313 U.S. 109 (1941), 687, California v. Thompson

Docket Nº:No. 687
Citation:313 U.S. 109, 61 S.Ct. 930, 85 L.Ed. 1219
Party Name:California v. Thompson
Case Date:April 28, 1941
Court:United States Supreme Court

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313 U.S. 109 (1941)

61 S.Ct. 930, 85 L.Ed. 1219




No. 687

United States Supreme Court

April 28, 1941

Argued April 3, 1941




1. The Commerce Clause did not wholly withdraw from the States the power to regulate matters of local concern with respect to which Congress has not exercised its power, even though the regulation affects interstate commerce. P. 113.

2. The federal Motor Carrier Act of 1935 does not include the regulation of casual or occasional interstate transportation of passengers by persons not engaged in such transportation as a regular occupation or business, § 303(b)(9). P. 112.

3. A California statute requires every "transportation agent," defined as one who sells or offers to sell or negotiate for transportation on the public highways of the State, to obtain a license assuring his fitness and to file a bond securing faithful performance of the transportation contracts which he negotiates. It applies alike to agents negotiating for interstate or intrastate commerce, is not a revenue measure, and does not appear to increase the cost of interstate commerce. Its apparent object is to safeguard members of the public, desiring to secure transportation by motor vehicle, from fraud and overreaching. Held consistent with the Commerce Clause when applied to a person who, without having obtained the

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license or furnished the bond, arranged for motor transportation of passengers from California to Texas by.a carrier who, so far as appears, made only the single trip. P. 115.

4. Di Santo v. Pennsylvania, 273 U.S. 34, overruled. P. 116.

41 Cal.App.2d 965 reversed.

Certiorari, 312 U.S. 672, to review the reversal of a conviction on a charge of misdemeanor.

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STONE, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

A statute of California, Ch. 390, Statutes of 1933, p. 1011, as amended by Ch. 665, Statutes of 1935, p. 1833, defines a transportation agent as one who "sells or offers for sale, or negotiates for" transportation over the public highways of the state, § 2, and requires every such agent to procure a license from the State Railroad Commission authorizing him so to act. By §§ 6, 7, and 8, prerequisites to the license are determination by the Commission of the applicant's fitness to exercise the licensed privilege, the payment of a license fee of $1, and the filing by the applicant of a bond in the sum of $1,000, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the transportation contracts which he negotiates. By § 16, any person acting as a transportation agent without a license is guilty of a misdemeanor. The question for decision is whether the statutory exaction of the license and bond infringes the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, art. 1, § 8, cl. 3, when applied to one who negotiates for the transportation interstate of passengers over the public highways of the state.

Respondent was convicted of violation of the statute by arranging for the transportation, by motor vehicle, of

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passengers from Los Angeles, California, to Dallas, Texas, by one who, so far as appears, made only the single trip in question. The state appellate court reversed the judgment of conviction, holding, on the authority of Di Santo v. Pennsylvania, 273 U.S. 34, that the statute as applied infringes the Commerce Clause. We granted certiorari, 312 U.S. 672, the question, considered in the light of our decisions since the Di Santo case, sustaining state regulations affecting interstate transportation by motor vehicle, being of importance.

Congress has not undertaken to regulate the acts for which respondent was convicted or the interstate transportation to which they related. The Motor Carrier Act of 1935, 49 Stat. 543, 49 U.S.C. §§ 301-327, which applies to certain classes of common and contract interstate carriers by motor vehicle, excludes from its operation the casual or occasional transportation by motor vehicle of passengers in interstate commerce by persons not engaged in such transportation as a regular occupation or business, § 303(b)(9). Hence, we are concerned here only with the constitutional authority of the state to regulate those who, within the state, aid or participate in a form of interstate commerce over which Congress has not undertaken to exercise its regulatory power.

The statute is not a revenue measure. Cf. Texas Transport & Terminal Co. v. New Orleans, 264 U.S. 150. It applies alike to transportation agents who negotiate for transportation, intrastate as well as interstate, and so does not discriminate against interstate commerce. Cf. Real Silk Hosiery Mills v. Portland, 268 U.S. 325. It does not appear that the regulation will operate to increase the cost of the transportation or, in respects not already indicated, affect interstate commerce. It is not shown to be other than what, on its face, it appears to be -- a measure to safeguard the members of the public desiring to secure transportation

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