ADAMS V. MILWAUKEE, 228 U. S. 572 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Adams v. Milwaukee, 228 U.S. 572 (1913)

Adams v. Milwaukee

No. 247

Argued April 23, 1913

Decided May 12, 1913

228 U.S. 572


The question whether a classification of milk vendors who produce their milk outside of the city to which they send milk deprives such producers of the equal protection of the law when there are different rules for vendors who produce their milk within the city limits has not been so far foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court as to render its discussion unnecessary, and a motion to dismiss is denied.

Whether rules provided to be made by a police ordinance were properly promulgated and whether the officer promulgating them had authority so to do are not federal questions.

Different situations of the objects regulated by a municipal ordinance may require different regulations.

A classification in a municipal ordinance by which vendors of milk drawn from cows outside the city are subjected to different regulations from those to which vendors of milk drawn from cows within the city is not, provided, as in this case, the regulations are reasonable and proper, a denial of equal protection of the law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and so held as to the milk ordinance of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The police power of the state is adequate to protect the people against the sale of impure food such as milk.

An ordinance regulating the sale of food products must be summarily enforced, and the destruction of impure food, such as milk, is the only available and efficient penalty for its violations, and does not deprive the owner of his property without due process of law, and so

Page 228 U. S. 573

held as to the milk ordinance of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lieberman v. Van De Carr, 199 U. S. 552.

This court does not pass upon question before they have reached a justiciable stage.

As a provision in a municipal ordinance holding health of officers enforcing it harmless for the destruction of offending property "if done in good faith" may be separable, this Court will not determine whether it is an unconstitutional taking of property without due process of law in an action in which it appears that none of plaintiff's goods have been or could be destroyed before the state court has construed the statute in that respect.

144 Wis. 371 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, are stated in the opinion.

Page 228 U. S. 576

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