315 U.S. 110 (1942), 744, United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co.

Docket Nº:No. 744
Citation:315 U.S. 110, 62 S.Ct. 523, 86 L.Ed. 726
Party Name:United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co.
Case Date:February 02, 1942
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 110

315 U.S. 110 (1942)

62 S.Ct. 523, 86 L.Ed. 726

United States

v.

Wrightwood Dairy Co.

No. 744

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 2, 1942

Argued January 14, 1942

CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

1. The national power to regulate the price of milk moving interstate into a marketing area extends to such control over intrastate transactions there as is necessary and appropriate to make the regulation of the interstate commerce effective; it includes authority to regulate the price of intrastate milk, the sale of which, in competition with the interstate milk, affects adversely the price structure and federal regulation of the latter. P. 121.

2. The federal power to regulate intrastate transactions is not limited to persons who are engaged also in interstate transactions. P. 121

3. Viewed in the light of its legislative history, § 8c(1) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of June 3, 1937, which authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to issue marketing orders fixing minimum prices to be paid to producers of milk, limiting the regulation to such handling of the commodity as is in the current of interstate or foreign commerce or as "directly affects" such commerce, was intended, by a full exercise of the commerce power, to confer upon the Secretary authority to regulate the handling of milk produced and marketed intrastate, which by reason of its competition with the handling of interstate milk so affects the interstate commerce as substantially to interfere with its regulation under the Act. P. 125.

4. Opinions of individual members of Congress on the meaning of a bill, which conflict with committee reports concerning it and explanations of it made on the floor by Committee members having it in charge, are not persuasive of the Congressional purpose. P. 125.

123 F.2d 100 reversed.

Certiorari, 314 U.S. 605, to review the affirmance of a decree dismissing a bill brought by the Government to enforce

Page 111

an order of the Secretary of Agriculture, and granting an injunction to the defendant against the execution of the order.

Page 115

STONE, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The principal questions for our decision are whether certain price regulation by the Secretary of Agriculture of milk produced and sold intrastate is authorized by the

Page 116

provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of June 3, 1937, 50 Stat. 246, 7 U.S.C. § 608c, and is a permissible regulation under the commerce clause of the Constitution.

Section 8c of the Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to issue marketing orders fixing minimum prices to be paid to producers of milk and certain other commodities. Paragraph 1 of the section provides that orders of the Secretary

shall regulate, in the manner hereinafter in this section provided, only such handling of such agricultural commodity, or product thereof, as is in the current of interstate or foreign commerce, or which directly burdens, obstructs, or affects, interstate or foreign commerce in such commodity or product thereof.

The United States sought in the present suit a decree directing respondent to comply with the Secretary's Order No. 41, of August 28, 1939, regulating the handling of milk in the "Chicago, Illinois, marketing area." Respondent is a handler in that area of milk which it purchases from producers in Illinois. The order, which is of the type described in the [62 S.Ct. 525] opinion of this Court in United States v. Rock Royal Cooperative Inc., 307 U.S. 533, 551-555, is, by its terms, applicable to respondent and purports to carry out the statutory scheme for regulating the price of milk paid to producers, considered in the opinion in that case. By the order, the Secretary found that all milk produced for sale in the marketing area "is handled in the current of interstate commerce, or so as directly to burden, obstruct, or affect interstate commerce in milk or its products . . . ," and directed that it apply to such "handling of milk" in the marketing area "as is in the current of interstate commerce or which directly burdens, obstructs, or affects interstate commerce."

