Purity Extract & Tonic Co. v. Lynch
226 U.S. 192 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Purity Extract & Tonic Co. v. Lynch, 226 U.S. 192 (1912)

Purity Extract and Tonic Company v. Lynch

No. 464

Submitted October 28, 1912

Decided December 2, 1912

226 U.S. 192

Syllabus

The decision by the state court that an article is within the prohibition of a state statute is binding here.

The protection accorded by the federal Constitution to interstate commerce does not extend beyond the sale in original packages as imported, and a contract made in one state for delivery of liquor in another state which does not limit the sale in the latter state to original packages encounters the local statute, and cannot be enforced if contrary thereto.

Where there have been no purchases and no deliveries under a contract for delivery of liquor, but the vendee has given notice of refusal to accept because the contract is illegal in the delivery, the state court, in sustaining the illegality of the contract, does not deny the seller the right to sell the article or have it transported in interstate commerce.

Page 226 U. S. 193

Where a large number of bottles, each in a separate box, are all contained in one case, each bottle is not to be regarded as a separate original package and protected from interference by state statute under the commerce clause of the Constitution, and this even if the contract of shipment declared there was to be no retail sale by the consignee.

Quaere, and not decided, whether an article such as Poinsetta, the beverage involved in this case, having a low percentage of malt, is governed by the Wilson Act.

A state may, in the exercise of its police power, prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquor, and to the end of making the prohibition effectual may include in the prohibition beverages which, separately considered, may be innocuous, and so held as to Poinsetta, a beverage containing a small percentage of malt.

The court has no concern with the wisdom of exercising the police power, and unless the enactment has no substantial relation to a proper purpose, cannot declare that the limit of legislative power has been transcended.

For the courts to attempt to determine whether the exercise of the police power within legislative limits is wise would be contrary to our constitutional system and substitute judicial opinion for the legislative will. The only question in this Court is whether the legislature had the power to establish the regulation.

The legislation to that effect in many of the states shows that the opinion is extensively held that a general prohibition of sale of malt liquors, whether intoxicating or not, is necessary to suppress the sale of intoxicants.

In the exercise of its police power to prohibit the sale of intoxicants, a state may include within the prohibition malt and other liquors sold under the guise of innocent beverages.

100 Miss. 650 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Mississippi which includes the prohibition of the sale of malt liquors, are stated in the opinion.

Page 226 U. S. 197

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