299 U.S. 59 (1936), 22, State Board of Equalization v. Young's Market Co.

Docket Nº:No. 22
Citation:299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38
Party Name:State Board of Equalization v. Young's Market Co.
Case Date:November 09, 1936
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 59

299 U.S. 59 (1936)

57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38

State Board of Equalization


Young's Market Co.

No. 22

United States Supreme Court

Nov. 9, 1936

Argued October 19, 1936




1. Under § 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment, which provides:

The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited,

a State may exact a license fee for the privilege of importing beer from other States. P. 61.

2. There is no ground (1) for the proposition that such a tax violates the commerce clause by discriminating against the wholesaler of imported beer in favor of the wholesaler of beer locally brewed, both paying the same wholesaler's license tax; or (2) for the proposition that the right conferred by the amendment to prohibit importation is conditional upon prohibition of local manufacture and sale. Pp. 61-62.

3. A California law imposing a fee of $500 per annum for the privilege of importing beer, and $750 per annum for the privilege of manufacturing beer, held consistent with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, first, because a classification recognized by the Twenty-first Amendment cannot be deemed forbidden by the Fourteenth, and second, because the classification rests on conditions requiring difference of treatment. P. 64.

12 F.Supp. 140 reversed.

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Appeal from a decree of a three-judge District Court enjoining officials of the California from enforcing a license fee fr the privilege of importing beer.

BRANDEIS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This suit, brought in the federal court for southern California, challenges the validity, under the Twenty-First Amendment of the Federal Constitution, of the provisions of a statute of that State, and of the regulations thereunder, which impose a license fee of $500 for the privilege of importing beer to any place within its borders.1 The license does not confer the privilege of selling.2 Compare Premier-Pabst Sales Co. v. Grosscup, 298 U.S. 226.

The plaintiffs are domestic corporations and individual citizens of California who sue on behalf of themselves and of others similarly situated. Each is engaged in selling at wholesale at one or more places of business within the

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state beer imported from Missouri or Wisconsin, and has a wholesaler's license which entitles the holder to sell there to licensed dealers beer lawfully possessed, whether it be imported or is of domestic make. For that license, the fee is $50. Each plaintiff has...

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