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portation of merchandise between dealers in the ordinary course of actual commerce, and the said form, size and weight were adopted in good faith, and not for the purpose of evading the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said package being one of a number of similar packages forming one consignment, shipped by the said company to the said defendant." While it may be impossible to define the size or shape of an original package, the principle upon which the doctrine is founded would not justify us in holding that any package which could not be commercially transported from one State to another as a separate importation could be considered as an original package.
But it is insisted with much earnestness that in determining the lawfulness of sales in original packages we are bound to consider that package as original in which the articles were actually shipped, particularly where Congress, for the purpose of taxation, has prescribed a certain size of package to be separately stamped, and that we have no right to look beyond the letter of the term and inquire into the motives which dictated the size of the packages in each case. This argument was also made in the Austin case, was considered at some length, and held to be unsound. In delivering the opinion we said (p. 359): "The real question in this case is whether the size of the package in which the importation is actually made is to govern; or, the size of the package in which bona fide transactions are carried on between the manufacturer and the wholesale dealer residing in different States. We hold to the latter view. The whole theory of the exemption of the original package from the operation of state laws is based upon the idea that the property is imported in the ordinary form in which, from time to time immemorial, foreign goods have been brought into the country."
While it is doubtless true that a perfectly lawful act may not be impugned by the fact that the person doing the act was impelled thereto by a bad motive, yet where the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the act is made an issue the intent of the
actor may have a material bearing in characterizing the transaction. We have had frequent occasions to treat of this subject in passing upon the validity of legislative acts or municipal ordinances. So where the lawfulness of the method used for transporting goods from one State to another is questioned, it may be shown that the intent of the party concerned was not to select the usual and ordinary method of transportation, but an unusual and more expensive one, for the express purpose of evading or defying the police laws of the State. If the natural result of such method be to render inoperative laws intended for the protection of the people, it is pertinent to inquire whether the act was not done for that purpose, and to hold that the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution is invoked as a cover for fraudulent dealing, and is no defense to a prosecution under the state law.
The power of Congress to regulate commerce among the States is perhaps the most benign gift of the Constitution. Indeed it may be said that without it the Constitution would not have been adopted. One of the chief evils of the confederation was the power exercised by the commercial States of exacting duties upon the importation of goods destined for the interior of the country or for other States. The vast territory to the west of the Alleghenies had not yet been developed or subdivided into States, but the evil had already become so flagrant that it threatened an utter dissolution of the confederacy. The article was adopted that all of the States of the Union might have the benefit of the duties collected at the maritime ports, and to relieve them from the embarrassing restrictions imposed upon the internal commerce of the country. But the same policy which authorizes the use of this power as a shield to protect commerce from the vexatious interference of the States forbids its employment as a sword to assail measures designed for the preservation of the public health, morals, and comfort. States may differ among themselves as to the necessity and scope of such measures, but so long as they are adopted in good faith, with an eye single to the
public welfare, they are as much entitled to the recognition of the general Government as if they were uniformly adopted by all the States.
While this court has been alert to protect the rights of nonresident citizens and has felt it its duty, not always with the approbation of the state courts, to declare the invalidity of laws throwing obstacles in the way of free intercommunication between the States, it will not lend its sanction to those who deliberately plan to debauch the public conscience and set at naught the laws of a State. The power of Congress to regulate commerce is undoubtedly a beneficent one. The police laws of the State are equally so, and it is our duty to harmonize them. Undoubtedly a law may sometimes be successfully and legally avoided if not evaded, but it behooves one who stakes his case upon the letter of the Constitution not to be wholly oblivious of its spirit. In this case we cannot hold that plaintiffs are entitled to its immunities without striking a serious blow at the rights of the States to administer their own internal affairs.
2. The argument that section 5007 of the Iowa Code denies to the plaintiffs the equal protection of the laws is based upon an alleged discrimination arising from the final sentence that "the provisions of this section shall not apply to the sales by jobbers and wholesalers in doing an interstate business with customers outside of the State."
We are referred in this connection to a series of well-known cases arising under the anti-trust laws of the several States, to the effect that laws against combinations in trade must be uniform in their application as applied to all persons within the same general class. The leading case upon this point is Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Company, 184 U. S. 540, where a law of Illinois against combinations to regulate prices and productions, and create restrictions, was held to be invalid by reason of the exemption of agricultural productions or live stock while in the hands of the producer or raiser.
A similar case is that of Cotting v. Kansas City Stock Yards
Co., 183 U. S. 79, wherein a statute of Kansas regulating the prices to be paid for the use of public cattle stock yards was held invalid by reason of the fact that it was intended to apply only to the stock yards of Kansas City, and not to other companies or corporations engaged in like business in other portions of the State.
These cases, however, have but limited application to laws imposing taxes, where the right of classification is held to permit of discrimination between different trades and callings when not obviously exercised in a spirit of prejudice or favoritism. Kentucky Railroad Tax Cases, 115 U. S. 321; Magoun v. Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, 170 U. S. 283; American Sugar Refining Company v. Louisiana, 179 U. S. 89; Bell's Gap Railroad Company v. Pennsylvania, 134 U. S. 232.
This distinction was recognized by Mr. Justice Harlan in Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Company, on page 562, wherein it is said "a State may in its wisdom classify property for purposes of taxation, and the exercise of its discretion is not to be questioned in a court of the United States, so long as the classification does not invade rights secured by the Constitution of the United States." It can scarcely be doubted that, if the Connolly case had dealt with the subject of taxation, a discriminative tax upon producers of agricultural products, either greater or less than that imposed upon other manufacturers or producers, might have been held valid without denying to either party the equal protection of the laws. The holding in that case was simply that, considering that the object of the statute was to prevent combinations of capital or skill for certain purposes, the exemption of farmers was based upon no sound distinction, and rendered the law invalid as to other classes included within it.
There is a clear distinction in principle between persons engaged in selling cigarettes generally or at retail, and those engaged in selling by wholesale to customers without the State. They are two entirely distinct occupations. One sells at retail, and the other at wholesale one to the public generally,
196 U. S.
Concurring Opinion and Dissents.
and the other to a particular class; one within the State, the other without. From time out of mind it has been the custom
of Congress to impose a special license tax upon wholesale dealers different from that imposed upon retail dealers. A like distinction is observed between brewers and rectifiers, wholesale and retail dealers in leaf tobacco and liquors, manufacturers of tobacco and manufacturers of cigars, as well as peddlers of tobacco. It may be difficult to distinguish these several classes in principle, but the power of Congress to make this discrimination has not, we believe, been questioned.
Why the legislature should have made the distinction found in section 5007 is not entirely clear, but it probably arose from the belief that the imposition of a license tax upon wholesale exporters of cigarettes would be as much an interference with interstate commerce as the imposition of a similar tax upon importers from abroad was held to be in Brown v. Maryland. We are satisfied the section is not open to the objection of denying to the dealers in cigarettes the equal protection of the laws.
The judgment of the Supreme Court is, therefore,
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, concurring.
The only difference between this and the Austin case is that in this no basket was used to hold the many small packages shipped at one and the same time to the same person. opinion, such fact is not sufficient to take the case out of the reach of the reasoning stated by me for concurring in the decree in the Austin case. For the reasons given for my concurrence in that case I concur in the judgment rendered in this.
The CHIEF JUSTICE, MR. JUSTICE BREWER and MR. JUsTICE PECKHAM dissented.