New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann
|New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann|
|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.|
|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.
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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."
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
|“||To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. This Court has the power to prevent an experiment. We may strike down the statute which embodies it on the ground that, in our opinion, the measure is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. We have power to do this, because the due process clause has been held by the Court applicable to matters of substantive law as well as to matters of procedure. But, in the exercise of this high power, we must be ever on our guard lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.||”|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- 285 U.S. 262, 272, citing Oklahoma law, 147, Session Laws 1925, Sec. 3.
- Compare Felix Frankfurter, "The Public and Its Government," pp. 49-51
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