INGELS V. MORF, 300 U. S. 290 (1937)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ingels v. Morf, 300 U.S. 290 (1937)

Ingels v. Morf

No. 456

Argued February 5, 1937

Decided March 1, 1937

300 U.S. 290


1. To justify the exaction by a State of a money payment burdening interstate commerce, it must affirmatively appear that it is demanded

Page 300 U. S. 291

as reimbursement for the expense of providing facilities, or of enforcing regulations of the commerce which are within its constitutional power. This may appear from the statute itself, or from the use of the money collected, to defray such expense. P. 300 U. S. 294.

2. The California "Caravan Act," Stats., 1935, c. 402, defines "caravaning" as the transportation

"from without the State, of any motor vehicle operated on its own wheels or in tow of another vehicle for the purpose of selling or offering the same for sale . . . to any purchaser"

located within or without the State; it prohibits caravaning without attaching to each vehicle a special permit, for which a fee of $15.00 is exacted. The permit is valid only for a specified trip or trips and for a period of 90 days. The Act directs that the fees collected be paid into the general fund in the state treasury, and declares that they are

"intended to reimburse the state treasury for the added expense which the State may incur in the administration and enforcement of this Act, and the added expense of policing the highways over which such caravaning may be conducted, so as to provide for the safety of traffic on such highways where caravaning is being conducted."


(1) From a consideration of the Act in connection with other California enactments, it appears that the collections are used not to meet the cost of highway construction or maintenance, but to reimburse the state treasury for the added expense of administering the Caravan Act and policing the caravaning traffic. P. 300 U. S. 295.

(2) The burden of showing that, for this purpose, the exaction is excessive rested upon the person attacking it. P. 300 U. S. 296.

(3) Finding of the trial court that the fee is excessive was sustained by the evidence in this case. Id.

(4) The licensing provisions therefore impose an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce. Morf v. Bingaman, 298 U. S. 407, distinguished. Pp. 300 U. S. 294, 300 U. S. 297.

14 F.Supp. 922 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of three judges, enjoining the enforcement of provisions of the California Caravan Act.

Page 300 U. S. 292

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