Powell v. Pennsylvania
Annotate this Case
127 U.S. 678 (1888)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Powell v. Pennsylvania, 127 U.S. 678 (1888)
Powell v. Pennsylvania
Argued January 4, 1888
Decided April 9, 1888
127 U.S. 678
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was not designed to interfere with the exercise of the police power by the state for the protection of health, the prevention of fraud, and the preservation of the public morals.
The prohibition of the manufacture out of oleaginous substances, or out of any compound thereof other than that produced from unadulterated milk or cream from unadulterated milk, of an article designed to take the place of butter or cheese produced from pure unadulterated milk or cream from unadulterated milk, or the prohibition upon the manufacture of any imitation or adulterated butter or cheese, or upon the selling or offering for sale, or having in possession with intent to sell, the same, as an article of food, is a lawful exercise by the power to protect, by police regulations, the public health.
Whether the manufacture of oleomargarine or imitation butter of the kind described in the Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania of May 21, 1885 (Laws of Penn. of 1885, p. 22, No. 25) is or may be conducted in such a way or with such skill and secrecy as to baffle ordinary inspection, or whether it involves such danger to the public health as to require, for the protection of the people, the entire suppression of the business, rather than its regulation in such manner as to permit the manufacture and sale of articles of that class that do not contain noxious ingredients, are questions of fact and of public policy which belong to the legislative department to determine .
The statute of Pennsylvania of May 21, 1885, "for the protection of the public health, and to prevent adulteration of dairy products and fraud in the sale thereof" neither denies to persons within the jurisdiction of the state the equal protection of the laws nor deprives persons of their property without that compensation required by law, and is not repugnant in these respects to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The case is stated in the opinion.