« PrejšnjaNaprej »
196 U. S.
Argument for Plaintiff in Error.
The office of interpretation is to bring sense out of the words used, and not to bring a sense into them. Peiber's Political and Legal Hermeneutics, 87; 2 Reuth Inst., ch. 7, §2; Story on Const. § 392; Purdy v. People, 4 Hill, 384; Waller v. Harris, 20 Wend. 562; Newell v. People, 7 N. Y. 97; Hyatt v. Taylor, 42 N. Y. 258; Johnson v. H. R. R. R. Co., 49 N. Y. 455; Alexander v. Worthington, 5 Maryland, 485; Sutherland's Stat. Con. §§ 175, 237, and cases cited; United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629; Encking v. Simmons, 28 Wisconsin, 272; State v. Lovell, 23 Iowa, 304; Woodbury v. Berry, 18 Ohio St. 456; Dudley v. Reynolds, 1 Kansas, 285; Fitzpatrick v. Gebhart, 7 Kansas, 35; Ayers v. Fiego County, 37 Kansas, 240; State v. Chapman, 5 Pac. Rep. 708.
It is well known that the Federal Courts will not always follow state court constructions. Burgess v. Seligman, 107 U. S. 20; B. & O. R. R. v. Baugh, 149 U. S. 368; Yick Wo. v Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356; Railroad & Telephone Co. v. Board of Equalizers, 85 Fed. Rep. 302; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370; Ex parte Virginia, 100 U. S. 339; Henderson v. Mayor, 92 U. S. 259; N. Y. Cen. R. R. v. Lockwood, 84 U. S. 17; Myrick v. Mich. Cen. R. R., 107 U. S. 102; M., K. & T. R. R. Co. v. Elliot, 184 U. S. 531; Rolla v. Holley, 176 U. S. 408. They are disregarded in all matters of general law, or of great importance.
All agreements which may affect prices or commodities and the conduct of business are not unlawful and cannot be made so by legislatures. The law encourages and provides for combination and recognizes the economical truth that the coöperation of individuals is essential to the well being and the progress of society. Jones v. Field, 5 Florida, 510; State v. Loomis, 115 Missouri, 307; Eddy on Comb. § 262. Nor will the courts assume the purpose and effect of a combination to unduly raise prices. Such purpose must be shown affirmatively. Shade Roller Co. v. Cushman, 143 Massachusetts, 352; Herriman v. Menzies, 115 California, 16; James v. Bowman, 190 U. S. 127.
Courts should refrain from interfering with the conduct of
Argument for Defendant in Error.
196 U. S.
the affairs of individuals unless such conduct in some tangible form threatens the welfare of the public. Leslie v. Lorrilard et al., 110 N. Y. 519. Neither are all combinations or contracts that tend to suppress competition or fix prices, illegal. Matthews v. Associated Press, 136 N. Y. 333; Eddy on Combinations, §§ 288, 332, and cases cited; McCauley v. Turney, 19 R. I. 255; Boehm Mfg. Co. v. Hollis, 54 Minnesota, 223; Richie v. People, 155 Illinois, 98; Hopkins v. United States, 171 U. S. 578; Anderson v. United States, 171 U. S. 604.
At common law only when combinations became monopolies injurious to the public, and were actually injuring the public, could they be denounced by indictment.
The conviction of plaintiff in error was without due process of law. For definition of due process of law as involved in this case, see Dartmouth College Case, 4 Wheat. 518; 10 Am. & Eng. Ency. Law, 2d ed., 293; Weimer v. Bunbury, 30 Michigan, 201; Brown v. Commissioners, 50 Mississippi, 468; Re Ah Lee, 5 Fed. Rep. 899; Chicago &c. R. R. Co. v. Chicago, 166 U. S. 266; Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U. S. 733; Rees v. Watertown, 19 Wall. 107; Benton v. Platten, 10 U. S. App. 657; Bouvier's Law Dictionary; Lowe v. Kansas, 163 U. S. 81.
Mr. D. R. Hite, with whom Mr. C. C. Coleman, Attorney General of the State of Kansas, and Mr. H. J. Bone were on the brief, for defendant in error:
The combination to which plaintiff in error was a party constituted an unlawful restraint of trade and the investigation as to the constitutionality of the statute will be confined to his own grievance. Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 177 U. S. 24, 43; Clark v. Kansas City, 176 U. S. 114.
This combination fell within the police powers of the State. Grain is a necessity and regulating dealings in it is for the public protection and within the powers of the States. Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113, 126; Brass v. North Dakota, 153 U. S. 391, 402. The rule applies alike to large and small combinations. Nor. Securities v. United States, 193 U. S. 197, 339,
citing Morris Run Coal Co. v. Barclay Coal Co., 68 Pa. St. 173, 186; see dissent of Shiras, J., United States v. TransMissouri, 58 Fed. Rep. 84.
