Ex parte House v. Mayes

Citation127 S.W. 305,227 Mo. 617
PartiesEx parte R. J. HOUSE v. JOEL B. MAYES, etc
Decision Date26 April 1910
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

Writ denied.

Frank Hagerman and Kimbrough Stone for petitioner.

The law is invalid as an unauthorized invasion of the liberty of the citizen. The State is not infringing upon that liberty when it exercises its police power to confine the freedom of the individual for the protection of the State or of the safety health, morals or welfare of the general public. The objects of the police power can be stated only in a general way, but may be defined to be the protection of the safety, health morals or welfare of the general public. Adair v. United States, 208 U.S. 173. But the Legislature can interfere with the liberty of the citizen only insofar as necessary to accomplish these ends, for there is a limit beyond which it may not go in the regulation of the affairs of the individual. It cannot, through the guise of an exercise of the police power, invade that liberty of the citizen which the fundamental law has declared to be unassailable. State v. Julow, 129 Mo. 163; Lochner v. New York, 189 U.S. 45. While large discretion is necessarily vested in the Legislature to determine what the interests of the public require and what measures are necessary to protect those interests, yet to justify the State in interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must appear that the interests of the public generally require such interferences and also that the means used for the accomplishment of that purpose are reasonably necessary and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. State v. Cantwell, 179 Mo. 263; Lawton v. Steele, 152 U.S. 136; Guthrie's Fourteenth Amendment, p. 76; Yick Wo. v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 368; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U.S. 313; Collins v. New Hampshire, 171 U.S. 34. (2) Your petitioner urges that in the present instance no public interest or purpose has been served, that neither the safety health, morals nor welfare of the public has been protected but that his private business rights -- his liberty to contract -- have been arbitrarily interfered with in an unnecessary and unreasonable manner. The alleged purpose of this act was to prevent fraud. The manner in which the law seeks to prevent this alleged fraud is to make it a crime for any purchaser of grain, seed, hay or coal to "deduct any amount from the actual weight or measure thereof under claim of right to do so by reason of any custom or rule of a board of trade or any pretense whatsoever." Obviously the statute regards a deduction by the purchaser from the weight of grain under a custom or rule of a board of trade as a fraud requiring legislative prevention. Plainly if no semblance of fraud is present in such a transaction, if the deduction is based upon sound and fair business conditions then the Legislature cannot prevent such a practice merely by declaring it fraudulent. Fraud cannot exist without deception. There can be no fraud where no one is or can be deceived. The facts of the present case, which are not only typical of but identical with all transactions within the State where a deduction is made "by reason of any custom or rule of a board of trade," show that every circumstance surrounding the deduction is open and a matter of record. There is no concealment and no deceit. There is just as little reason for interference on the theory that there is fraud in the transaction because there is no real ground for making the deduction, although it may be made openly. The facts show that the rule is the result of what both buyers and sellers in a great market have determined to be a just rule to govern their sales in that market. It was enacted by them "to secure the buyer from loss through dirt and foreign matter in or swept out with the grain which was unloaded at Kansas City," and "the one hundred pound quantity was taken as a fair average" of the "loss from dirt and foreign matter, varying with different cars, which is not fully taken care of in the grade," because "there is no method in use of accurately determining the percentage of such foreign matter and dirt." There must be some "reasonable ground" for the legislative interference or it cannot be justified. State v. Vandiver, 121 S.W. 45; State ex rel. v. Standard Oil Co., 218 Mo. 379; Lumber Co. v. Railroad, 216 Mo. 675; Lohse Co. v. Fuelle, 215 Mo. 453; St. Louis v. Glover, 210 Mo. 512; St. Louis v. DeLassus, 205 Mo. 586; State v. Weber, 205 Mo. 47; State ex rel. v. McIntosh, 205 Mo. 615; State ex rel. v. Miles, 210 Mo. 127; St. Louis v. Dairy Co., 190 Mo. 485; St. Louis v. Dairy Co., 190 Mo. 504; State v. Lower, 185 Mo. 99; State v. Tie Co., 181 Mo. 555; State v. Cantwell, 179 Mo. 263; St. Louis v. Packing Co., 141 Mo. 375; Railroad v. Jacobson, 179 U.S. 301; Lochren v. New York, 198 U.S. 45; Adair v. United States, 208 U.S. 161; Ritchie v. People, 155 Ill. 