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CARTER ET AL. v. VIRGINIA

decided: January 31, 1944.

CARTER ET AL
v.
VIRGINIA



APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA.*fn*

Stone, Roberts, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Murphy, Jackson, Rutledge

Author: Reed

[ 321 U.S. Page 132]

 MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellants were convicted of violations of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Act*fn1 and certain Regulations issued pursuant to it, concerning the transportation of intoxicating liquor through the Commonwealth. Their contention that the pertinent provisions of the Act and Regulations*fn2 violated the Commerce Clause, Article I, § 8 (3), of the Federal Constitution was rejected by Virginia's highest court, the Supreme Court of Appeals. 181 Va. 306, 313, 24 S. E. 2d 550, 569. The cases are here on appeals pursuant to § 237 (a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U. S. C. § 344 (a).

The Act in question contains a comprehensive scheme for the control of trade in alcoholic beverages within the territory of Virginia. By the statute an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is established and authorized to adopt such regulations "as it may deem necessary" to confine the transportation of liquor "to legitimate purposes."*fn3 The A. B. C. Board promulgated regulations applicable to

[ 321 U.S. Page 133]

     transportation through Virginia.*fn4 The requirements here in issue are these: (1) The vehicle must use the most direct route and carry a bill of lading showing the route it will travel; (2) The carrier must post a bond in the penal sum of $1,000 conditioned on lawful transportation; and (3)

[ 321 U.S. Page 134]

     The bill of lading must show the name of the true consignee, and that consignee must have a legal right to receive the beverages at the stated destination.

Both cases reached the Virginia Supreme Court on stipulated facts. In No. 134, it was agreed that Carter and Macemore received 168 gallons of whiskey from a wholesaler in Maryland for transportation to an individual consignee in Thomasville, North Carolina. The appellants were apprehended in Rappahannock County, Virginia, while carrying the whiskey by truck. The appellants themselves did not post a bond, and a bond which was posted by the registered owner of the truck was cancelled because he was reputed to be a bootlegger. Their bill of lading did not show the route to be traversed through Virginia, and the intended delivery to the consignee was forbidden by the laws of North Carolina.

[ 88 L. Ed. Page ]

     The facts stipulated in No. 198 are similar. Dickerson was arrested in Prince William County, Virginia, while driving a truck carrying more than one gallon of alcoholic beverages. He was traveling by the most direct route from Maryland to his employer-consignee, Page, in North Carolina. Page had posted the required bond, but the bill of lading did not show the route to be traveled, and Page was forbidden by the laws of North Carolina to accept delivery there.

All the individuals involved in the two cases were residents of North Carolina.

The appellants argue, first, that the Twenty-first Amendment gives Virginia no power to prohibit absolutely the shipment of liquor from Maryland to North Carolina through Virginia; second, that its power to regulate such shipments is limited by the Commerce Clause to regulations reasonably necessary to enforce its local liquor laws and not unduly burdensome on interstate commerce; third, that Virginia has no authority to penalize prospective violations of the criminal laws of North Carolina or

[ 321 U.S. Page 135]

     the United States. It will be observed that the intoxicating liquors in question are intended for continuous shipment through Virginia, so that here, as in the Duckworth case,*fn5 a different question arises from those considered under the Twenty-first Amendment,*fn6 where transportation or importation into a state for delivery or use therein was prohibited. But we may put aside the first and third contentions, for we are satisfied that Virginia may, notwithstanding the Commerce Clause and independently of the Twenty-first Amendment, in order to protect herself from illicit liquor traffic within her borders, subject the shipment of liquor through Virginia to the regulations here in question.

We have recognized that the several states in the absence of federal legislation may require regulatory licenses for through shipments of liquor in order to guard against violations of their own laws. Duckworth v. Arkansas, 314 U.S. 390. Thus this Court has extended to this very field its recognition that regulation of interstate commerce by local authority in the absence of Congressional action is admissible to protect the state from injuries arising from that commerce. California v. Thompson, 313 U.S. 109, 113, 115, and cases cited; Clark v. Paul Gray, Inc., 306 U.S. 583, 591; Morf v. Bingaman, 298 U.S. 407, ...


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