The order, as provided by the statute, § 8c(5), classifies milk according to its uses, and establishes a formula for determining the minimum price to be paid to producers

Page 117

for each class of milk. It prescribes the method of determining the value of milk received from producers by each handler during each month. It requires the payment of a uniform unit price to producers, computed by dividing the total value of milk reported by all handlers in the marketing area by the total quantity of such milk, with deductions of certain amounts to provide a cash balance in a "producer settlement fund." The handler is required to pay producers the uniform price, subject to butterfat and location differentials. But he is also required to pay into the settlement fund, or permitted to withdraw from it, as the case may be, certain amounts, depending on whether the total value of the milk used by him is greater or less, respectively, than his total payments to producers at the uniform price. The amounts withdrawn from the settlement fund by handlers are required to be used to bring the price received by certain producers up to the uniform price set in the order where, because of the purpose for which the handler has sold it, the value of their milk is less than the uniform price. Handlers are required to make reports to the Administrator containing information necessary for the execution of the order, and to bear the expense of administering it.

Respondent's answer in the District Court sets up that its business is entirely intrastate, and that, in consequence, the statute does not, and under the commerce clause cannot, constitutionally apply to it. The answer also sets up additional grounds, which need not now be considered, for respondent's contention that the order is invalid, and, by way of counterclaim, prays that the United States and its officers and agents be enjoined from enforcing the order. The court found that respondent had not complied with the order; that, in the course of its business, it purchases milk from producers within the Illinois, processes the milk and sells it in the state "in competition with the milk of other handlers in the area;" that

Page 118

none of respondent's milk is physically intermingled with that which has crossed state lines, and that, prior to the order, 60 percent of the milk sold in the marketing area was produced in Illinois and 40 percent in neighboring states, and that, at the time of the findings, "over 60 percent" was produced in Illinois. The record shows that "approximately 40%" comes from without the state.

The court held that "the order was issued by the Secretary in full compliance with the law. All conditions precedent to the effectiveness of said order have occurred," but that the business of the defendant

was not in the current of interstate . . . commerce, and did not directly burden, obstruct or affect interstate . . . commerce in milk marketed within the Chicago, Illinois, marketing area.

It accordingly decreed that the complaint be dismissed, and granted the injunction prayed by the counterclaim.

The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, 123 F.2d 100, 103, on the sole ground that Congress is without authority under the commerce clause to regulate intrastate transactions in milk which affect interstate commerce through competition only. It recognized that respondent's milk is sold in competition with other milk moving interstate; that the "milk problem is a serious one, and apparently, for the most effective control, requires unified regulations," and that, if respondent is not subject to the present regulations,

[it] may well be that the effective sanction of the order will [62 S.Ct. 526] wither before the force of competition, the morale of the market will disintegrate, and this attempted solution of the problem by the National Government will fail.

But it concluded that there is a hiatus between the constitutional power of state and nation which precludes any solution of the problem by Congressional legislation.

We think there is no such hiatus. Congress plainly has power to regulate the price of milk distributed through the medium of interstate commerce, United States v. Rock Royal Cooperative, Inc., supra, and it possesses every power

Page 119

needed to make that regulation effective. The commerce power is not confined in its exercise to the regulation of commerce among the states. It extends to those activities intrastate which so affect interstate commerce, or the exertion of the power of Congress over it, as to make regulation of them appropriate means to the attainment of a legitimate end, the...

