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In Carroll v. Greenwich Ins. Co., supra, a statute of Iowa was considered which made it unlawful for two or more fire insurance companies doing business in the State, or their officers or agents, to make or enter into combinations or agreements in relation to the rates to be charged for insurance, and certain other matters. The provision was held invalid by the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa on the ground of depriving of liberty of contract secured by the Fourteenth Amendment and of the equal protection of the laws. This court reversed the decision, saying, after stating that there was a general statute of Iowa which prohibited combinations to fix the price of any article of merchandise or commodity or to limit the quantity of the same produced or sold in the State, "Therefore the act in question does little if anything more than apply and work out the policy of the general law in a particular case." Again, "If an evil is specially experienced in a particular branch of business, the Constitution embodies no prohibition of laws confined to the evil, or doctrinaire requirement that they should be couched in all-embracing terms." And, "If the legislature of the State of Iowa deems it desirable artificially to prevent, so far as it can, the substitution of combination for competition, this court cannot say that fire insurance may not present so conspicuous an example of what the legislature thinks an evil as to justify special treatment. The imposition of a more specific liability upon life and health insurance companies was held valid in Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Mettler, 185 U. S. 308." (199 U. S. p. 411.) Other cases were also cited in illustration.
Carroll v. Greenwich Ins. Co., supra, is especially apposite. It contains the elements of the case at bar and a decision upon them. It will be observed that the statute, which it was said declared the general policy of Iowa, was a prohibition against a combination of producers and sellers. There was the same distinction, therefore, be
tween vendors and purchasers of commodities as in the Missouri statute and the same omission of prohibition of combinations of vendors of labor and services as in the Missouri law. The distinction and omission were continued when the policy of the State was extended to insurance companies. The law was not condemned because it went no farther-because it did not prohibit the combination of all trades, businesses and persons. We held that the omission was not for judicial cognizance, and that a court could not say that fire insurance might not present so conspicuous an example of what the legislature might think an evil "as to justify special treatment."
We might leave the discussion with that and the other cases. They decide that we are helped little in determining the legality of a legislative classification by making broad generalizations, and it is for a broad generalization that plaintiff in error contends—indeed, a generalization which includes all the activities and occupations of life, and there is an enumeration of wage earners in emphasis of the discrimination in which manufacturers and sellers are singled out from all others. The contention is deceptive, and yet it is earnestly urged in various ways which it would extend this opinion too much to detail. "In dealing with restraints of trade," it is said, "the proper basis of classification is obviously neither in commodities nor services, nor in persons, but in restraints." A law, to be valid, therefore, is the inflexible deduction, cannot distinguish between "restraints," but must apply to all restraints, whatever their degree or effect or purpose, and that because the Missouri statute has not this universal operation it offends against the equality required by the Fourteenth Amendment. This court has decided many times that a legislative classification does not have to possess such comprehensive extent. Classification must be accommodated to the problems of legislation, and we decided in Ozan Lumber Co. v. Union County Bank, 207 U. S.
