Sligh v. Kirkwood,
237 U.S. 52 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sligh v. Kirkwood, 237 U.S. 52 (1915)

Sligh v. Kirkwood

No. 185

Argued March 9, 10, 1915

Decided April 5, 1915

237 U.S. 52


It is within the police power of the state to make it a criminal offense to deliver for shipment in interstate commerce citrus fruits then and there immature and unfit for consumption. While Congress has exclusive power to regulate interstate commerce, and the state may not, when Congress has exerted that power, interfere

Page 237 U. S. 53

therewith, even in the otherwise just exercise of its police power, the state may in such a case act until Congress does exert its authority, even though interstate commerce may be incidentally affected.

Limitations on the police power are hard to define; in its broadest sense, that power includes all legislation and almost every function of civil government; it embraces regulations designed to protect and promote public convenience, property, welfare, safety and health.

This Court takes judicial notice of the fact that the raising of citrus fruits is one of the great industries of the State of Florida.

A state may protect its reputation in foreign markets by prohibiting the exportation of its products in such an improper form as would have a detrimental effect on its reputation.

This Court will not consider the effect of a construction of a statute prohibiting the exportation of fruit when immature and unfit for consumption as food as prohibiting its export while immature for other commercial purposes than that of food until the state court has so construed it.

The provisions in the Federal Food and Drugs Act relating to shipment in interstate commerce of fruit in filthy, decomposed, or putrid condition do not apply to fruit unfit for consumption because green or immature. Congress has not covered the latter field.

Chap. 6236, § 1, Laws of Florida, of 1911, prohibiting the delivery for shipment of citrus fruits immature or otherwise unfit for consumption, is not unconstitutional as an attempt to regulate interstate commerce.

65 Fla. 123 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution of a statute of Florida prohibiting the sale or shipment of citrus fruits which are immature or otherwise unfit for consumption, are stated in the opinion.

Page 237 U. S. 57

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