340 U.S. 349 (1951), 258, Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison

Docket Nº:No. 258
Citation:340 U.S. 349, 71 S.Ct. 295, 95 L.Ed. 329
Party Name:Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison
Case Date:January 15, 1951
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 349

340 U.S. 349 (1951)

71 S.Ct. 295, 95 L.Ed. 329

Dean Milk Co.

v.

City of Madison

No. 258

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 15, 1951

Argued December 7, 1950

APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF WISCONSIN

Syllabus

1. An ordinance of a Wisconsin municipality forbids the sale of milk in the city as pasteurized unless it has been pasteurized and bottled at an approved pasteurization plant within five miles of the center of the city. Appellant, an Illinois corporation engaged in gathering and distributing milk from farms in Illinois and Wisconsin, was denied a license to sell its products within the city solely because its pasteurization plants were more than five miles away.

Held: The ordinance unjustifiably discriminates against interstate commerce, in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 350-357.

(a) Even in the exercise of its unquestioned power to protect the health and safety of its people, a municipality may not erect an economic barrier protecting a major local industry against competition from without the state if reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives, adequate to conserve legitimate local interests, are available. P. 354.

(b) In view of the reasonable and adequate alternatives which are available for the protection of the health and safety of the people of the municipality, the discrimination against interstate commerce inherent in the ordinance violates the Commerce Clause. Pp. 354-356.

2. A second provision of the ordinance in question forbids the sale of milk, or the importation, receipt or storage of milk for sale, within the city except from a source of supply possessing a permit issued after inspection by city officials, and expressly relieves the city officials from any duty to inspect farms located beyond twenty-five miles from the city. Appellant's attack on the constitutional validity of this provision was dismissed by the state court for want of a justiciable controversy.

Held: as to the issue thus presented, the cause is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with the principles announced in the opinion of this Court. Pp. 350-351, 356-357.

257 Wis. 308, 43 N.W.2d 480, reversed.

An ordinance of a Wisconsin municipality regulating the sale of milk was sustained by the State Supreme Court

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over appellant's objections to its validity under the Federal Constitution. 257 Wis. 308, 43 N.W.2d 480. On appeal to this Court, reversed and remanded, p. 357.

CLARK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

This appeal challenges the constitutional validity of two sections of an ordinance of the City of Madison, Wisconsin, regulating the sale of milk and milk products within the municipality's jurisdiction. One section in issue makes it unlawful to sell any milk as pasteurized unless it has been processed and bottled at an approved pasteurization plant within a radius of five miles from the central square of Madison.1 Another section, which prohibits the sale of milk, or the importation, receipt or storage of milk for sale, in Madison unless from a source of supply possessing a permit issued after inspection by Madison officials is attacked insofar as it expressly relieves municipal authorities from any duty to inspect farms

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located beyond twenty-five miles from the center of the city.2

Appellant is an Illinois corporation engaged in distributing milk and milk products in Illinois and Wisconsin. It contended below, as it does here, that both the five-mile limit on pasteurization plants and the twenty-five-mile limit on sources of milk violate the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld the five-mile limit on pasteurization.3 As to the twenty-five-mile limitation the court ordered the complaint dismissed for want of a justiciable controversy. 257 Wis. 308, 43 N.W.2d 480 (1950). This appeal, contesting both rulings, invokes the jurisdiction of this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1257(2).

The City of Madison is the county seat of Dane County. Within the county are some 5,600 dairy farms, with total

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raw milk production in excess of 600,000,000 pounds annually and more than ten times the requirements of Madison. Aside from the milk supplied to Madison, fluid milk produced [71 S.Ct. 297] in the county moves in large quantities to Chicago and more distant consuming areas, and the remainder is used in making cheese, butter, and other products. At the time of trial, the Madison milkshed was not of "Grade A" quality by the standards recommended by the United States Public Health Service, and no milk labeled "Grade A" was distributed in Madison.

The area defined by the ordinance with respect to milk sources encompasses practically all of Dane County, and includes some 500 farms which supply milk for Madison. Within the five-mile area for pasteurization are plants of five processors, only three of which are engaged in the general wholesale and retail trade in Madison. Inspection of these farms and plants is scheduled once every thirty days, and is performed by two municipal inspectors, one of whom is full-time. The courts below found that the ordinance in question promotes convenient, economical, and efficient plant inspection.

Appellant purchases and gathers milk from approximately 950 farms in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, none being within twenty-five miles of Madison. Its pasteurization plants are located at Chemung and Huntley, Illinois, about 65 and 85 miles, respectively, from Madison. Appellant was denied a license to sell its products within Madison solely because its pasteurization plants were more than five miles away.

It is conceded that the milk which appellant seeks to sell in Madison is supplied from farms and processed in plants licensed and inspected by public health authorities of Chicago, and is labeled "Grade A" under the Chicago ordinance, which...

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