251, that it may depend upon degrees of evil without being arbitrary or unreasonable. We repeated the ruling in Heath & Milligan Mfg. Co. v. Worst, 207 U. S. 338, in Engel v. O'Malley, 219 U. S. 128, in Mutual Loan Co. v. Martell, 222 U. S. 225, and again in German Alliance Insurance Company v. Kansas, 233 U. S. 389, 418. In the latter case a distinction was sustained against a charge of discrimination between stock fire insurance companies and farmers' mutual insurance companies insuring farm property. If this power of classification did not exist, to what straits legislation would be brought. We may illustrate by the examples furnished by plaintiff in error. In the enumeration of those who, it is contended, by combination are able to restrain trade are included, among others, "persons engaged in domestic service" and "nurses," and because these are not embraced in the law, plaintiff in error, it is contended, although a combination of companies uniting the power of $120,000,000 and able thereby to engross 85% or 90% of the trade in agricultural implements, is nevertheless beyond the competency of the legislature to prohibit. As great as the contrast is, a greater one may be made. Under the principle applied a combination of all the great industrial enterprises (and why not railroads as well?) could not be condemned unless the law applied as well to a combination of maidservants or to infants' nurses, whose humble functions preclude effective combination. Such contrasts and the considerations they suggest must be pushed aside by government, and a rigid and universal classification applied, is the contention of plaintiff in error; and to this the contention must come. Admit exceptions, and you admit the power of the legislature to select them. But it may be said the comparison of extremes is forensic, and, it may be, fallacious; that there may be powerful labor combinations as well as powerful industrial combinations, and weak ones of both, and that the iaw to be valid cannot distin
guish between strong and weak offenders. This may be granted (Engel v. O'Malley, supra), but the comparisons are not without value in estimating the contentions of plaintiff in error. The foundation of our decision is, of course, the power of classification which a legislature may exercise, and the cases we have cited, as well as others which may be cited, demonstrate that some latitude must be allowed to the legislative judgment in selecting the "basis of community." We have said that it must be palpably arbitrary to authorize a judicial review of it, and that it cannot be disturbed by the courts "unless they can see clearly that there is no fair reason for the law that would not require with equal force its extension to others whom it leaves untouched." Mo., Kan. & Tex. Ry. Co. v. May, 194 U. S. 267, 269; Williams v. Arkansas, 217 U. S. 79, 90; Watson v. Maryland, 218 U. S. 173, 179.
The instances of these cases are instructive. In the first there was a difference made between land owners as to liability for permitting certain noxious grasses to go to seed on the lands. In the second, the statute passed on made a difference between businesses in the solicitation of patronage on railroad trains and at depots. In the third a difference based on the evidence of qualification of physicians was declared valid.
In Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Milling Co., 218 U. S. 406, a distinction was made between common carriers in the power to limit liability for negligence. In Engel v. O'Malley, supra, a distinction between bankers was sustained; and in Provident Savings Institution v. Malone, 221 U. S. 660, deposits in savings banks were distinguished from deposits in other banks in the application of the statute of limitations.
Other cases might be cited whose instances illustrate the same principle and in which this court has refused to accept the higher generalizations urged as necessary to the fulfilment of the constitutional guaranty of the equal pro
tection of the law, and in which we, in effect, held that it is competent for a legislature to determine upon what differences a distinction may be made for the purpose of statutory classification between objects otherwise having resemblances. Such power, of course, cannot be arbitrarily exercised. The distinction made must have reasonable basis. Magoun v. Illinois Trust &c. Bank, 170 U. S. 283; Clark v. Kansas City, 176 U. S. 114; Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U. S. 183; Petit v. Minnesota, 177 U. S. 164; Williams v. Fears, 179 U. S. 270; American Sugar Refining Co. v. Louisiana, 179 U. S. 89; Griffith v. Connecticut, 218 U. S. 563; Chicago, R. I. & Pac. Ry. Co. v. Arkansas, 219 U. S. 453, 466; Lindsley v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 220 U. S. 61, 79; Fifth Avenue Coach Co. v. New York, 221 U. S. 467; Murphy v. California, 225 U. S. 623; Rosenthal v. New York, 226 U. S. 260, 269, 270; Mo., Kan. & Tex. Ry. v. Cade, 233 U. S. 642.
And so in the case at bar. Whether the Missouri statute should have set its condemnation on restraints generally, prohibiting combined action for any purpose and to everybody, or confined it as the statute does to manufacturers and vendors of articles and permitting it to purchasers of such articles; prohibiting it to sellers of commodities and permitting it to sellers of services, was a matter of legislative judgment and we cannot say that the distinctions made are palpably arbitrary, which we have seen is the condition of judicial review. It is to be remembered that the question presented is of the power of the legislature, not the policy of the exercise of the power. To be able to find fault, therefore, with such policy is not to establish the invalidity of the law based upon it.
It is said that the statute as construed by the Supreme Court of the State comes within our ruling in Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U. S. 540, but we do not think so. If it did we should, of course, apply that ruling here. Judgment affirmed.