Cook v. Marshall County,
196 U.S. 261 (1905)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cook v. Marshall County, 196 U.S. 261 (1905)

Cook v. Marshall County, Iowa

No. 98

Argued December 9, 12, 1904

Decided January 16, 1905

196 U.S. 261


The term "original package" is not defined by statute, and while it may be impossible to judicially determine its size or shape, under the principle upon which its exemption while an article of interstate commerce is founded, the term does not include packages which cannot be commercially transported from one state to another.

While a perfectly lawful act may not be impugned by the fact that the person doing it was impelled thereto by a bad motive, where the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the act is made an issue, the intent of the actor may be material in characterizing the transaction, and where a party, in transporting goods from one state to another, selects an unusual method for the express purpose of evading or defying the police laws of the latter state, the commerce clause of the federal Constitution cannot be invoked as a cover for fraudulent dealing.

This Court adheres to its decision in Austin v. Tennessee, 179 U. S. 343, that small pasteboard boxes each containing ten cigarettes, and sealed and stamped with the revenue stamp, whether shipped in a basket or loosely, not boxed, baled, or attached together and not separately or otherwise addressed, but for which the express company has given a receipt and agreement to deliver them to a person named therein in another state, are not original packages, and are not protected under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution from regulation by the police power of the state.

A classification in a state taxation statute in which a distinction is made between retail and wholesale dealers is not unreasonable. and § 5007, Iowa Code, imposing a tax on cigarette dealers is not invalid as denying equal protection of the laws to retail dealers because it does not apply to jobbers and wholesalers doing an interstate business with customers outside of the state.

This was a petition by the owner and tenant of a certain

Page 196 U. S. 262

room in the City of Marshalltown, Iowa, addressed to the board of supervisors, for the remission of a tax of $300, imposed upon the business of selling cigarettes, which business was carried on by Charles P. Cook, one of the plaintiffs in error. The petition being denied, an appeal was taken to the district court, where a demurrer was interposed which was sustained by that court, and an appeal taken to the supreme court, where the judgment of the district court was affirmed. 119 Ia. 384.

Page 196 U. S. 268

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