U. S. v. Carolene Products Co. Case Brief

Summary of U. S. v. Carolene Products Co.
S. Ct. 1938

Regulation of Business Designed to Protect Public Health/Safety – Rational Basis:

Relevant Facts: The Carolene Products Company was indicted for shipping a compound of condensed skimmed milk and coconut oil made in imitation or semblance of condensed milk or cream.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the ‘Filled Milk Act’ of Congress which prohibits the shipment of skimmed milk compounded with any fat or oil other than milk fat, so as to resemble milk or cream, violates the 5th or 14th Amendments?

Court’s Holding: The prohibition of shipment of appellee’s product does not violate the 5th or 14th.

Procedure: The case was brought here on appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act. Judgment sustaining a demurrer to the indictment, and the United States appeals. Reversed.

Law or Rule(s): A statute enacted where the facts would show or tend to show that a statute deprives life, liberty, or property is a “denial of due process,” unless rationally based on to the health and welfare of the public evidenced by the legislators experience and knowledge.-5th 14th.

Court Rationale: The equal protection clause of the Constitution does not compel state Legislatures to prohibit all like evils or none, but permits the Legislatures to hit at an abuse which they have found, even though they fail to strike at another. -14th In twenty years evidence has steadily accumulated of the danger to the public health from the general consumption of foods which have been stripped of elements essential to the maintenance of health. The regulation of filled milk, in the absence of proof discrimination or arbitrary application to a member of a class, is reserved for Congress to legislate, so long as the statute remains consistent with the Const.

Plaintiff’s Argument: (Appellant) Foods that have been stripped of elements essential to the maintenance of health, and pose a danger to the public health should be regulated.

Defendant’s Argument: (Appellee) The statute denies to it equal protection of the laws, and in violation of the 5ht Amendment, deprives it of its property without due process of law, particularly in that the statute purports to make binding and conclusive upon appellee the legislative declaration that appellee’s product ‘is an adulterated article of food, injurious to the public health, and its sale constitutes a fraud on the public.’

Epithets – titles or designations.

Opprobrious – heinous or bad

TEST – The existence of facts supporting legislative judgment is presumed. Regulatory legislation affecting ordinary commercial transactions is not deemed unconstitutional unless the facts disclose the character of the statute is not based upon a rational basis. Experience and knowledge of legislators.

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