239 U.S. 325 (1915), 644, Weber v. Freed

Docket Nº:No. 644
Citation:239 U.S. 325, 36 S.Ct. 131, 60 L.Ed. 308
Party Name:Weber v. Freed
Case Date:December 13, 1915
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 325

239 U.S. 325 (1915)

36 S.Ct. 131, 60 L.Ed. 308




No. 644

United States Supreme Court

December 13, 1915

Argued December 1, 1915




That the power of Congress over foreign commerce is complete has been so thoroughly settled by former decisions of this Court that to question it is frivolous.

Congress has power to prohibit importation of foreign articles from abroad, including pictorial representations of prize fights designed for public exhibition, and so held that the Act of July 31, 1912, prohibiting such importation, is not unconstitutional. The fact that exhibitions of pictures are under state, and not federal, control does not affect the power of Congress to prohibit importation of articles from foreign countries to be exhibited. The motive of Congress in exerting its plenary power cannot be considered for the purpose of refusing to give effect to such power when exercised.

224 F. 355.

Page 326

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of the Act of July 31, 1012, prohibiting the importation of pictorial representations of prize fights, are stated in the opinion.

Page 328

WHITE, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Act of July 31, 1912 (§ 1, c. 263, 37 Stat. 240), makes it unlawful

to bring or to cause to be brought into the United States from abroad any film or other pictorial representation of any prize fight or encounter of pugilists, under whatever name, which is designed to be used or may be used for purposes of public exhibition.

With this provision in force, in April, 1915, the appellant brought to the port of entry of the City of Newark in the State of New Jersey photographic films of a pugilistic encounter or prize fight which had taken place at Havana, and demanded of the deputy collector of customs in charge the right to enter the films. On refusal of the official to permit the entry, appellant filed his bill of complaint to enforce the right to enter by a mandatory injunction and by other appropriate relief to accomplish the purpose in view. The ground relied on for the relief was the averment that the prohibition of the act of Congress

Page 329

in question was repugnant to the Constitution because, in enacting the same,

Congress exceeded its designated powers under the Constitution of the United States, and...

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