226 U.S. 578 (1913), 115, Schmidinger v. Chicago

Docket NºNo. 115
Citation226 U.S. 578, 33 S.Ct. 182, 57 L.Ed. 364
Party NameSchmidinger v. Chicago
Case DateJanuary 13, 1913
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 578

226 U.S. 578 (1913)

33 S.Ct. 182, 57 L.Ed. 364

Schmidinger

v.

Chicago

No. 115

United States Supreme Court

January 13, 1913

Argued December 20, 1912

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Syllabus

The right of the legislature, or the municipality under legislative authority, to regulate one trade and not another is well settled as not denying equal protection of the laws.

The right of the legislature, or the municipality acting under state authority, to regulate trades and callings in the exercise of the police power without federal interference under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is also well settled. Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U.S. 183.

The making and selling of bread, particularly in large cities, is obviously a trade subject to police regulation.

Local legislative authorities, and not the courts, are primarily the judges of the necessities of local situations calling for police regulation,

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and the courts can only interfere when such regulation arbitrarily exceeds a reasonable exercise of authority.

The fact that laws prescribing standard sizes of loaves of bread and prohibiting the sale of other sizes have been sustained by the courts of several states shows the necessity for police regulation of the subject.

Mere inconvenience to merchants conducting a business subject to police regulation does not vitiate the exercise of the power.

There is no absolute liberty of contract, and limitations thereon by police regulations of the state are frequently necessary in the interest of public welfare, and do not violate the freedom of contract guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. C., B. & Q. R. Co. v. McGuire, 219 U.S. 549.

The ordinance of Chicago of 1908 enacted under legislative authority, fixing standard sizes of bread loaves and prohibiting the sale of other sizes, is not unconstitutional as depriving those dealing therein of their property without due process of law or as denying them equal protection of the law or as interfering with their liberty of contract.

245 Ill. 317 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of the bread loaf ordinance of the City of Chicago, are stated in the opinion.

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DAY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

The City of Chicago instituted suit against the plaintiff in error in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, to recover penalties for certain violations of an ordinance of that city. The violations alleged in the declaration which are material here consisted in the making and selling of loaves of bread differing in weight from the weights prescribed by the ordinance. Upon the first trial in the circuit court,

Page 584

judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff in error, then defendant. The judgment was reversed upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois, and the case remanded to the circuit court (243 Ill. 167). That court, following the decision of the Supreme Court of Illinois, rendered judgment for certain penalties against the plaintiff in error. The case was again appealed to the Supreme Court of Illinois, and the judgment affirmed in a per curiam opinion, following 243 Ill., supra (245 Ill. 317). The case was then brought here on writ of error.

The ordinance in question, passed January 6, 1908, undertakes to regulate the sale of bread in the loaf within the City of Chicago, and the parts pertinent to the present case provide:

Section 2. Every loaf of bread made or procured for the purpose of sale, sold, offered or exposed for sale in the City of Chicago shall weigh a pound avoirdupois (except as hereinafter provided), and such loaf shall be considered to be the standard loaf of the City of Chicago. Bread may also be made or procured for the purpose of sale, sold, offered or exposed for sale, in half, three-quarter, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, or sextuple loaves, and in no other way. Every loaf of bread made or procured for the purpose of sale, sold, offered, or exposed for sale in the city shall have affixed thereon in a conspicuous place a label at least one inch square, or, if round, at least one inch in diameter, upon which label there shall be printed in plain type . . . the weight of the loaf in pound, pounds, or fraction of a pound avoirdupois, whether the loaf be a standard loaf or not. The business name and address of the maker, baker, or manufacturer of the loaf shall also be printed plainly on each label.

Section 3. Every maker, baker, or manufacturer of bread, every proprietor of a bakery or bakeshop, and every seller of bread in the City of Chicago shall keep scales and

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weights suitable for the weighing of bread in a conspicuous place in his bakery, bakeshop, or store, and shall, whenever requested by the buyer, and in the buyer's presence, weigh the loaf or loaves of bread sold or offered for sale.

Section 4. If any person, firm, or corporation shall make or procure for the purpose of sale, sell, offer or expose for sale within the City of Chicago . . . any bread the loaf or loaves of which are not standard, half, three-quarter, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, or sextuple loaves as defined in § 2 of this ordinance, . . . or shall make or procure for the purpose of sale, sell, offer or expose for sale, within the City of Chicago any standard loaf or loaves of bread which do not weigh one pound each, or any bread the loaf or loaves of which do not weigh as much as the weight marked thereon, or any bread the loaf or loaves of which do not have affixed thereon the label marked as hereinbefore provided, contrary to the provisions of this...

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