Crescent Cotton Oil Co. v. Mississippi
257 U.S. 129 (1921)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Crescent Cotton Oil Co. v. Mississippi, 257 U.S. 129 (1921)

Crescent Cotton Oil Company v. Mississippi

No. 41

Argued October 17, 1921

Decided November 14, 1921

257 U.S. 129

Syllabus

Plaintiff in error, a Tennessee corporation, engaged in the manufacture of cotton seed oil in that state, finding it impracticable to carry on the business successfully when purchasing its supply of cotton seed from ginners or from brokers, acquired and operated cotton gins in Mississippi and other states where it ginned cotton for cotton growers, purchased from them the seed thus separated from the fiber, and then shipped it to its Tennessee factory. Mississippi passed a law forbidding corporations interested in the manufacture of cotton seed oil from owning or operating cotton gins, except of a prescribed capacity and in the city or town where their oil plants were located.

Held:

(1) That, since the ginning was merely manufacture, and the seeds were not in interstate commerce until purchased and committed

Page 257 U. S. 130

to a carrier, the gins were not instrumentalities of interstate commerce and the prohibition of their operation did not infringe the company's rights under the commerce clause. P. 257 U. S. 135.

(2) That the prohibition did not deny to the company the equal protection of the laws in applying to corporations and not to individuals, because the inherent difference between corporations and natural persons sustained the classification and because it might be assumed, in the absence of any contrary showing, that only corporations were engaged in operating both oil mills and cotton gins when the act was passed. P. 257 U. S. 137.

121 Miss. 615 affirmed.

Error to a decree of the Supreme Court of Mississippi in a suit by the state imposing a penalty on the plaintiff in error, forfeiting its right to do local business, enjoining it from operating its cotton gins, and requiring it to dispose of them within a prescribed time.

Page 257 U. S. 132

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