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Pennsylvania v Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Company
Pennsylvania believed a bridge that Virginia authorized to cross the Ohio River obstructed interstate water traffic and sued to stop the building of it. The Court ordered the be either removed or made higher.
Pierce County v Guillen
Upheld the Highway Safety Act, which was intended to protect local and state governments that compile highway accident data to apply for federal hazard elimination grants. Under it, the information compiled cannot be used as evidence at trial. Purpose was to ease state fears that in documenting their own safety lapses, it would make them vulnerable to suits by accident victims.
Pittsburgh Melting Company v Totten
Upheld the 1906 Meat Inspection Act. Since impure meat was harmful, Congress had every right to pass this type of law.
Railroad Commission of Wisconsin v Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
Congress returned the railroads to private owners in the 1920 Transportation Act, but had also put into law what the Court had indicated in Shreveport was valid, and that was the ICC could regulate those intrastate rates which affected interstate commerce. Taft spoke unanimously for the Court upholding it.
Retirement Board v Alton Railroad Company
Congress had passed the Railroad Retirement Act which created a pension plan, but Justice Roberts in a 5-4 decision struck it down. The law went beyond Congress' ability to regulate interstate commerce since there was no relationship between the safety of railroad workers and their pension.
Rowe v New Hampshire Motor Transport Association
Maine created laws which intended to prevent underage children from buying cigarettes over the internet by placing the responsibility on shippers and delivery companies to verify the identity of the recipient. Shipping company argued that the laws placed undue burden on them and significantly affected their services and prices. They also argued that federal law preempted Maine's state laws. The Court unanimously agreed that Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 preempted Maine's state laws.
Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company v National Labor Relations Board
The Court upheld the intervention of the National Labor Relations Board in a labor dispute at a company which shipped only about one-third of its fruit in interstate commerce.
Second Employers' Liability Cases
The Court looked at Congress' 1908 Employers' Liability Act. The new statute specifically limited the liability to those persons who were hurt while actually engaging in interstate commerce railroad activities, and a unanimous Court in a decision by Justice Van Devanter upheld the statute.
Shreveport Rate Cases
The issue was whether the Interstate Commerce Commission had the power to change the rate allowed to be charged by an intrastate train and set by that railroad's commission. Court upheld this action by reasoning that the ICC could regulate those intrastate rates which directly affected interstate commerce.
Stafford v Wallace
Did Congress have the authority under the Commerce Clause to pass and enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921? In a 7-1 decision, the Court upheld the Act. It allowed the Secretary of Agriculture the power to prescribe rates for the meat-packing industry.
Standard Oil Company v United States
Issue was whether or not to break up a monopoly. A unanimous Court agreed with the government that the company should be broken up into its thirty-four component companies. Justice White, in his opinion, created the "rule of reason" in dealing with monopolies. Only bad ones which had abused their power should be dissolved.
Swift and Company v United States
Sherman Act case. Company's defense was that it only operated in one place, therefore there was no interstate commerce. The Court, however, disagreed and the government won the case. Justice Holmes developed the "stream of commerce" theory which basically stated that even though the company operated in one place, the livestock came to the company from other places and the product went to other parts of the country. Therefore the company was part of a stream of commerce and subject to the Sherman Act.
United States v American Tobacco Company
Another monopoly case under which the "rule of reason" was used again by Justice White, where the Court refuses to totally dissolve the company because they did not feel it a totally unreasonable trust. Only three new companies formed from the one.
United States v California
California owned a local railroad that services businesses which were interstate and whose tracks were used by interstate railroads. Congress passed the Safety Appliance Act for interstate railroads. Local California railroad was not in compliance, the government sued and the Court agreed.
United States v Darby
Unanimous Court, speaking through, Justice Stone, upheld the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Under that law, Congress established a minimum wage, maximum hours with time-and-a-half for overtime, and once again outlawed child labor, all for workers in interstate commerce.
United States v E.C. Knight Company
Did Congress exceed its constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause when it enacted the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? The Act was constitutional BUT it did not apply to manufacturing. The law did not reach the admitted monopolization of manufacturing (in this case, refining sugar by the company American Sugar) because it only involved intrastate commerce.
United States v Lopez
Is the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act, forbidding individuals from knowingly carrying a gun in a school zone, unconstitutional because it exceeds the power of Congress to legislate under the Commerce Clause? The Court ruled yes, the possession of a gun in a local school zone is not an economic activity that might have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The law is a criminal statute that has nothing to do with commerce.
United States v Morrison
Virginia Tech student sued another in civil court under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 for damages relating to a rape. Does Congress have the authority to enact the VAWA under either the Commerce Clause or Fourteenth Amendment? No, the statute did not regulate an activity that substantially affected interstate commerce nor did it redress harm caused by the state. It should be noted that only the civil rights remedy part of Act was struck down.
United States v Rock Royal Cooperative
Sustained the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act under which the government made arrangements with farmers as to how much could be marketed, even in intrastate as well as interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause was the justification.
United States v United States Steel Corporation
Another Sherman Act Case that used Justice White's "rule of reason". Court did not find the company to be an unreasonable monopoly, therefore it refused to dissolve it. The Court looked at whether the company had engaged in abusive market practices and it concluded that the company had not. A company is not a monopoly merely because of its capital and power of production; or because of its power to restrain competition, if not exercised.
Virginian Railway Company v System Federation No. 40
Upheld the 1926 Railway Labor Act which had been amended in 1934 to outlaw yellow-dog contracts and to insure collective bargaining for railroad unions.
Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway Company v Illinois
The Court invalidated an Illinois law which had forbade railroads to charge more for a short haul than a long haul. Railroads were guilty of many practices which hurt the consumer, and this was one of them. Railroads did not want to make a lot of stops to bring farmers' good from one point to another.
West Lynn Creamery, Inc. v Healy
Commerce case in which Massachusetts had a pricing order which subjected all fluid milk sold by dealers to Massachusetts retailers to an assessment. The Court, speaking through Justice Stevens, held it to be an unconstitutional discrimination against interstate commerce because it was a tax making milk produced out of state more expensive.
Wickard v Filburn
Challenge to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. Issue was whether the wheat quota allotted a farmer for marketing purposes also included wheat which never left his farm but which he used for consumption or for feeding his livestock. The law said it did, and the Court upheld the law and with it the penalties for exceeding the quota.
Willson v Black Bird Creek Marsh Company
Upheld a Delaware law which allowed a navigable waterway to be dammed thus making it unusable even though the complainant had the same federal license to operate on coastal waters under the 1793 Coasting Act as Gibbons in Gibbons v. Ogden.
Wilson v New York
Upheld the Adamson Act of 1916 which was passed by Congress at behest of President Wilson. The nation's railroad workers threatened to go out on strike if they did not get an eight-hour day with their wages not cut and with time-and-a-half for overtime, so Wilson got Congress to pass the law.
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