New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann

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New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued February 19, 1932
Decided March 21, 1932
Full case name '
Citations 285 U.S. 262 (more)
Prior history District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma dismissed the New State Ice Co.'s complaint for lack of equity, 42 F.(2d) 913; Court of Appeals affirmed, 52 F.(2d) 349; cert. granted.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Charles E. Hughes
Associate Justices
Willis Van Devanter · James C. McReynolds
Louis Brandeis · George Sutherland
Pierce Butler · Harlan F. Stone
Owen J. Roberts
Case opinions
Majority Sutherland, joined by Van Devanter, McReynolds, Butler, Hughes, Roberts
Dissent Brandeis, joined by Stone
Cardozo took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932) was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that due process prevented a state legislature from arbitrarily creating restrictions on new businesses only on the claim that their markets affected a public use.


The New State Ice Company had brought suit against Liebmann to prevent him from selling ice without a license.


The lower courts had relied on Frost v. Corporation Commission 278 U.S. 515 (1929) in reaching their conclusion that a license is not necessary where existing businesses are "sufficient to meet the public needs therein."[1]

The Supreme Court distinguished Frost as concerned with businesses that grind grain, a public interest key to feeding the population that is not comparable to the ice market.

Justice Brandeis dissented from the court's opinion, with which Justice Stone joined. He said the following

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 285 U.S. 262, 272, citing Oklahoma law, 147, Session Laws 1925, Sec. 3.
  2. ^ Compare Felix Frankfurter, "The Public and Its Government," pp. 49-51