Tigner v. State of Texas, No. 635

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation60 S.Ct. 879,310 U.S. 141,84 L.Ed. 1124,130 A.L.R. 1321
PartiesTIGNER v. STATE OF TEXAS
Docket NumberNo. 635
Decision Date06 May 1940

310 U.S. 141
60 S.Ct. 879
84 L.Ed. 1124
TIGNER

v.

STATE OF TEXAS.

No. 635.
Argued March 29, 1940.
Decided May 6, 1940.
Rehearing Denied June 3, 1940.

See 310 U.S. 659, 60 S.Ct. 1092, 84 L.Ed. —-.

Page 142

Mr. Charles I. Francis, of Houston, Tex., for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from page 142 intentionally omitted]

Page 143

Messrs. George W. Barcus and Lloyd Davidson, both of Austin, Tex., for appellee.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an appeal under § 237(a) of the Judicial Code, as amended, 28 U.S.C. § 344(a), 28 U.S.C.A. § 344(a), to review a judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas sustaining the

Page 144

constitutionality of a Texas anti-trust law, and therefore upholding an indictment under it. Appellant was charged with participation in a conspiracy to fix the retail price of beer. Such a conspiracy is made a criminal offense by Title 19, Chapter 3, Art. 1632 et seq., of the Texas Penal Code. Because the provisions of this law to do not 'apply to agricultural products or live stock * * * in the hands of the producer or raiser', Art. 1642, Tigner challenged the validity of the entire statute and sought release in the local courts by habeas corpus. His claim has been rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. 132 S.W.2d 885. Essentially his contention is that the exemption granted by the Texas statute falls within the condemnation of Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U.S. 540, 22 S.Ct. 431, 46 L.Ed. 679, as offensive to 'the equal protection of the laws' which the Fourteenth Amendment safeguards. If that case controls, appellant contends, the Texas Act cannot survive and he must go free.

The court below recognized that the exemption was identical with that deemed fatal to the Illinois statute involved in Connolly's case. But it felt that time and circumstances had drained that case of vitality, leaving it free to treat the exemption as an exercise of legislative discretion. A similar attitude has been reflected by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Northern Wis. Co-operative Tobacco Pool v. Bekkedal, 182 Wis. 571, 593, 197 N.W. 936, and appears to underlie much recent state and federal legislation. Dealing as we are with an appeal to the Constitution, the Connolly case ought not to foreclose us from considering this exemption in its own setting.

The problem, in brief, is this: May Texas promote its policy of freedom for economic enterprise by utilizing the criminal law against various forms of combination and monopoly, but exclude from criminal punishment corresponding activities of agriculture?

Page 145

Legislation, both state and federal, similar to that of Texas had its origin in fear of the concentration of industrial power following the Civil War. Law was invoked to buttress the traditional system of free competition, free markets and free enterprise. Pressure for this legislation came more particularly from those who as producers, as well as consumers, constituted the most dispersed economic groups.1 These large sections of the population—those who labored with their hands and those who worked the soil—were as a matter of economic fact in a different relation to the community from that occupied by industrial combinations. Farmers were widely scattered and inured to habits of individualism; their economic fate was in large measure dependent upon contingencies beyond their control. In these circumstances, legislators may well have thought combinations of farmers and stockmen presented no threat to the community, or, at least, the threat was of a different order from that arising through combinations of industrialists and middlemen. At all events legislation like that of Texas rested on this view, curbing industrial and commercial combinations, and did not visit the same condemnation upon collaborative efforts by farmers and stockmen because the latter were felt to have a different economic significance.2

Since Connolly's case was decided, nearly forty years ago, an impressive legislative movement bears witness to

