184 U.S. 425 (1902), 201, Booth v. Illinois

Docket NºNo. 201
Citation184 U.S. 425, 22 S.Ct. 425, 46 L.Ed. 623
Party NameBooth v. Illinois
Case DateMarch 03, 1902
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 425

184 U.S. 425 (1902)

22 S.Ct. 425, 46 L.Ed. 623

Booth

v.

Illinois

No. 201

United States Supreme Court

March 3, 1902

Argued November 6, 1901

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Syllabus

If, looking at all the circumstances which attend or may ordinarily attend the pursuit of a particular calling, a state thinks that certain admitted evils cannot be successfully reached unless that calling be actually prohibited, the courts cannot interfere unless, looking through mere forms and at the substance of the matter, they can say that the statute, enacted professedly to protect the public morals, has no real or substantial relation to that object, but is a clear, unmistakable infringement of rights secured by the fundamental law.

It must be assumed with regard to section 130 of the Criminal Code of Illinois touching options to sell or buy grain or other property at a future time, that the legislature of the state was of opinion that an effectual mode to suppress gambling grain contracts was to declare illegal all options to sell or buy at a future time, and this Court cannot say that the means employed were not appropriate to the end sought to be attained and which it was competent for the state to accomplish.

This Court cannot adjudge that the Legislature of Illinois transcended the limits of constitutional authority, when it enacted the statute in question.

Page 426

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

HARLAN, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

By section 130 of the Criminal Code of Illinois, it is provided that

whoever contracts to have or give to himself or another the option to sell or buy at a future time, any grain, or other commodity, stock of any railroad or other company, or gold, or forestalls the market by spreading false rumors to influence the price of commodities therein, or corners the market, or attempts to do so in relation to any of such commodities, shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or confined in the county jail not exceeding one year, or both, and all contracts [22 S.Ct. 426] made in violation of this section shall be considered gambling contracts, and shall be void.

Rev.Stat.Ill.Crim.Code (by Hurd, 1902) § 130.

The defendant was indicted in the Criminal Court of Cook County, Illinois, being charged with violating this statute so far as it related to options to buy grain or other commodities at a future time.

The memorandum of the option purchased by the defendant was as follows:

B. Al. v. Booth, Grain and Provision Broker

10 Weare Com. Co. Chicago, Aug. 16, 1899

Sep. corn, 1899. C., 31 1/2. Paid.

Good till close of 'change, Sat., Aug. 26, 1899.

Weare C. Co.

J.C.C.

The defendant was found guilty and adjudged to pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the costs of the prosecution.

At the trial, by motions to quash the indictment, in arrest

Page 427

of judgment, and for a new trial, the accused insisted that the statute under which he was prosecuted was repugnant to that clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States declaring that no state shall

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 the laws.

This contention was overruled both in the trial court and in the Supreme Court of Illinois. 186 Ill. 43.

There was no dispute as to the meaning of the above memorandum. It meant that, on the 16th day of August, 1899, the defendant, a grain and provision broker, and the Weare Commission Company, made an agreement whereby, in consideration of the sum of ten dollars paid by Booth, he obtained from the company and was given the option of purchasing from it 10,000 bushels of corn at 31 1/2 cents a bushel -- the option to remain good until the close of business on the 26th day of August, 1899.

In Schneider v. Turner, 130 Ill. 28, 39, the question was whether the statute embraced an agreement in these words:

Chicago, November 11, 1885. In consideration of one dollar and other valuable considerations, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby agree to sell to George Schneider, Walter L. Peck, and Fred W. Peck seventeen hundred and eighty-six shares of the capital stock of the North Chicago City Railway at six hundred dollars per share, if taken on or before the 15th day of December 1885. V. C. Turner.

It was contended that that agreement was not prohibited by the statute; that the legislature only intended to make such option contracts unlawful as were gambling contracts -- that is, option contracts that did not contemplate the delivery or acceptance of any property and which only required a settlement by "differences," whereas, it was insisted, the option there in question had no element of gambling, being only one that entitled the parties obtaining it to elect on or before a named day whether they would buy the stock described in the agreement.

