The White Court (1910–21)


What was the famous Standard Oil case?

One of the White Court’s most famous decisions came from Standard Oil of New Jersey v. United States (1911). The case involved the prosecution of Standard Oil Company and its various entities and several individuals, including founder John D. Rockefeller, for monopolizing the petroleum industry. The defendants were prosecuted under the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, which provided in part: “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states or with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal.” Section 2 of the law prohibited any person from monopolizing or attempting to monopolize “any part of the trade or commerce among the several states.” A lower court of four circuit judges ruled that Standard Oil should be dissolved. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that decision in its 1911 ruling.


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