Eberle v. Michigan,
232 U.S. 700 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Eberle v. Michigan, 232 U.S. 700 (1914)

Eberle v. Michigan

No. 164

Argued January 16, 19, 1914

Decided March 23, 1914

232 U.S. 700


The validity of a local option law adopted after amendments is not affected by the fact that the amendments are subsequently declared to be unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional amendments to a constitutional statute are mere nullities.

Whether the adoption by a district of a local option statute is affected by the subsequent determination by the courts that certain features of the act were unconstitutional, and is for the state court to determine.

On writ of error under § 237, Judicial Code, this Court cannot inquire

Page 232 U. S. 701

into motives or arguments which influenced electors to vote for or against a measure, or reverse the action of the state court on the ground that the electors voted under misapprehension.

A state may prohibit the sale of liquor absolutely or conditionally; may prohibit the sale as a beverage and permit it for medicinal purposes; may prohibit the sale by merchants and permit it by licensed druggists, and so held that the Michigan Local Option Act of 1889 is not unconstitutional under the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment on account of discrimination in making certain specific exceptions to the general prohibition.

While a liquor law which prohibited the sale of property existing at the time of its enactment might be confiscatory (Bartemeyer v. Iowa, 18 Wall. 129), the prohibition of manufacturing liquor after the enactment is not confiscatory even as applied to liquor manufactured for the purpose of giving value to a product existing but unfinished when the act was passed.

Liquor laws are enacted by virtue of the police power to protect the health, morals and welfare of the public, and while such laws may operate to depreciate the value of property used in the manufacture of liquor, such depreciation is not tho taking of property without due process of law as prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment, and so held as to the Michigan Local Option Act of 1889. Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U. S. 623.

Nothing in the record in this case indicates that the Michigan Local Option Act of 1889 in any way interferes with or is a burden upon interstate commerce.

167 Mich. 477 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of the Michigan Local Option Act of 1889 under the commerce, due process and equal protection clauses of the federal Constitution, are stated in the opinion.

Page 232 U. S. 702

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