The act as interpreted by the Kansas Supreme Court is not repugnant to the Federal Constitution. United States v. Freight Association, 166 U. S. 290, 322; United States v. Addyston Pipe Co., 85 Fed. Rep. 271.
Combinations and not innocent contracts are covered by this statute. See Mr. Carter's argument, Joint Traffic Case, 171 U.S. 505, 515; and for definitions of combination see Bouvier, Century and Standard Dictionaries under "Combine" and "Trusts"; Spelling on Trusts and Monopolies. See authorities as exhaustively reviewed in opinion of the Chief Justice of the state court in this case. As to reasonable construction of the statute in the light of surrounding circumstances, see United States v. Laws, 163 U. S. 258; Hawaii v. Mankichi, 190 U. S. 197; United States v. Freight Association, 166 U. S. 290, 311; United States v. Joint Traffic Association, 171 U. S. 505; Northern Securities v. United States, 193 U. S. 197.
We conclude that the Supreme Court of Kansas properly construed the act in question by limiting its general language to acts and cases comprising unlawful combinations to restrain the State's domestic trade and commerce, and that, thus interpreted, the act is a valid exercise of the legislative power; that the plaintiff in error was convicted of being a party to a conspiracy to prevent full and free competition in the purchase of an article of prime necessity to human life, and, therefore, is guilty of an act within the constitutional competency of the State to punish.
MR. JUSTICE BREWER, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.
The verdict of the jury settles all questions of fact. In Missouri, Kansas &c. Ry. Co. v. Haber, 169 U. S. 613, 639, it is said: "Much was said at the bar about the finding of
the jury being against the evidence. We cannot enter upon such an inquiry. The facts must be taken as found by the jury, and this court can only consider whether the statute, as interpreted to the jury, was in violation of the Federal Constitution. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad v. Chicago, 166 U. S. 226, 242, 246."
We pass, therefore, to a consideration of the questions of law. It is contended that the act of 1897 is in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, in that it unduly infringes the freedom of contract; that it is too broad and not sufficiently definite, and that while some things are denounced which may be within the police power of the State, yet its language reaches to and includes matters clearly beyond the limits of that power, and that there is no such separation or distinction between those within and those beyond as will enable the courts to declare one part invalid and another part void. We quote from the brief of counsel for plaintiff in error:
"Section one goes entirely too far and is an unwarranted attempt upon the part of the legislature to limit the rights of the individual in the matter of contracting and dealing with his fellow men. The liberty to contract is as much protected by the constitutional provisions above referred to as is the liberty of person, and any attempt to abridge or limit that right will be held void, unless such abridgement or limitation is necessary to preserve the peace and order of the community. or the life, liberty and morals of individuals, in which cases it is held to be the proper exercise of the police power of the State."
It may be conceded for the purposes of this case that the language of the first section is broad enough to include acts beyond the police power of the State and the punishment of which would unduly infringe upon the freedom of contract. At any rate we shall not attempt to enter into any consideration of that question. The Supreme Court of the State held that the acts charged and proved against the defendant were
clearly within the terms of the statute, as well as within the police power of the State; and that the statute could be sustained as a prohibition of those acts irrespective of the question whether its language was broad enough to include acts and conduct which the legislature could not rightfully restrain.
It is well settled that in cases of this kind the interpretation placed by the highest court of the State upon its statutes is conclusive here. We accept the construction given to a state statute by that court. St. L., I. M. & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Paul, 173 U. S. 404, 408; M., K. & T. Ry. Co. v. McCann, 174 U. S. 580, 586; Tullis v. L. E. & W. R. R. Co., 175 U. S. 348. Nor is it material that the state court ascertains the meaning and scope of the statute as well as its validity by pursuing a different rule of construction from what we recognize. It may be that the views of the Kansas court in respect to this matter are not in harmony with those expressed by us in United States v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214; Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U. S. 82; United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629, and Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U. S. 678. We shall not stop to consider that question nor the reconciliation of the supposed conflicting views suggested by the Chief Justice of the State. The power to determine the meaning of a statute carries with it the power to prescribe its extent and limitations as well as the method by which they shall be determined.
The transaction, as shown by the testimony, was practically this: There were four dealers in wheat in Bison, a small village in Rush County, situated on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Three of them owned elevators and one a mill. They were competitors in the purchase of grain. The defendant was secretary of the State Grain Dealers' Association. He was not himself in the grain business nor interested in that of either of the four dealers. He came to Bison for the purpose of investigating some claims of Bison firms against the Missouri Pacific Railroad. While there he induced these dealers to enter into an arrangement by which if one bought and shipped more grain than the others that excess purchaser would pay