximum rates for the storage, handling, and transfer of grain. The case of Beer Co. v. Massachusetts, 97 U.S. 25, reaffirms Bartemeyer v. Iowa, and upholds to the fullest extent the authority of the states over the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, subject to the one exception specified in the Iowa case, which has been already fully discussed.

In this case, however, the beer company relied upon certain chartered privileges in the nature of a contract, rather than upon the fourteenth amendment; but the court held that the legislature could not by any contract divest itself of its police power, which was held to extend to the protection of the lives, health, and property of her citizens, the maintenance of good order, and the preservation of the public good. See, further, as to the police powers of the state, Patterson v. Kentucky, 97 U.S. 501, and authorities cited. In Stone v. Mississippi, 101 U.S. 814, it appeared that in 1867 the legislature of Mississippi granted a charter to a lottery company for twenty-five years, in consideration of a stipulated sum in cash, and the annual payment of a further sum, and a percentage of receipts for the sale of tickets. A provision of the constitution adopted in convention May 15, 1868, and ratified by the people December 1, 1869, declares that 'the legislature shall never authorize any lottery, nor shall the sale of lottery tickets be allowed, nor shall any lottery heretofore authorized be permitted to be drawn, or tickets therein to be sold.' And he also held that the prohibition of such lotteries was not an infringement of vested rights within the meaning of the constitution of the United States, and that the legislature could not, by chartering a lottery company, defeat the will of the people of a state authoritatively expressed in relation to the continuance of such business in their midst. The lottery company did not invoke any immunity by reason of the fourteenth amendment, although it was officially promulgated long before the ratification of the state constitution by the people of Mississippi. It relied, as did the beer company in the preceding case, upon the clause of the constitution of the United States declaring that no state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts. And neither the aggrieved parties nor the court seem to have discovered that the proceedings constituted a taking of private property for public use without just compensation, nor a privation of property without due process of law. In Foster v. Kansas, 112 U.S. 201, 5 Sup. Sup. Ct. Rep. 8, (32 Kan. 765,) the supreme court of the United States, in an opinion covering only a few lines, holds our Kansas liquor law of 1881 to be valid, and not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, on the authority of the Iowa and Massachusetts cases before referred to. And the amendment of 1885 to the act of 1881 did not render the liquor law any more objectionable on any ground raised in this case or the Walruff Case.

'Some quotations have already been made from the opinion of the court in Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U.S. 97, where an assessment of certain real estate in New Orleans, for draining swamps of that city, was resisted in the state courts on the ground that the proceeding deprived the owner of his property without due process of law, in violation of the fourteenth amendment. But it was held that neither the corporate agency by which the work was done, the excessive price which the statute allowed therefor, nor the relative importance of the work to the value of the land assessed, nor the fact that the assessment was made before the work was done, nor that it was unequal as regards the benefits conferred, nor that the personal judgments were rendered for the amounts assessed, were matters in which the state authorities were controlled by the federal constitution, and the assessment was therefore held valid as against any objections which could be raised in the supreme court of the United States on a proceeding in error from the supreme court of Louisiana.

'In Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 357, the court held that the fourteenth amendment of the constitution does not impair the police power of a state, and that an ordinance of the city of San Francisco, prohibiting washing and ironing in public laundries and wash-houses, within defined territorial limits, from 10 o'clock at night to 6 in the morning, was purely a police regulation within the competency of a municipality possessed of the ordinary powers. And in another case, under the same ordinance, (Soon Hing v. Crowley, 113 U.S. 703, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 730,) it was held to be no valid ground of constitutional objection that the ordinance permitted other and different kinds of business to be done within the hours prohibited to laundries and wash-houses.

This ordinance was intended to and did bear heavily upon the Chinese, who owned and kept laundries and wash-houses in that city, and such establishments must have been greatly depreciated in value by the enforcement of this restrictive regulation; yet the supreme court decided that the fourteenth amendment did not invest the federal courts with any power to grant relief, Justice FIELD delivering the unanimous opinion of the court in both cases.

NotesEdit

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).