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216 practice notes
  • 43 F.Supp. 966 (S.D.Cal. 1942), 14952, United States v. Food and Grocery Bureau of Southern California, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit Southern District of California
    • March 11, 1942
    ...in advance, which constitutes the violation, not the sale at the price. In the recent case of United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 62 S.Ct. 523, 526, 86 L.Ed. . . . , decided on February 2, 1942, the Supreme Court said: 'Competitive practices which are wholly intrastate may be reached by ......
  • 478 F.Supp. 646 (D. Puerto Rico 1979), Civ. 78-323, Romero-Barcelo v. Brown
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit District of Puerto Rico
    • September 17, 1979
    ...See, National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 840, 96 S.Ct. 2465, 49 L.Ed.2d 245 (1976); United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 62 S.Ct. 523, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942). The military's operational restrictions at Vieques were issued by the authority of the Secretary of the A......
  • 648 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2011), 11-11021, Florida ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • August 12, 2011
    ..." Raich, 545 U.S. at 36, 125 S.Ct. at 2217 (Scalia, J., concurring) (emphasis added) (quoting United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 119, 62 S.Ct. 523, 526, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942)). In other words, the Necessary and Proper Clause enables Congress in some instances to reach i......
  • 13 F.3d 291 (9th Cir. 1993), 93-10058, United States v. Edwards
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • December 21, 1993
    ...designed to regulate purely intrastate activities which affect interstate commerce. See, e.g., United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 118-19, 62 S.Ct. 523, 525-26, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942) (Congress is permitted to regulate the price of milk sold intrastate because of resulting com......
  • Free signup to view additional results
199 cases
  • 43 F.Supp. 966 (S.D.Cal. 1942), 14952, United States v. Food and Grocery Bureau of Southern California, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit Southern District of California
    • March 11, 1942
    ...in advance, which constitutes the violation, not the sale at the price. In the recent case of United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 62 S.Ct. 523, 526, 86 L.Ed. . . . , decided on February 2, 1942, the Supreme Court said: 'Competitive practices which are wholly intrastate may be reached by ......
  • 478 F.Supp. 646 (D. Puerto Rico 1979), Civ. 78-323, Romero-Barcelo v. Brown
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit District of Puerto Rico
    • September 17, 1979
    ...See, National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 840, 96 S.Ct. 2465, 49 L.Ed.2d 245 (1976); United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 62 S.Ct. 523, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942). The military's operational restrictions at Vieques were issued by the authority of the Secretary of the A......
  • 648 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2011), 11-11021, Florida ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • August 12, 2011
    ..." Raich, 545 U.S. at 36, 125 S.Ct. at 2217 (Scalia, J., concurring) (emphasis added) (quoting United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 119, 62 S.Ct. 523, 526, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942)). In other words, the Necessary and Proper Clause enables Congress in some instances to reach i......
  • 13 F.3d 291 (9th Cir. 1993), 93-10058, United States v. Edwards
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • December 21, 1993
    ...designed to regulate purely intrastate activities which affect interstate commerce. See, e.g., United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 118-19, 62 S.Ct. 523, 525-26, 86 L.Ed. 726 (1942) (Congress is permitted to regulate the price of milk sold intrastate because of resulting com......
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1 firm's commentaries
13 books & journal articles
  • "Appropriate" means-ends constraints on Section 5 powers.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 53 Nbr. 5, May 2001
    • May 1, 2001
    ...the term "appropriate" and "appropriateness" to describe the notion of proper); United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 111, 121 (1942) (affirming Congress' power to control intrastate transactions "as is necessary and appropriate to make the regulation of t......
  • The proper meaning of "proper": why the regulation of intrastate, non-commercial species under the Endangered Species Act is an invalid exercise of the commerce clause.
    • United States
    • Washington University Law Review Vol. 91 Nbr. 1, December - December 2013
    • December 1, 2013
    ...Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 37 (1937). (72.) United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100 (1941). (73.) Id at 125. (74.) Id. at 118. (75.) 315 U.S. 110(1942). (76.) Id. at 121 ("It is the effect upon interstate commerce or upon the exercise of the power to regulate it ... which is the cr......
  • Wickard for the Internet? Network neutrality after Verizon v. FCC.
    • United States
    • Federal Communications Law Journal Vol. 66 Nbr. 3, June - June 2014
    • June 1, 2014
    ...121. (123.) 467 F.2d 1397, 1400 (7th Cir. 1972). (124.) Wickard v. Filbum, 317 U.S. 111, 124 (1942); United States v. Wrightwood Dairy, 315 U.S. 110, 119(1942); United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 118 (1941). (125.) 309 F.3d 796, 803-07 (D.C. Cir. 2002). (126.) Id. at 803. (127.) Id. (128......
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    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 123 Nbr. 6, April - April 2014
    • April 1, 2014
    ...implication"). (86.) I am grateful to Genevieve Lakier for discussions on this point. (87.) United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co, 315 U.S. 110, 119 (1942); see also United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 118-19 (1941) (citing McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 421 (1819)); T......
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