The Supreme Court of Illinois in that case observed that, at common law, all gambling contracts were void, and that an

Page 428

agreement for the sale of property was a mere wager or gambling contract and void if made with the understanding of the parties that no property was to be delivered or accepted, but could be satisfied by an adjustment simply on the basis of the difference between the contract and the market price. It said:

It must be presumed that the object of the legislature was to declare that unlawful which theretofore had...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP
163 practice notes
  • 143 S.E. 402 (Ga. 1928), 6451, Shaver v. Martin
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court of Georgia
    • May 17, 1928
    ...or had been conducted in such manner as to produce the evils sought to be prevented by the ordinance. As said in Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425, 429, 46 L.Ed. 623, 626, 22 S.Ct. 425 [427]: 'A calling may not in itself be immoral, and yet the tendency of what is generally or ordinarily or o......
  • 177 N.Y. 145, People v. Lochner
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • January 12, 1904
    ...providing for immediate payment of wages by railroad companies to discharged employees (173 U.S. 404); prohibiting options to sell grain (184 U.S. 425); providing for inspection of mines at expense of owners (185 U.S. 203), and one declaring void all contracts for sales of stocks on margins......
  • 95 N.E. 900 (Ohio 1911), 12177, Williams & Thomas Co. v. Preslo
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 13, 1911
    ...It seems to us that the supreme court of Illinois reasoned more convincingly in its decision in the case of Booth v. People, 186 Ill. 43, 184 U.S. 425, than in the case of Off & Co. v. Morehead, 235 Ill. 40, in which they held the bulk sales law unconstitutional. In the former case, the......
  • 151 P. 879 (Okla. 1915), 3929, St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. Crews
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • September 14, 1915
    ...v. Parker, 187 U.S. 606, 23 S.Ct. 168, 47 L.Ed. 323; Cantwell v. Missouri, 199 U.S. 602, 26 S.Ct. 749, 50 L.Ed. 329; Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425, 22 S.Ct. 425, 46 L.Ed. 623; Fay v. Bankers' Surety Co., 125 Minn. 211, 146 N.W. 359, Ann. Cas. 1915C, 688; Ex parte Gemmill, 20 Idaho, 732, 1......
  • Free signup to view additional results
160 cases
  • 143 S.E. 402 (Ga. 1928), 6451, Shaver v. Martin
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court of Georgia
    • May 17, 1928
    ...or had been conducted in such manner as to produce the evils sought to be prevented by the ordinance. As said in Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425, 429, 46 L.Ed. 623, 626, 22 S.Ct. 425 [427]: 'A calling may not in itself be immoral, and yet the tendency of what is generally or ordinarily or o......
  • 177 N.Y. 145, People v. Lochner
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • January 12, 1904
    ...providing for immediate payment of wages by railroad companies to discharged employees (173 U.S. 404); prohibiting options to sell grain (184 U.S. 425); providing for inspection of mines at expense of owners (185 U.S. 203), and one declaring void all contracts for sales of stocks on margins......
  • 95 N.E. 900 (Ohio 1911), 12177, Williams & Thomas Co. v. Preslo
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 13, 1911
    ...It seems to us that the supreme court of Illinois reasoned more convincingly in its decision in the case of Booth v. People, 186 Ill. 43, 184 U.S. 425, than in the case of Off & Co. v. Morehead, 235 Ill. 40, in which they held the bulk sales law unconstitutional. In the former case, the......
  • 151 P. 879 (Okla. 1915), 3929, St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. Crews
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • September 14, 1915
    ...v. Parker, 187 U.S. 606, 23 S.Ct. 168, 47 L.Ed. 323; Cantwell v. Missouri, 199 U.S. 602, 26 S.Ct. 749, 50 L.Ed. 329; Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425, 22 S.Ct. 425, 46 L.Ed. 623; Fay v. Bankers' Surety Co., 125 Minn. 211, 146 N.W. 359, Ann. Cas. 1915C, 688; Ex parte Gemmill, 20 Idaho, 732, 1......
  • Free signup to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Bioterrorism defense: are state mandated compulsory vaccination programs an infringement upon a citizen's constitutional rights?
    • United States
    • Journal of Law and Health Vol. 17 Nbr. 2, June 2002
    • June 22, 2002
    ...illustration that compulsory vaccinations are a proper use of police power). See, id. at 19. (202) Id. at 20, quoting, Booth v. Illinios, 184 U.S. 425 (1902); Austin v. Tennessee, 179 U.S. 343 (1900); Fertilizing Co. v. Hyde Park, 97 U.S. 659 (1878). (203) Id. at 24. (204) Id. (205) Id. (20......
  • Public choice theory and occupational licensing.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 39 Nbr. 1, January - January 2016
    • January 1, 2016
    ...v. Texas, 193 U.S. 504, 510 (1904) (upholding state law prohibiting the sale of liquor in "dry" counties); Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425, 432 (1902) (rejecting due process challenge to state law forbidding futures contracts). (322.) 129 U.S. 114 (1889). To qualify to practice me......