POLAR ICE CREAM CO. V. ANDREWS, 375 U. S. 361 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Polar Ice Cream Co. v. Andrews, 375 U.S. 361 (1964)

Polar Ice Cream & Creamery Co. v. Andrews

No. 38

Argued November 20, 1963

Decided January 6, 1964

375 U.S. 361


Appellant (Polar), located in Pensacola, Florida, is a processor and distributor of fluid milk and milk products, which it sells to Florida consumers and dealers. It handles approximately 5,000,000 gallons of milk each year, and supplies large quantities to United States military installations. Prior to the regulations challenged here, it purchased approximately 30% of its raw milk requirements from Florida producers, the remainder from producers or brokers in other States. The Florida Milk Control Act and the orders of the Florida Milk Commission here challenged by Polar regulate dealings between milk distributors and milk producers located within the Pensacola Milk Marketing Area.


1. Those provisions of the Florida regulations which require Polar to accept its total supply of Class I milk from designated Pensacola producers at a fixed price and oblige it to take all milk which these producers offer are invalid under the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 375 U. S. 373-379.

(a) The controlling cases are Baldwin v. Seelig, 294 U. S. 511; Hood & Sons v. Du Mond, 336 U. S. 525; and Dean Milk Co. v. Madison, 340 U. S. 349. P. 375 U. S. 373.

(b) Under the regulatory restraints challenged here, out-of-state milk may not participate in the milk market in Florida, including the premium Class I market, unless local production is inadequate. These barriers are precisely the kind of hindrance to the introduction of milk from other States which Baldwin condemned as an "unreasonable clog on the mobility of interstate commerce." Pp. 375 U. S. 375-377.

(c) Baldwin and Dean make clear that the exclusion of out-of-state milk from a major portion of a State's market cannot be justified as an economic measure to protect the welfare of local dairy farmers or as a health measure designed to insure the existence of a wholesome supply of milk. P. 375 U. S. 377.

(d) Nebbia v. New York, 291 U. S. 502, Highland Farms Dairy v. Agnew, 300 U. S. 608, and Milk Control Board v. Eisenberg Farm Products, 306 U. S. 346, distinguished. Pp. 375 U. S. 378-379.

Page 375 U. S. 362

2. The question of the validity of the producer price requirement of the Florida law as applied to Polar's sales to United States military reservations is not here determined. Pp. 375 U. S. 379-381.

3. The provision of the Milk Control Act which imposes a tax of 15/100 of 1 cent upon each gallon of milk distributed by a Florida distributor -- to the extent that the computation of the tax includes milk sold to federal enclaves over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction -- is not invalid as beyond the jurisdiction of the State. Pp. 381-383.

(a) The incidence of the tax appears to be upon the activity of processing or bottling milk in a plant located within Florida, and not upon work performed on a federal enclave or upon the sale and delivery of milk occurring within the boundaries of federal property. P. 375 U. S. 382.

(b) The distributing of milk has its processing dimension, a substantial activity occurring within Florida, and this is enough to sustain the tax. P. 375 U. S. 383.

(c) The provision of 4 U.S. C. §§105, 110, conferring upon the States jurisdiction to levy and collect a sales or use tax "in any Federal area," and defining a sales or use tax as "any tax levied on, with respect to, or measured by, sales . . . of tangible personal property," provides ample basis for Florida to levy a tax measured by the amount of milk Polar distributes monthly, including milk sold to the United States for use on federal enclaves in Florida. P. 375 U. S. 383.

208 F. Supp. 899, reversed and remanded.

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