118 U.S. 455 (1886), Morgan's Louisiana & T. R. & S. S. Co. v. Board of Health of State of Louisiana

Citation:118 U.S. 455, 6 S.Ct. 1114, 30 L.Ed. 237
Party Name:MORGAN'S LOUISIANA & T. R. & S. S. CO. v. BOARD OF HEALTH OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA and another.
Case Date:May 10, 1886
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 455

118 U.S. 455 (1886)

6 S.Ct. 1114, 30 L.Ed. 237

MORGAN'S LOUISIANA & T. R. & S. S. CO.

v.

BOARD OF HEALTH OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA and another.

United States Supreme Court.

May 10, 1886

In Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana.

COUNSEL

[6 S.Ct. 1115] H. J. Leovy and J. E. McDonald, for plaintiff in error.

Wm. M. Evarts, F. C. Zacharie, and Albert Voorhies, for defendants in error.

OPINION

MILLER, J.

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.

Page 456

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

Page 457

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.'

Page 458

The services for which these fees are to be collected are parts of a system of quarantine, provided by the laws of Louisiana for the protection of the [6 S.Ct. 1116] state, and especially of New Orleans, an important commercial city, from infectious and contagious diseases which might be brought there by vessels coming through the Gulf of Mexico from all parts of the world, and up the Mississippi river to New Orleans. This system of quarantine differs in no essential respect from similar systems in operation in all important sea-ports all over the world where commerce and civilization prevail. The distance from the mouth of the Mississippi river to New Orleans is about a hundred miles. A statute of Louisiana of 1855, organizing this system, created a board of health, to whom its administration was mainly confided, and it authorized this

Page 459

board to select and establish a quarantine station on the Mississippi, not less than 75 miles below New Orleans. Money was appropriated to buy land, build hospitals, and furnish other necessary appliances for such an establishment. This and other statutes subsequently passed contained regulations for the examination of vessels ascending the river, and of their passengers, for the purpose of ascertaining the places whence these vessels came, their sanitary condition, and the healthy or diseased condition of their passengers. If any of these were such that the safety of the city of New Orleans or its inhabitants required it as a protection against disease, they could be ordered into quarantine by the proper health officer, until the danger was removed, and, if necessary, the vessel might be ordered to undergo fumigation. If, on this examination, there was no danger to be apprehended from vessel or passengers, a certificate of that fact was given by the examining officer, and she was thereby authorized to proceed and land at her destination. If ordered to quarantine, after such detention and cleansing process as the quarantine authorities required, she was given a similar certificate, and proceeded on her way. If the condition of any of the passengers was such that they could not be permitted to enter the city, they might be ordered into quarantine, while the vessel proceeded without them. Whether these precautions were judicious or not this court cannot inquire. They are a part of and inherent in every system of quarantine.

If there is a city in the United States which has need of qurantine laws it is New Orleans. Although situated over a hundred miles from the Gulf of Mexico, it is the largest city which partakes of its commerce, and more vessels of every character come to and depart from it than any city connected with that commerce. Partaking, as it does, of the liability to diseases of warm climates, and in the same danger of all other sea-ports of cholera and other contagious and infectious disorders, these are sources of anxiety to its inhabitants, and to all the interior population of the country who may be affected by their spread among them. Whatever may be the truth with regard to the contagious character of yellow fever and

Page 460

cholera, there can be no doubt of the general belief, and very little of the fact, that all the invasions of these epidemics in the great valley of the Mississippi river and its tributaries in times past have been supposed to have spread from New Orleans, and to have been carried by steam-boats and other vessels engaged in commerce with that city. And the origin of these diseases is almost invariably attributed to vessels ascending the Mississippi river from the West Indies and South America, where yellow fever is epidemic almost every year, and from European countries, whence our invasions of cholera uniformly come.

If there is any merit or success in guarding against these diseases by modes of exclusion, of which the professional opinion of medical men in America is becoming more convinced of late years, the situation of the city of New Orleans for rendering this exclusion effective is one which invites in the strongest manner the effort. Though a sea-port in fact, it is situated a hundred miles from the sea, and is only to be reached by vessels from foreign countries by this approach. A quarantine station, located as this one is under the Louisiana laws, with vigilant officers, can make sure of inspecting every vessel which comes to New Orleans from the great ocean in any direction. [6 S.Ct. 1117] Safe and ample arrangements can be made for care and treatment of diseased passengers, and for the comfort of their companions, as well as the cleansing and disinfecting of the vessels. The system of quarantine has here, therefore, as fair a trial of its efficacy as it could have anywhere, and the need of it is as great.

