295 U.S. 285 (1935), 586, Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Public Service Commission

Docket Nº:No. 586
Citation:295 U.S. 285, 55 S.Ct. 709, 79 L.Ed. 1439
Party Name:Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Public Service Commission
Case Date:April 29, 1935
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 285

295 U.S. 285 (1935)

55 S.Ct. 709, 79 L.Ed. 1439

Aero Mayflower Transit Co.

v.

Georgia Public Service Commission

No. 586

United States Supreme Court

April 29, 1935

Argued April 4, 1935

APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA

Syllabus

1. A state statute imposing upon private carriers operating motor vehicles in the business of transporting persons or property for hire over any public highway in the State an annual license fee of $25 per vehicle for the maintenance of the highways held not unconstitutional in its application to a carrier operating such vehicles in interstate commerce. P. 289.

2. Imposition of a uniform state license fee of so much for each vehicle used by private carriers on the state roads does not create an undue burden upon interstate commerce as applied to an interstate carrier merely because that carrier has less occasion to use those roads than local carriers have. One who receives a privilege without limit is not wronged by his own refusal to enjoy it as freely as he may. P. 289.

3. A Georgia statute (Ex.Sess., 1931, p. 99) imposing an annual license tax on private carriers by motor vehicle of $25 per vehicle using the state highways, the proceeds of which tax are applied to the upkeep of state highways, does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by exempting:

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(1) Vehicles engaged in hauling passengers or farm products between points not having railroad facilities, and not passing through or beyond municipalities having such facilities, with certain limitations as to the number of the passengers and the quantity of the freight, and

(2) Vehicles engaged exclusively in the transportation of agricultural or dairy products, whether the "vehicle is owned by the owner or producer of such agricultural or dairy products or not, so long as the title remains in the producer." P. 290.

Smith v. Cahoon, 283 U.S. 553, distinguished. P. 291.

4. A state legislature has a wide discretion in the classification of trades and occupations for the purpose of taxation and in the allowance of exemptions and deductions within reasonable limits. P. 292.

5. Exemption of private carriers of farm and dairy product from a tax, though one imposed for highway upkeep, stands on a different footing from an exemption from a general requirement that private carriers provide bonds to insure the safety of the public on the highways. P. 293.

6. Upon review of a judgment of a state court sustaining a state statute against objections based on the Federal Constitution, this Court will not entertain other objections, not raised in or passed upon by the state court and which involve doubtful provisions of the statute which the state court has never considered. P. 294.

179 Ga. 431, 176 S.E. 487, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming the dismissal of the complaint in a suit to enjoin the Public Service Commissioners, and other officials of the State of Georgia, from enforcing an annual tax or fee on motor vehicles.

CARDOZO, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE CARDOZO delivered the opinion of the Court.

The validity of a statute of Georgia under the Commerce Clause (Article I, § 8, cl. 3) and the Fourteenth

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Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is challenged by the appellant, a private carrier for hire engaged in interstate commerce.

The statute is known as the "Motor-Carrier Act of 1931." Georgia Laws, Ex.Sess. 1931, p. 99. It prescribes a system of regulation for private carriers for hire. Common carriers are subject to the provisions of a separate statute. With exceptions to be stated later, every private carrier operating a motor vehicle in the business of transporting persons or property for hire over any public highway in the state must comply with certain conditions. The carrier must apply for and obtain from the Public Service Commission a certificate of public convenience and necessity (§ 4); must give a bond with adequate security for protection against damage caused by negligence (§ 7); must pay for the certificate a fee of $35 (§ 17), and at the same time and annually thereafter must pay a registration and license fee of $25 (§ 18) for every vehicle so operated. The fees, when received by the Comptroller General of the state, are to be transmitted to the State Treasurer, who is to keep them in a separate fund. This fund is to be subject to the control of the State Highway Department, and is to be devoted to the maintenance and repair of the highways of the state.

The exceptions to the foregoing requirements are stated in § 2. The act does not apply to a business conducted exclusively within the incorporated limits of any city or town. Cf. Continental Baking Co. v. Woodring, 286 U.S. 352, 366. It does not...

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