St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. Arkansas
217 U.S. 136 (1910)

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U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. Arkansas, 217 U.S. 136 (1910)

St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company v. Arkansas

No. 111

Argued January 26, 27, 1910

Decided April 4, 1910

217 U.S. 136

Syllabus

Where the constitutional defenses asserted in the answer and embraced in the instructions asked and refused in an action for penalties for violating an order of a state commission are not confined to the reasonableness of the order as such, but also challenge the power of the state to inflict the penalty at all under the circumstances disclosed by the answer, the judgment does not rest on grounds of local law alone, but a federal right has been set up and denied which gives this Court jurisdiction to review the judgment under § 709, Rev.Stat.

A state statute which compels a railroad to distribute cars for shipments in a manner that subjects it to payment of heavy penalties in connection with its interstate business imposes a burden on its interstate business, and is unconstitutional under the commerce clause of the Constitution, and so held in regard to the Arkansas act and order of the commission in regard to distribution of cars for shipment of freight.

Whether or not the rules of an association of railroads in regard to exchange of cars are efficient to secure just dealings as to cars moved in interstate commerce is a matter within federal control, and it is beyond the power of a state court to determine that they are inefficient and to compel a member of the association to violate such rules.

85 Ark. 311 reversed.

Page 217 U. S. 137

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the commerce clause of the Constitution of the United States of a regulation of the Railroad Commission of Arkansas as to delivery of freight cars, are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 140

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