California v. Zook
336 U.S. 725 (1949)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

California v. Zook, 336 U.S. 725 (1949)

California v. Zook

No. 355

Argued February 8, 1949

Decided April 25, 1949

336 U.S. 725

Syllabus

1. A California statute prohibits the sale or arrangement of any transportation over the public highways of the State if the transporting carrier has no permit from the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Federal Motor Carrier Act has substantially the same provision respecting carriers in interstate commerce. Respondents operate a travel bureau in Los Angeles, and receive commissions for arranging "share expense" passenger transportation in private automobiles. State lines are crossed in many of the trips. Respondents were convicted of violating the state statute.

Held: The state statute, as so applied, is not invalid under the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 726-738.

2. The fact that a federal law and a state law affecting interstate commerce are identical does not automatically invalidate the state law; the question to be determined, by a judgment upon the particular case, is whether the state law conflicts with national policy and whether Congress intended to make its jurisdiction exclusive. Pp. 336 U. S. 728-731.

3. Normally, congressional purpose to displace local laws must be clearly manifested, and, if the claim is conflict in terms, it must clearly appear that the federal provisions are inconsistent with those of the state. P. 336 U. S. 733.

4. The tradition of "usual police powers" is of aid in determining congressional intent as to excluding state action on interstate commerce, at least when Congress has legislated, and states clearly have an interest in regulating the use of their own highways. Pp. 336 U. S. 734-735.

5. In this case, there is no conflict in terms between the federal and California statutes, and no possibility of such conflict, since the state statute makes federal law the law of the state in this matter. P. 336 U. S. 735.

6. There is no indication in this case that Congress intended to substitute a uniform federal law for diverse state laws, for there was little state legislation on the subject when Congress acted. Pp. 336 U. S. 735-736.

Page 336 U. S. 726

7. The state statute is not rendered invalid by the fact that it imposes heavier penalties than the federal act, nor by the possibility of double punishment. Pp. 336 U. S. 731-733, 336 U. S. 735-738.

8. Difficulties confronting state regulation of other phases of interstate commerce cannot justify exclusion of the state regulation here involved. P. 336 U. S. 736.

9. The validity of the California statute here involved, which does not conflict with Interstate Commerce Commission policy, is not affected by an earlier state statute which did conflict with that policy. P. 336 U. S. 737.

10. So far as casual, occasional, or reciprocal transportation of passengers for hire is concerned, the State may punish, as it has in the present case, for the safety and welfare of its inhabitants; the Federal Government may punish for the safety and welfare of interstate commerce. P. 336 U. S. 738.

87 Call.App.2d 921, 197 P.2d 851, reversed.

Respondents were convicted of violating a California penal statute. The conviction was reversed, and the complaint was ordered dismissed, by the highest court of the State in which a decision could be had. 87 Cal.App.2d Supp. 921, 197 P.2d 851. This Court granted certiorari. 335 U.S. 883. Reversed, p. 336 U. S. 738.

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