Linder v. United States
268 U.S. 5 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Linder v. United States, 268 U.S. 5 (1925)

Linder v. United States

No. 183

Submitted March 9, 1925

Decided April 13, 1925

268 U.S. 5

Syllabus

1. Any provision of an act of Congress ostensibly enacted under power granted by the Constitution, not naturally and reasonably adapted to the effective exercise of such power but solely to the achievement of something plainly within the power reserved to the states, is invalid and cannot be enforced. P. 268 U. S. 17.

2. Direct control of medical practice in the states is obviously beyond the power of Congress. P. 268 U. S. 18.

3. Incidental regulation of such practice by Congress through a taxing act, like the Narcotic Law, cannot extend to matters plainly inappropriate and unnecessary to reasonable enforcement of a revenue measure. P. 268 U. S. 18.

Page 268 U. S. 6

4. An act of Congress must be construed, if fairly possible, so as to avoid not only the conclusion that it is unconstitutional, but also grave doubts upon that score. P. 268 U. S. 17.

5. Section 2 of the Narcotic Law declares it unlawful for any person to sell, give away, etc., any of the drugs mentioned in the act except in pursuance of an order of the person to whom the article, is sold, etc., written on an official blank, but does not apply "to the dispensing or distribution of the aforesaid drugs to patient by physician . . . registered under this Act in the course of his professional practice only." Held inapplicable to a case where a physician, acting bona fide and according to fair medical standards, gives an addict moderate amounts of the drugs for self-administration in order to relieve conditions incident to addiction. P. 268 U. S. 16.

6. What constitutes bona fide medical practice, consistent with the statute, depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. P. 268 U. S. 18.

290 F. 173 reversed.

Certiorari to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals affirming a conviction under the Narcotic Law.

Page 268 U. S. 10

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