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

v.

Young's Market Co.

No. 22

United States Supreme Court

Nov. 9, 1936

Argued October 19, 1936

[57 S.Ct. 77] APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Syllabus

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.

Page 60

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

Page 61

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 refused to apply for an importer's license, claiming that the requirement discriminates against wholesalers of imported beer, and that, hence, the statute violates both the commerce clause and the equal protection clause. The bill alleges that heavy penalties are exacted for importing, or having in possession, imported beer without having secured an importer's license; that, unless enjoined defendants will enforce the statute; that enforcement would subject each of the plaintiffs to irreparable injury, and that the matter in controversy exceeds $3,000.

The several state officials charged with the duty of enforcing the statute were joined as defendants, and made return to an order to show cause. They assert that the challenged statutory provisions and regulations are valid because of the Twenty-First Amendment, ratified December 5, 1933, which provides by § 2:

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.

First. The main contention of the plaintiffs is that the exaction of the importer's license fee violates the commerce clause by discriminating against the wholesaler of imported beer. But there is no discrimination against them qua wholesalers. Everyone holding a wholesaler's license who is lawfully possessed of any beer may sell it. The fee exacted for the privilege of selling, and the conditions under which a sale may be made, are the same whether the beer to be sold is imported or domestic, or is both. The difference in position charged as a discrimination is not in the terms under which beer may be sold.

Page 62

It arises from the fact that no one may import beer without...

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187 practice notes
  • 426 F.Supp. 543 (D.Conn. 1977), Civ. H-76-4, Inturri v. Healy
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit District of Connecticut
    • February 16, 1977
    ...Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324, 330, 84 S.Ct. 1293, 12 L.Ed.2d 350 (1964); State Board v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 64, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936); but see Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91 S.Ct. 507, 27 L.Ed.2d 515 (1971). Noting that &qu......
  • 951 F.Supp. 749 (N.D.Ind. 1994), 2 94 cv 165, Calumet Breweries, Inc. v. G. Heileman Brewing Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Indiana
    • December 14, 1994
    ...sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within their borders. For example, in State Board of Equalization v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936), a California license fee required to import beer from outside the state was attacked as discriminating in favor......
  • 7 N.E.2d 652 (Ohio 1937), 26187, State ex rel. Superior Distributing Co. v. Davis
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • March 24, 1937
    ...of State Board of Equalization of California et al. v. Young's Market Co. et al., which was announced November 9, 1936, and is found in 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 78, 81 L.Ed. 38. In that suit, the validity of the statute of the state of California and regulations thereunder imposing a licen......
  • 284 N.W.2d 353 (Minn. 1979), 48509, Miller Brewing Co. v. State
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • June 15, 1979
    ...Brewing Co. v. Liquor Control Comm'n, 305 U.S. 391, 59 S.Ct. 254, 83 L.Ed. 243 (1939); State Bd. of Equalization v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936). Plaintiff mistakenly attaches great importance to the following statement from this court's opinion in Ernst.......
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172 cases
  • 426 F.Supp. 543 (D.Conn. 1977), Civ. H-76-4, Inturri v. Healy
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit District of Connecticut
    • February 16, 1977
    ...Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324, 330, 84 S.Ct. 1293, 12 L.Ed.2d 350 (1964); State Board v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 64, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936); but see Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 91 S.Ct. 507, 27 L.Ed.2d 515 (1971). Noting that &qu......
  • 951 F.Supp. 749 (N.D.Ind. 1994), 2 94 cv 165, Calumet Breweries, Inc. v. G. Heileman Brewing Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Indiana
    • December 14, 1994
    ...sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within their borders. For example, in State Board of Equalization v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936), a California license fee required to import beer from outside the state was attacked as discriminating in favor......
  • 7 N.E.2d 652 (Ohio 1937), 26187, State ex rel. Superior Distributing Co. v. Davis
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • March 24, 1937
    ...of State Board of Equalization of California et al. v. Young's Market Co. et al., which was announced November 9, 1936, and is found in 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 78, 81 L.Ed. 38. In that suit, the validity of the statute of the state of California and regulations thereunder imposing a licen......
  • 284 N.W.2d 353 (Minn. 1979), 48509, Miller Brewing Co. v. State
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • June 15, 1979
    ...Brewing Co. v. Liquor Control Comm'n, 305 U.S. 391, 59 S.Ct. 254, 83 L.Ed. 243 (1939); State Bd. of Equalization v. Young's Market Co., 299 U.S. 59, 57 S.Ct. 77, 81 L.Ed. 38 (1936). Plaintiff mistakenly attaches great importance to the following statement from this court's opinion in Ernst.......
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