Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison Wisconsin Case Brief

Summary of Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison Wisconsin
340 U. S. 349 (1951)

Facts: The City of Madison, WI passed an ordinance regulating the sale of milk and milk products within the city’s jurisdiction. One section makes it unlawful to sell any milk unless processed and bottled within a five mile radius, and the second section prohibited the sale, storage, receipt, or importation of milk, in Madison, if it originated, further than 25 miles unless inspected by Madison inspector. Dean Milk is a company engaged in distribution of milk and milk products in Illinois and Wisconsin. Dean was denied a license to sell it products within Madison based on the distance of its company from Madison.

Issue: Whether the Madison ordinance, places an undue burden on interstate commerce?

Holding: Yes.

Procedure: S. Ct. of WI held the 5 miles limit on pasteurization valid, and dismissed the 25 mile limit on sources of milk for lack of a justiciable controversy. S. Ct. Reversed the 5 mile limit and remand for further proceedings on 25 mile limit on sources of milk.

Rule: Absent an action by Congress, through the Commerce Clause, States may enact quarantine or inspection laws that effect interstate commerce. [Bradley] Regulation to ensure safety is a police power. 10th Amendment- confers to states, therefor local governments power to regulate safety, and health.

Ct. Rationale: This regulation imposes an economic barrier upon milk produced and pasteurized in Illinois. The Madison ordinance protects local industry against competition from outside the State. Madison plainly discriminates against interstate commerce. There are reasonable and alternatives available. The Commissioner himself testified that he submitted an alternative plan, in line with the Model Milk Ordinance, and without geographical limitations. That plan also called for milk not produced or pasteurized within the municipality to conform to standards as high as the receiving city.

PL A : The 5 mile limit on pasteurization and the 25 mile limit on sources places an undue burden upon interstate commerce.

Def A: The ordinance represents a good faith attempt to safeguard public health by making adequate sanitation inspection possible.

Minority View – States and municipalities are free to pass bona fide health regulations subject only to the paramount authority of Congress if it decides to assume control. This regulation as all health and safety regulations imposes some burden upon interstate commerce, but it does not discriminate against commerce.

[Pike] The burden imposed on commerce should be weighed against the local benefits sought to be achieved.

[Raymond v Rice] State regulations that touch upon safety are valid, unless those concerns are illusory. The constitutionality of a safety regulation depends on the weight and nature of the regulation in concern against the burden imposed on the course of interstate commerce.

Hannibal v Husen ] A State may not, under the cover of its police powers, substantially prohibit or burden either foreign or interstate commerce.

Mintz Test – Inspection Measures

a) Must be made in good faith; and

b) Appropriate for the prevention of the health and safety concern;

c) Protects the public health.



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