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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Arkansas, 219 U.S. 453 (1911)

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company v. Arkansas

No. 50

Argued November 11, 1910

Decided February 20, 1911

219 U.S. 453


A state is under an obligation to establish necessary and reasonable regulations for the safety of all engaged in business or domiciled within its limits, and passengers on trains of interstate carriers are entitled while within a state to the same protection of valid local laws as are citizens of the state.

The states have never surrendered the power to care for the public safety, and the validity of police statutes enacted to that end which are not purely arbitrary or in conflict with a power granted to the general government cannot be questioned in federal courts.

A state regulation that is uniform on all railroads of the class to which it is applicable is not unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the law because it does not apply to railroads less than fifty miles in length. The classification is a reasonable one.

A state statute prescribing a not unreasonable number for the crews of freight trains is not an obstruction to, or burden on, interstate commerce, but an aid thereto, and so held that the "full crew" act of Arkansas is not unconstitutional under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution, Congress not having acted in regard thereto.

While Congress may, in its discretion, take under its charge the subject of equipment of interstate trains, until it does so, the states may prescribe proper police regulations in regard thereto without violating the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.

86 Ark. 412 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a law of Arkansas relating to equipment of railway trains, are stated in the opinion.

Page 219 U. S. 457

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