Crenshaw v. Arkansas
Annotate this Case
227 U.S. 389 (1913)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Crenshaw v. Arkansas, 227 U.S. 389 (1913)
Crenshaw v. Arkansas
Nos. 127, 128
Argued January 20, 21, 1913
Decided February 24, 1913
227 U.S. 389
The negotiation of sale of goods which are in another state, for the purpose of introducing them in the state in which the negotiation is made, is interstate commerce. Robbins v. Shelby County Taxing District, 120 U. S. 489. The police power of a state cannot obstruct foreign or interstate
commerce beyond the necessity for its exercise, nor can objects not within its scope be secured under color of the police power at the expense of the protection afforded by the federal Constitution. Railroad Co. v. Husen, 95 U. S. 465.
While a tax on peddlers who sell and forthwith deliver goods is within the police power of the state, a tax on one who travels and solicits orders for goods to be shipped from without the state is a burden on interstate commerce, and unconstitutional. Ement v. Missouri, 156 U. S. 296, distinguished.
Peddlers at common law, and under those statutes regulating them which have been sustained, are such as travel from place to place selling goods carried with them, and not such as take orders for delivery of goods to be shipped in the course of commerce.
This Court, in dealing with rights created and conserved by the federal Constitution looks to the substance of things, and not the names by which they are labeled.
A state cannot, by defining a business subject to its own police power as including a class which is not subject to that power, deprive such class of rights protected by the federal Constitution.
A state statute imposing a license on those who solicit orders, from samples which they do not sell, of articles to be shipped from another state and which are afterwards delivered to the purchaser by the manufacturer is an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce beyond the police power of the state, and cannot be justified as a license tax on peddlers even though the state statute defines the persons soliciting the orders as peddlers, and so held as to the law of Arkansas of April 1, 1909, regulating the sale of certain specified articles within the state.
95 Ark. 464 reversed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution of a law of the State of Arkansas imposing a license on persons making sales within that state as applied to articles delivered from other states, are stated in the opinion.