271 U.S. 240 (1926), 308, Fenner v. Boykin

Docket NºNo. 308
Citation271 U.S. 240, 46 S.Ct. 492, 70 L.Ed. 927
Party NameFenner v. Boykin
Case DateMay 24, 1926
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 240

271 U.S. 240 (1926)

46 S.Ct. 492, 70 L.Ed. 927




No. 308

United States Supreme Court

May 24, 1926

Argued May 4, 1926




Enforcement of a state penal statute, even of one contrary to the federal Constitution, may be interfered with by injunction orders of a federal court only in extraordinary circumstances where the danger of irreparable loss is both great and immediate. P. 243.

3 F.2d 674 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the district court refusing a preliminary injunction in a suit by Fenner and others

Page 241

to restrain Boykin and Lowry, state officers, from enforcing a criminal law against dealings in agreements for purchase or sale of cotton for future delivery.

Page 242

MCREYNOLDS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This appeal is without merit, and the interlocutory decree below must be affirmed.

By an Act approved August 20, 1906, the Legislature of Georgia declared unlawful certain agreements for the purchase or sale, for future delivery, of designated commodities, [46 S.Ct. 493] and made participation therein a misdemeanor. It also prohibited maintenance of an office where such agreements are offered, and specified what should constitute prima facie evidence of guilty connection therewith. Laws 1906, p. 95.

Appellees, Boykin and Lowry, are the solicitor general and sheriff of Fulton County, Georgia, charged respectively with the general duty of prosecuting and arresting offenders.

Page 243

Subsequent to the passage of the Act of 1906, appellants, citizens of states other than Georgia, established in Fulton County a branch office, with the ordinary quotation board, where they solicited and received orders, accompanied by margins, to purchase or sell cotton for future delivery on the New York and New Orleans Exchanges. They were threatened with arrest and prosecution for violating the Act of 1906. By a bill in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, they challenged the validity of that statute upon the ground that it interfered with the free flow of commerce between the states. They alleged that the threatened action would deprive them of rights guaranteed by the federal Constitution, and asked that appellees be enjoined from proceeding therewith.

The district court, three judges sitting, having...

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