98. The Legislature cannot declare to be fraudulent that which in its nature is not fraudulent. St. Louis v. Galt, 179 Mo. 18; State v. Julow, 129 Mo. 175. Despite its general language, this law was aimed at one thing and that alone. It was intended to abolish the hundred pound deduction in carload grain sold on the floor of the board of trade of Kansas City. Certain elevator men, not members of the board of trade, nor grain raisers, nor producers, nor even citizens of the State, knew that they could not send their grain to that market and escape a dockage on the carload for dirt in the grain and car. The only possible result the law could have, if any, would be to compel the buyer of grain to accept it upon terms which are different from those which obtained when the parties were left to do their own bargaining. It is the necessary operation -- the natural and reasonable effect of a statute, that determines not only the motives of the Legislature, but the validity of the law. Henderson v. New York City, 92 U.S. 268; Soon Hing v. Crowley, 113 U.S. 710; Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 661; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U.S. 313. Assuredly it is serving no public interest for the State to aid either party in an ordinary commercial sale by restricting the freedom of the other party. On its face this law is intended to hamper the making of such contracts and it does of necessity do so. It thus interferes with those who desire to enter into such contracts, and being unnecessary and without public purpose, it is an unlawful interference with that liberty guaranteed by the National and State constitutions. Statutes which made unlawful contracts of employment forbidding membership in labor unions have been universally held void. State v. Julow, 129 Mo. 163; People v. Marcus, 189 N.Y. 257; Gillespie v. People, 188 Ill. 176; Coffeyville Co. v. Perry, 69 Kas. 297; State v. Bateman, 7 Ohio N. P. 487; Ex rel. Zillmer v. Kreutzberg, 114 Wis. 530; Goldfield Mines Co. v. Miners' Union, 159 F. 500. Acts requiring stipulations in contracts for public work that none but union labor be employed are void. Atlanta v. Stein, 111 Ga. 789; Marshall Co. v. Nashville, 109 Tenn. 495; Adams v. Brennan, 177 Ill. 194; Holden v. Alton, 179 Ill. 318; Fiske v. People, 188 Ill. 206; State ex rel. v. Toole, 26 Mont. 22; Lewis v. Board of Education, 139 Mich. 306; People ex rel. v. Coler, 166 N.Y. 1. Acts requiring public contractor to pay certain minimum wages are void. Street v. Electrical Supply Co., 160 Ind. 338; State v. Norton, 5 Ohio N. P. 183. Acts regulating the time of payment of wages in defiance of contract are held invalid in Leep v. Railroad, 58 Ark. 427; Coal Co. v. People, 147 Ill. 66; Railroad v. Wilson, 19 S.W. 910; Republic Co. v. State, 160 Ind. 379; Commonwealth v. Isenburg, 4 Pa. Dist. R. 579; Bauer v. Reynolds, 3 Pa. Dist. R. 502. Laws prohibiting payment of laborers otherwise than in money are void. State v. Loomis, 115 Mo. 307; State v. Goodwill, 33 W.Va. 179; Godcharles v. Wigeman, 113 Pa. 431; State v. Hann, 61 Kas. 146; State v. Jordan, 103 S.W. 633; Coal Co. v. Commonwealth, 96 Ky. 218. Acts prohibiting mine owners from dealing in supplies, provisions, etc., are held void. Froer v. People, 141 Ill. 171. Acts forbidding sale of supplies to employees at greater price than to others are void. State v. Fire Creek Co., 33 W.Va. 118. Acts forbidding deduction of wages because of defective work are held void. Com. v. Perry, 155 Mass. 117. Acts to prevent deduction from wages except for actual cash advanced are held void. Coal Co. v. Harrier, 207 Ill. 624. Acts requiring employers to give discharged employees written reasons for discharge are void. Wallace v. Railroad, 94 Ga. 732; Railroad v. Schaffer, 65 O. 414. A general eight hour law held void. Low v. Rees Printing Co., 41 Neb. 127. Statute requiring sleeping-car companies, upon request of occupant of lower berth, to raise upper berth if not occupied, held void. State v. Redmon, 114 N.W. 137. Act requiring all contractors for erection of buildings to give bond for benefit of material men held void. Montague & Co. v. Furness, 145 Cal. 205. Act forbidding cigar making in tenement houses void. In re Jacobs, 98 N.Y. 98. Ordinance regulating weight of loaves of bread. Buffalo v. Baking Co., 39 A.D. 432. Statute giving State board power to refuse to grant nurseryman's license as it might think applicant "financially responsible" or not, held void, because no reason why such qualification should be required, hence not within police power to require it. State ex rel. v. Nelson, 115 N.W. 93. Act requiring certain bonds to be secured by surety companies held void. State ex rel. v. Robins, 71 Ohio 273. Sunday barber act void. Eden v. People, 161 Ill. 296. Act forbidding use of flag as advertisement. Ruhstrat v. People, 185 Ill. 133. Ordinance prohibiting location of laundry without consent of certain property-owners. Ex parte...

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