187 U.S. 137 (1902), 269, Reid v. Colorado

Docket Nº:No. 269
Citation:187 U.S. 137, 23 S.Ct. 92, 47 L.Ed. 108
Party Name:Reid v. Colorado
Case Date:December 01, 1902
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 137

187 U.S. 137 (1902)

23 S.Ct. 92, 47 L.Ed. 108

Reid

v.

Colorado

No. 269

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 01, 1902

Argued October 24, 1902

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

Syllabus

The transportation of livestock from state to state is a branch of interstate commerce, and any specified rule or regulation in respect of such transportation, which Congress may lawfully prescribe or authorize and which may properly be deemed a regulation of such commerce, is paramount throughout the Union.

When the entire subject of the transportation of livestock from one state to another is taken under direct national supervision and a system devised by which diseased stock may be excluded from interstate commerce, all local or state regulations in respect of such matters and covering the same ground will cease to have any force, whether formally abrogated or not, and such rules and regulations as Congress may lawfully prescribe or authorize will alone control. The power which the states might thus exercise may in this way be suspended until national control is abandoned and the subject be thereby left under the power of the states.

The Act of Congress of May 29, 1884, 23 Stat. 31, c. 80, known as the Animal Industry Act, does not cover the whole subject of the transportation of livestock from one state to another.

The statute of Colorado of March 21, 1886, relating to the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases among the cattle and horses of that state, relates to matters not covered by the Animal Industry Act of Congress, and is not in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

No one is given by the Constitution of the United States the right to introduce into a state, against its will, livestock affected by a contagious, infectious or communicable disease, and whose presence in the state will or may be injurious to its domestic animals. The state -- Congress not having assumed charge of the matter as involved in interstate commerce -- may protect its people and their property against such dangers, taking care always that the means employed to that end do not go beyond the necessities of the case or unreasonably burden the exercise of privileges secured by the Constitution of the United States.

The Colorado statute is not inconsistent with the clause of the Constitution declaring that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, for it is applicable alike to the citizens of all the states.

The principle is universal that legislation, whether by Congress or by a state, must be taken to be valid unless the contrary is made clearly to appear.

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The case is stated in the opinion.

HARLAN, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The plaintiff in error was convicted in the District Court of Arapahoe County, Colorado, and sentenced to confinement for six months in the county jail for a violation of the second section of a statute enacted March 21, 1885, to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases among the cattle and horses of that state. Session Laws, Col. 1885, p. 335.

The judgment was affirmed by the supreme court of the state, and, the case having been brought here, it is insisted that, by the final judgment the accused has been denied a right specially claimed by him under the Constitution of the United States.

This position depends upon the inquiry whether a certain act of Congress, to be presently referred to, has the scope and effect attributed to it by the accused, and, that contention failing, whether the statute under which he was convicted is repugnant to that instrument.

After reciting that certain infectious and contagious diseases, known as the Texas or splenetic fever, Spanish itch, and other diseases of a dangerous and contagious nature, were prevalent among cattle and horse stock in the states and territories south of the 36th parallel of north latitude, and that it was essential for the protection of the cattle and horses of Colorado to prevent the introduction and spread of all such diseases within that state, the above statute provided:

§ 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, association, or corporation to bring or drive, or cause to be brought or driven, into this state any cattle or horses having an infectious or

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contagious disease, or which have been herded, or brought into contact with any other cattle or horses laboring under such disease at any time within ninety days prior to their importation into this state.

§ 2. It shall be unlawful for any person, [23 S.Ct. 93] association, or corporation to bring or drive, or cause to be brought or driven, into this state between the first day of April and the first day of November any cattle or horses from a state, territory, or county, south of the 36th parallel of north latitude unless said cattle or horses have been held at some place north of the said parallel of latitude for a period of at least ninety days prior to their importation into this state, or unless the person, association, or corporation owning or having charge of such cattle or horses shall procure from the State Veterinary Sanitary Board a certificate, or bill of health, to the effect that said cattle or horses are free from all infectious or contagious diseases, and have not been exposed at any time within ninety days prior thereto, to any of said diseases. The expense of any inspection connected herewith to be paid by the owner or owners of such cattle or horses.

§ 3. Any person violating the provision of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, on conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred (500) dollars, nor more than five thousand (5,000) dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than six months, and not exceeding three years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

§ 4. If any person, association, or corporation shall bring, or cause to be brought, into this state, any cattle or horses, in violation of the provisions of sections one or two of this act, or shall, by false representation, procure a certificate of health, as provided for in section two of this act, he or they shall be liable in all cases for all damages sustained on account of disease communicated by or from said cattle or horses; judgment for damages in any such case, together with the costs of action, shall be a lien upon all such cattle and horses, and a writ of attachment may issue in the first instance without the giving of a bond, and the court rendering such judgment may order the sale of said cattle or horses, or so many thereof as

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may be necessary to satisfy said judgments and costs. Such sale shall be conducted as other sales under execution.

Session Laws, Col. 1885, p. 335.

There was no proof in the case that the particular cattle in question had any dangerous, infectious, or contagious disease. But it did appear that, after being kept a long while in Lubbock and Cochran Counties, Texas, south of the 36th parallel of north latitude, these cattle were shipped on the 20th day of June, 1901, to Denver, Colorado, on their way to their ultimate destination in Wyoming, without being first inspected as required by the statute of the former state. The provisions of the Colorado statute were ignored altogether as invalid legislation. Being asked by one of the witnesses whether he had or not allowed the state board of sanitary inspection to inspect the cattle or whether or not he had procured from the State Veterinary Sanitary Board a certificate or bill of health to the effect that the cattle were free from all infectious or contagious diseases, the defendant said

that the state board of sanitary inspection, through one of their inspectors, had inspected the cattle against his will and desire, but that he had not obtained from the board any certificate or bill of health whatsoever. But he said that he immediately theretofore had had the cattle inspected by a duly authorized inspector of the Bureau of Animal Industry of the United States at Hereford, in the State of Texas, and had obtained a certificate from him to the effect that the same were free from any infectious or contagious disease; that the reason he could not get a certificate or bill of health from the state board of Colorado was because he would not pay the expense of such inspection, and because he had opposed such inspection as unnecessary and without any warrant in law.

When refusing his assent to the state inspection, Reid showed to the state authorities what he called a "United States certificate."

The certificate was signed by "Arthur C. Hart, Ass't Inspector, Bureau of Animal Industry." That officer certified that he had carefully inspected the cattle in question at Hereford, Texas, and found them "free from Texas or splenetic fever infection

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(boophilus bovis), or any other infectious or contagious disease," and that "no Texas fever infection is known to exist where they have been kept or on the trail over which they have passed." Below the signature of the assistant inspector was the following unsigned printed memorandum:

Animals which have been inspected and certified by an inspector of the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry, and are free from disease, have the right to go into any state and be sold for any purpose, without further inspection or the exaction of fees.

The above, together with certain published regulations prepared and issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry, was all the evidence in the case.

The defendant asked the court to instruct the jury:

That it was unnecessary for the defendant to procure from the Colorado Veterinary Sanitary Board a certificate or bill of health to the effect that his cattle were free from infectious or contagious diseases and had not been exposed at any...

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