Shafer v. Farmers Grain Co. - 268 U.S. 189 (1925)
U.S. Supreme Court
Shafer v. Farmers Grain Co., 268 U.S. 189 (1925)
Shafer v. Farmers Grain Company
Argued May 4, 1923
Reargued March 2, 3, 1925
Decided May 4, 1925
268 U.S. 189
1. The right to buy wheat with or without dockage, for shipment, and to ship it in interstate commerce is a common right the regulation of which is committed to Congress and denied to the states by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. P. 268 U. S. 198.
2. The North Dakota Grain Grading Act, N.Dak. Ls.1923, 549, assuming control over wheat buying in the state, of which 90% is for interstate shipment, provides, inter alia: that grain bought by grade (the established practice) must be graded by licensed inspectors; that (contrary to the general practice) the buyer must separate the dockage and return it to the producer unless distinctly valued and paid for; that buyers having and operating grain elevators must give bond to the state, if buying on credit, must keep records of all wheat bought, showing grade given and price paid at the elevator and grade fixed and price paid at terminal market (outside the state), and must furnish such data to a state supervisor when requested; that the supervisor shall in a general way investigate and supervise the marketing of the grain with a view to preventing various things deemed unjust or fraudulent, including unreasonable margins of profit and confiscation of dockage, and shall have authority to make and enforce
such orders, rules, and regulations as may be necessary to carry out all the provisions of the Act. Held a direct interference with and burden upon interstate commerce, and an attempt by the state to prescribe rules under which an important part of such commerce shall be conducted. P. 268 U. S. 199.
3. The act cannot be supported as an attempt, through inspection regulations, to assist in carrying out the purposes of the United States Grain Standards Act. P. 268 U. S. 202.
Appeal from an interlocutory decree of the district court enjoining officials of the North Dakota from enforcing provisions of the State Grain Grading Act against the plaintiffs who were numerous owners and operators of county elevators within the state, including some farmers' cooperative companies, and engaged in the business of buying grain from the farmers for shipment to markets in other states.