BRODNAX V. MISSOURI, 219 U. S. 285 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brodnax v. Missouri, 219 U.S. 285 (1911)

Brodnax v. Missouri

No. 598

Argued December 14, 1910

Decided January 9, 1911

219 U.S. 285


In this case, as the statute shows on its face that the subject regulated needed to be regulated for the protection of the public against fraudulent practices to its injury, this Court is not prepared to declare that the state has acted beyond its power or the necessities of the case.

While it is the duty of the federal courts to protect federal rights from infringement, they should not strike down a police regulation of a state that does not clearly violate the federal Constitution; they cannot overthrow police legislation because they consider it unwise or inexpedient. House v. Mayes, ante, p. 219 U. S. 270.

Although the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment secures liberty of contract, it does not confer liberty to disregard lawful police regulations of the state established by the state for all within its jurisdiction.

Page 219 U. S. 286

A classification of persons keeping places where stocks, bonds and such commodities as grain, petroleum and cotton are dealt in for future and not actual delivery is a reasonable one, and not a denial of equal protection of the laws.

The fact that commodities in course of transportation in interstate commerce are dealt in at certain places does not render a state police statute regulating sales, and imposing stamp tax on records of transactions thereat, which is otherwise valid, an unconstitutional regulation of interstate commerce. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U. S. 502.

It is not a violation of the due process or equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or an unconstitutional regulation of interstate commerce for a state to prohibit the keeping of a place where purchases or sales are made of stocks, bonds, petroleum, grain, cotton, etc., on margins or otherwise, not paid for or delivered at the time, without record of sale and stamp tax, by a statute applicable to all persons keeping such places, and so held as to the Missouri statute to that effect of March 8, 1907.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Missouri prohibiting the keeping of places for dealing in stocks, bonds and commodities for future delivery except under certain conditions, are stated in the opinion.

Page 219 U. S. 289

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