None of these facts are denied; in all that is important to the present inquiry they cannot be denied. Nor is it denied that the enactment of quarantine laws is within the province of the states of this Union. Of all the elements of this quarantine system of the state of Louisiana, the only feature which is assailed as unconstitutional is that which requires that the vessels which are examined at the quarantine station, with respect to...

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148 practice notes
  • 65 S.W. 325 (Mo. 1901), State v. Brennan
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 Novembre 1901
    ...sec. 53; People v. Petrea, 92 N.Y. 128; In re Henneberger, 155 N.Y. 420; Henderson v. New York, 92 U.S. 259; Morgan v. La. Board Health, 118 U.S. 455. (2) To be compelled to select a jury from a panel of twenty-four, one or more of whom stated on his voir dire that the burden of proof, to r......
  • 108 A. 887 (R.I. 1920), 493, O'Neil v. Providence Amusement Co.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 29 Gennaio 1920
    ...for inspection of laundries and required the laundry to pay the inspection fee. In Morgan's Steamship Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 6 S.Ct. 1114, 30 L.Ed. 237, a statute was held to be valid which required steamship vessels to submit to inspection and pay a fee therefor. I......
  • 78 F. 693 (6th Cir. 1897), 375, Peirce v. Van Dusen
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • 2 Febbraio 1897
    ...foreign or interstate, or in any other pursuit'; as in Morgan's Louisiana & T.R. & S.S. Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 463, 6 Sup.Ct. 1114, where a quarantine statute of Louisiana, directly affecting commerce among the states and with foreign nations, was held not t......
  • 64 N.W. 501 (Mich. 1895), Burrows v. Delta Transp. Co.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 1 Ottobre 1895
    ...v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543, 7 S.Ct. 313; Sands v. Improvement Co., 123 U.S. 288, 8 S.Ct. 113; Morgan, etc., S. S. Co. v. Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 6 S.Ct. 1114; Sherlock v. Alling, 93 U.S. 99; Harrigan v. Lumber Co., 129 Mass. 580; [106 Mich. 595] People v. Jenkins, 1 Hill, 469; Smith v. ......
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147 cases
  • 65 S.W. 325 (Mo. 1901), State v. Brennan
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 Novembre 1901
    ...sec. 53; People v. Petrea, 92 N.Y. 128; In re Henneberger, 155 N.Y. 420; Henderson v. New York, 92 U.S. 259; Morgan v. La. Board Health, 118 U.S. 455. (2) To be compelled to select a jury from a panel of twenty-four, one or more of whom stated on his voir dire that the burden of proof, to r......
  • 108 A. 887 (R.I. 1920), 493, O'Neil v. Providence Amusement Co.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 29 Gennaio 1920
    ...for inspection of laundries and required the laundry to pay the inspection fee. In Morgan's Steamship Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 6 S.Ct. 1114, 30 L.Ed. 237, a statute was held to be valid which required steamship vessels to submit to inspection and pay a fee therefor. I......
  • 78 F. 693 (6th Cir. 1897), 375, Peirce v. Van Dusen
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • 2 Febbraio 1897
    ...foreign or interstate, or in any other pursuit'; as in Morgan's Louisiana & T.R. & S.S. Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 463, 6 Sup.Ct. 1114, where a quarantine statute of Louisiana, directly affecting commerce among the states and with foreign nations, was held not t......
  • 64 N.W. 501 (Mich. 1895), Burrows v. Delta Transp. Co.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 1 Ottobre 1895
    ...v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543, 7 S.Ct. 313; Sands v. Improvement Co., 123 U.S. 288, 8 S.Ct. 113; Morgan, etc., S. S. Co. v. Board of Health, 118 U.S. 455, 6 S.Ct. 1114; Sherlock v. Alling, 93 U.S. 99; Harrigan v. Lumber Co., 129 Mass. 580; [106 Mich. 595] People v. Jenkins, 1 Hill, 469; Smith v. ......
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