Kidd v. Pearson
128 U.S. 1 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Kidd v. Pearson, 128 U.S. 1 (1888)

Kidd v. Pearson

No. 779

Argued and submitted April 4, 1888

Decided October 22, 1888

128 U.S. 1

Syllabus

Following Mugler v. Kansas,123 U. S. 623, held that a State has the right to prohibit or restrict the manufacture of intoxicating liquors within its limits, to prohibit all sale and traffic in them in the state, to inflict penalties for such manufacture and sale, and to provide regulations for the abatement, as a common nuisance, of the property used for such forbidden purposes, and that such legislation does not abridge the liberties or immunities of citizens of the United States nor deprive any person of property without due process of law, nor contravene the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

A statute of a state which provides (1) that foreign intoxicating liquors may be imported into the State, and there kept for sale by the importer in the original packages or for transportation in such packages and sale beyond the limits of the state; and (2) that intoxicating liquors may be manufactured and sold within the State for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, and sacramental purposes, but for no other, not even for the purpose of transportation beyond the limits of the state -- does not conflict with Section 8, Article I, of the Constitution of the United States by undertaking to regulate commerce among the states.

The right of a state to enact a statute prohibiting the manufacture of intoxicating liquors within its limits is not affected by the fact that the manufacturer of such spirits intends to export them when manufactured.

The police power of a state is as broad and plenary as the taxing power (as defined in Coe v. Errol,116 U. S. 517), and property within the state is subject to the operation of the former so long as it is within the regulating restrictions of the latter.

Page 128 U. S. 2

The case, as stated by the Court, was as follows:

This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa, allowed by the Chief Justice thereof upon the ground that the judgment in the case affirmed the validity of a statute of that state, which the plaintiff in error claimed to be in conflict with the federal Constitution. The case arose upon a petition in equity filed December 24, 1885, in the Circuit Court of Polk County, Iowa, by defendants in error, I. E. Pearson and S. J. Loughran, against the plaintiff in error, J. S. Kidd, praying that a certain distillery, erected and used by said Kidd for the unlawful manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, be abated as a nuisance, and that the said Kidd be perpetually enjoined from the manufacture therein of all intoxicating liquors. The provisions of the law under which these proceedings were instituted are found in chapter 6, Title 11, of the Code Iowa, amended by chapter 143 of the acts of the General Assembly in 1884. The sections necessary to be quoted for the purposes of this decision are as follows:

Section 1523 provides:

"No person shall manufacture or sell by himself, his clerk, steward, or agent, directly or indirectly, any intoxicating liquors except as hereinafter provided, and the keeping of intoxicating liquors with intent on the part of the owner thereof or any person acting under his authority or by his permission to sell the same within this state contrary to the provisions of this chapter is hereby prohibited, and the intoxicating liquor so kept, together with the vessels in which it is contained, is declared a nuisance, and shall be forfeited and dealt with as hereinafter provided."

Section 1524 provides:

"Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to forbid the sale by the importer thereof of foreign intoxicating liquor imported under the authority of the laws of the United States regarding the importation of such liquors and in accordance of [with] such laws, provided that the said liquor at the time of said sale by said importer remains in the original casks or packages in which it was by him imported, and in quantities not less than the quantities in which the laws of the United States require such liquors to be imported, and is

Page 128 U. S. 3

sold by him in said original casks or packages and in said quantities only, and nothing contained in this law shall prevent any persons from manufacturing in this state liquors for the purpose of being sold according to the provisions of this chapter, to be used for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, or sacramental purposes."

Section 1525 prescribes a penalty for a violation of the law by manufacturers, as follows:

"Every person who shall manufacture any intoxicating liquors as in this chapter prohibited shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon his first conviction for said offense shall pay a fine of two hundred dollars and costs of prosecution or be imprisoned in the county jail not to exceed six months, and on his second and every subsequent conviction for said offense, he shall pay a fine of not less that five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars and costs of prosecution, and be imprisoned in the county jail one year."

Section 1526 defines who may be permitted to manufacture under the law, and for what purpose the manufacture may be carried on, as follows:

"Any citizen of the state except hotel keepers, keepers of saloons, eating houses, grocery keepers, and confectioners is hereby permitted, within the county of his residence, to manufacture or buy and sell intoxicating liquors for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, or sacramental purposes only, provided he shall first obtain permission from the board of supervisors of the county in which such business is conducted, as follows."

Sections 1527 and 1529 provide for the manner of obtaining the permit, and § 1530 sets out the conditions under which it may be granted. It is as follows:

"At such final hearing, any resident of the county may appear and show cause why such permit should not be granted, and the same shall be refused unless the board shall be fully satisfied that all the requirements of the law have, in all respects, been fully complied with; that the applicant is a person of good moral character, and that, taking into consideration the wants of the locality and the number of permits already granted, such permit would be necessary and proper for the accommodation of the neighborhood. "

Page 128 U. S. 4

The manufacturer, like the seller, is required to make monthly reports to the county auditor, the evident purpose of the requirement being to show whether or not the holder of a permit was manufacturing or selling in compliance with the law.

Section 1543 provides for proceedings in equity to abate and enjoin unlawful manufacture.

The averments of the petition are in substance that the distillery described therein was erected by said J. S. Kidd for the manufacture of intoxicating liquors, contrary to the statute of Iowa; that said Kidd had been, ever since the 4th of July, 1884, and is still, engaged in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors upon the premises aforesaid for other than mechanical, medicinal, culinary, and sacramental purposes, with the concluding averment

"that the defendant manufactures, keeps for sale, and sells within this state and at the place aforesaid intoxicating liquors to be taken out of that state and there used as a beverage and for other purposes than for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, and sacramental purposes, contrary to the statute of Iowa."

Kidd in his answer specifically pleaded that he is now, and has been ever since the 4th of July, 1884, authorized by the board of supervisors to manufacture and sell intoxicating liquors, except as prohibited by law, and that in the manufacture and sale of liquors, this defendant has at all times complied with the requirements of the law in that behalf. Upon the trial it was proved by undisputed evidence that Kidd held each year from July 4, 1884, a permit, regularly issued from the Board of Supervisors of Polk County covering the period of the alleged violations of law, authorizing him to manufacture and sell intoxicating liquors for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, and sacramental purposes; that his monthly reports, made on oath, in compliance with the requirements of the law, show that there were no sales for mechanical, medicinal, culinary, and sacramental, or any other purpose, in the State of Iowa, and that all the manufactured liquors were for exportation, and were sold outside of the State of Iowa. A decree was rendered against Kidd ordering that the said distillery

Page 128 U. S. 5

be abated as a nuisance according to the prayer of the petitioner, and enjoining said Kidd from the manufacture therein of any and all intoxicating liquors. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Iowa, this decree was affirmed by that court. Hence this writ of error.

Page 128 U. S. 15

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