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general acceptance of the view that the differences between agriculture and industry call for differentiation in the formulation of pulblic policy. The states as well as the United States have sanctioned cooperative action by farmers; have restricted their amenability to the anti-trust laws; have relieved their organizations from taxation. See, e.g., Capper-Volstead Act, 42 Stat. 388, 7 U.S.C. § 291, 7 U.S.C.A. § 291; Clayton Act, 38 Stat. 730, 731, 15 U.S.C. § 17, 15 U.S.C.A. § 17; § 101(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, 53 Stat. 33, 26 U.S.C.A.Int.Rev.Code, § 101(1). Such expressions of legislative policy have withstood challenge in the courts. Liberty Warehouse Co. v. Burley Tobacco Growers, 276 U.S. 71, 48 S.Ct. 291, 72 L.Ed. 473.3 Congress and the states have sometimes thought it necessary to control the supply and price of agricultural commodities with their respective spheres of jurisdiction, and the constitutional validity of these measures has been sustained. Mulford v. Smith, 307 U.S. 38, 59 S.Ct. 648, 83 L.Ed. 1092; United States v. Rock Royal Co-op., 307 U.S. 533, 59 S.Ct. 993, 83 L.Ed. 1446; Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502, 54 S.Ct. 505, 78 L.Ed. 940, 89 A.L.R. 1469.

At the core of all these enactments lies a conception of price and production policy for agriculture very different from that which underlies the demands made upon industry and commerce by anti-trust laws.4 These vari-

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ous measures are manifestations of the fact that in our national economy agriculture expresses functions and forces different from the other elements in the total economic process. Certainly these are differences which may be acted upon by the lawmakers. The equality at which the 'equal protection' clause aims is not a disembodied equality. The Fourteenth Amendment enjoins 'the equal protection of the laws', and laws are not abstract propositions. They do not relate to abstract units A, B and C, but are expressions of policy arising out of specific difficulties, addressed to the attainment of specific ends by the use of specific remedies. The Constitution does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same. And so we conclude that to write...

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479 practice notes
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same." Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124 (1940). "It is well established that a claimant under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause ... mus......
  • Farmers Cooperative Co. v. Birmingham, Civ. No. 537.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 8, 1949
    ...A.L.R. 1403; Yakima Fruit Growers' Ass'n v. Henneford, 1935, 182 Wash. 437, 47 P.2d 831, 100 A.L.R. 435; Tigner v. State of Texas, 1940, 310 U.S. 141, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. It seems apparent that some of the public confuse the question of the so-called "cooperative exempti......
  • McClellan v. Shapiro, Civ. No. 13267.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 16, 1970
    ...does not require situations `which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same.' Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 60 S.Ct. 879, 882, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. 1321." Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466, 69 S.Ct. 198, 199-200, 93 L. Ed. 163 It has b......
  • Jensen v. Hernandez, No. CIV S–09–0512 DAD P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 30, 2012
    ...S.Ct. 2293, 138 L.Ed.2d 834 (1997) (citing Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 216, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 72 L.Ed.2d 786 (1982) and Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124 (1940)). The Fourteenth Amendment “guarantees equal laws, not equal results.” McQueary v. Blodgett, 924 F.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
478 cases
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same." Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124 (1940). "It is well established that a claimant under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause ... mus......
  • Farmers Cooperative Co. v. Birmingham, Civ. No. 537.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 8, 1949
    ...A.L.R. 1403; Yakima Fruit Growers' Ass'n v. Henneford, 1935, 182 Wash. 437, 47 P.2d 831, 100 A.L.R. 435; Tigner v. State of Texas, 1940, 310 U.S. 141, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. It seems apparent that some of the public confuse the question of the so-called "cooperative exempti......
  • McClellan v. Shapiro, Civ. No. 13267.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 16, 1970
    ...does not require situations `which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same.' Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 60 S.Ct. 879, 882, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. 1321." Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466, 69 S.Ct. 198, 199-200, 93 L. Ed. 163 It has b......
  • Jensen v. Hernandez, No. CIV S–09–0512 DAD P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 30, 2012
    ...S.Ct. 2293, 138 L.Ed.2d 834 (1997) (citing Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 216, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 72 L.Ed.2d 786 (1982) and Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147, 60 S.Ct. 879, 84 L.Ed. 1124 (1940)). The Fourteenth Amendment “guarantees equal laws, not equal results.” McQueary v. Blodgett, 924 F.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Survey of the Texas Antitrust Laws
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 20-2, June 1975
    • June 1, 1975
    ...Bus. &COMM.CODEANN.§15.33 (1968).29Only two criminal cases have been found which reached theappellate courts. Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141 (1940); Hathawayv. State, 36 Tex. Crim. 261, 36 S.W. 465 (1896). An interesting bitof dictum may be found in W. T. Rawleigh Co. v. Land, 115 Tex.319,27......

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