Phoenix Ins. Co. v. McMaster - 237 U.S. 63 (1915)
U.S. Supreme Court
Phoenix Ins. Co. v. McMaster, 237 U.S. 63 (1915)
Phoenix Ins. Co. v. McMaster
Argued March 12, 1915
Decided April 5, 1915
237 U.S. 63
It is within the power of the state to determine for itself the conditions upon which a foreign corporation may do business within its limits, so long as it does not impose upon it any conditions depriving it of rights secured under the federal Constitution, and the state may even altogether exclude from doing business within its borders a corporation not doing an interstate business so long as no rights conferred by the Constitution and laws of the United States are destroyed or abridged.
Where the state statute authorizes an officer of the state to license some foreign corporations to do intrastate business under specified conditions and to reject others, the exercise of that authority in good faith by such officer does not amount to denial of equal protection of the law as to a corporation excluded where the action was based upon a classification which was not so arbitrary and unreasonable as to fall within the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A classification of foreign insurance corporations for the purpose of establishing conditions under which they will be licensed to do business within the state based on the amount of their investments in state securities is not so arbitrary as to amount to a denial of equal protection of the laws.
The action of the Insurance Commissioner of South Carolina in requiring foreign insurance corporations having less than a certain proportionate amount of investments in state securities to make deposits, while those having that amount might give surety bonds, is not an arbitrary classification amounting to denial of equal protection of the law.
Where the state court has sustained the action of a state officer as being within his statutory authority, this Court is not concerned with that question; the only question before it is whether the conduct of state authority transgresses the provision of the federal Constitution.
94 S.C. 379 and 382 affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.