The White Court (1910–21)


In what decision did the White Court uphold a federal law limiting the shipment of alcohol across state lines?

The White Court ruled 7–2 in Clark Distilling Co. v. Western Maryland R. Co. (1917) that a federal law providing that interstate shipments of liquor could be regulated by state law did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The case concerned two railway companies that were transporting liquors from Maryland to West Virginia allegedly in violation of West Virginia law. The distilling company contended that the federal law was unconstitutional in part because it subjected the transportation of liquor to varying state laws. This lack of uniformity, according to the distilling company, doomed the federal legislation. The White Court disagreed, reasoning that there was no requirement in the Constitution that all state legislation dealing with subjects that may travel in interstate commerce be uniform. Congress had the power to pass this law affecting the transportation of liquors, and the federal law did not have to mandate that all state laws on the subject be uniform.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App