South Covington & Cincinnati Ry. Co. v. Covington
Annotate this Case
235 U.S. 537 (1915)
U.S. Supreme Court
South Covington & Cincinnati Ry. Co. v. Covington, 235 U.S. 537 (1915)
South Covington & Cincinnati Street
Railway Company v. City of Covington
Argued October 30, 1914
Decided January 5, 1915
235 U.S. 537
Whether given commerce is of an interstate character or not is to be determined by what is actually done, and if really and in fact between states, mere arrangements of billing and plurality of carriers do not enter into the conclusion.
An uninterrupted transportation of passengers between states, on the same cars, under practically the same management and for a single fare, constitutes interstate commerce although the track in each state is owned by a separate corporation. Missouri Pacific R. Co. v. Kentucky, 216 U. S. 262, distinguished.
Although the state may not directly regulate or burden interstate commerce, it may, in the exercise of its police power, in the interest of public health and safety, and in the absence of legislation by Congress, enact regulations which incidentally or indirectly affect interstate commerce. Minnesota Rate Cases, 230 U. S. 352.
A municipal ordinance regulating the number of passengers to be carried in, temperature, and method of loading and unloading, and other details regarding, cars used in interstate transportation may be valid as to those regulations which are within the scope of the police power of the state and only incidentally or indirectly affect interstate commerce as to matters in regard to which Congress has not legislated, and invalid as to those regulations which directly affect, and are a burden on, interstate commerce.
Regulations in the ordinance involved in this case as to passengers
riding on platforms of motor cars and in regard to fumigation, ventilation, and cleanliness are, in the absence of legislation by Congress, within the scope of the police power of the state, and, as they only incidentally affect interstate commerce, are not void under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.
Regulations in the ordinance involved in this case as to number of cars to be run and the number of passengers allowed in each car between interstate points directly affect and are a burden on interstate commerce and void under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.
A regulation in a municipal ordinance requiring the temperature in motor cars never to be below 50 Fahrenheit held, in this case, to be impracticable and unreasonable and void.
The various provisions in the ordinance of South Covington, Kentucky, in regard to motor cars running between that place and Cincinnati, Ohio, held to be separable, and the ordinance held to be a valid exercise of the police power as to those provisions which are reasonable and only incidentally affect interstate commerce, and void as to those which directly affect interstate commerce and those which are unreasonable.
146 Ky. 592 reversed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the commerce and due process clauses of the federal Constitution of a municipal ordinance of Covington, Kentucky, regulating street cars running between that city and Cincinnati, Ohio, are stated in the opinion.
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