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nor has the other contention that the service which cannot be demanded cannot be regulated.

A contract for fire insurance is one for indemnity against loss, and is personal. The admission, however, does not take us far in the solution of the question presented. Its personal character certainly does not of itself preclude regulation, for there are many examples of government regulation of personal contracts, and in the statutes of every State in the Union superintendence and control over the business of insurance are exercised, varying in details and extent. We need not particularize in detail. We need only say that there was quite early in Massachusetts, 1837; New York, 1853) State provision for what is known as the unearned premium fund or reserve; then came the limitation of dividends, the publishing of accounts, valued policies, standards of policies, prescribing investment, requiring deposits in money or bonds, confining the

ess to corporations, preventing discrimination in rates, limitation of risks, and other regulations equally restrictive. In other words, the State has stepped in and imposed conditions upon the companies, restraining the absolute liberty which businesses strictly private are permitted to exercise.

Those regulations exhibit it to be the conception of the lawmaking bodies of the country without exception that the business of insurance so far affects the public welfare as to invoke and require governmental regulation. A conception so general cannot be without cause. The universal sense of a people cannot be accidental; its persistence saves it from the charge of unconsidered impulse, and its estimate of insurance certainly has substantial basis. Accidental fires are inevitable and the extent of loss very great. The effect of insurance_indeed, it has been said to be its fundamental objectis to distribute the loss over as wide an area as possible. In other words, the loss is spread over the country, the disaster to an individual is shared by many, the disaster to a community shared by other communities; great catastrophies are thereby lessened, and, it may be, repaired. In assimilation of insurance to a tax, the companies have been said to be the mere machinery by which the inevitable losses by fire are distributed so as to fall as lightly as possible on the public at large, the body of the insured, not the companies, paying the tax. Their efficiency, therefore, and solvency, are of great concern. The other objects, direct and indirect, of insurance, we need not mention. Indeed, it may be enough to say, without stating other effects of insurance, that a large part of the country's wealth, subject to uncertainty of loss through fire, is protected by insurance. This demonstrates the interest of the public in it, and we need not dispute with the economists that this is the result of the "substitution of certain for uncertain loss," or the diffusion of positive loss over a large group of persons, as we have already said to be certainly one of its effects. We can see, therefore, how it has come to be considered a matter of public concern to regulate it, and, governmental insurance has its advocates and even examples. Contracts of insurance, therefore, have greater public consequence





than contracts between individuals to do or not to do a particular, thing whose effect stops with the individuals.

But it is said that the reasoning of the opinion has the broad reach of subjecting to regulation every act of human endeavor and the price of every article of human use. We might, without much concern, leave our discussion to take care of itself against such misunderstanding or deductions. The principle we apply is definite and old, and has, as we have pointed out, illustrating examples. And both by the expression of the principle and the citation of the examples we have tried to confine our decision to the regulation of the business of insurance, it having become "clothed with a public interest,” and therefore subject “to be controlled by the public for the common good."

If there may be controversy as to the business having such character, there can be no controversy as to what follows from such character if it be established. It is idle, therefore, to debate whether the liberty of contract guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States is more intimately involved in price regulation than in the other forms of regulation as to the validity of which there is no dispute. The order of their enactment certainly cannot be considered an element in their legality. It would be very rudimentary to say that measures of government are determined by circumstances, by the presence or imminence of conditions, and of the legislative judgment of the means or the policy of removing or preventing them. The power to regulate interstate commerce existed for a century before the interstate commerce act was passed, and the Commission constituted by it was not given authority to fix rates until some years afterwards. Of the agencies which those measures were enacted to regulate at the time of the creation of the power, there was no prophecy or conception. Nor was regulation immediate upon their existence. It was exerted only when the size, number, and influence of those agencies had so increased and developed as to seem to make it imperative. Other illustrations readily occur which repel the intimation that the inactivity of a power, however prolonged, militates against its legality when it is exercised. United States ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. Delaware & H. Co. 213 U. S. 366. It is oftener the existence of necessity rather than the prescience of it which dictates legislation. And so with the regulations of the business of insurance. They have proceeded step by step, differing in different jurisdictions. If we are brought to a comparison of them in relation to the power of government, how can it be said that fixing the price of insurance is beyond that power and the other instances of regulation are not? How can it be said that the right to engage in the business is a natural one when it can be denied to individuals and permitted to corporations? How can it be said to have the privilege of a private business when its dividends are restricted, its investments controlled, the form and extent of its contracts prescribed, discriminations in its rates denied, and a limitation on its risks imposed? Are not such regulations restraints upon the exercise of the personal right-asserted to be

fundamental--of dealing with property freely, or engaging in what contracts one may choose, and with whom and upon what terms one may choose ?

We may venture to observe that the price of insurance is not fixed over the counters of the companies by what Adam Smith calls the higgling of the market, but formed in the councils of the underwriters, promulgated in schedules of practically controlling constancy which the applicant for insurance is powerless to oppose, and which, therefore, has led to the assertion that the business of insurance is of monopolistic character and that “it is illusory to speak of a liberty of contract." It is in the alternative presented of accepting the rates of the companies or refraining from insurance, business necessity impelling if not compelling it, that we may discover the inducement of the Kansas statute; and the problem presented is whether the legislature could regard it of as much moment to the public that they who seek insurance should no more be constrained by arbitrary terms than they who seek transportation by railroads, steam, or street, or by coaches whose itinerary may be only a few city blocks, or who seek the use of grain elevators, or to be secured in a night's accommodation at a wayside inn, or in the weight of a 5-cent loaf of bread. We do not say this to belittle such rights or to exaggerate the effect of insurance, but to exhibit the principle which exists in all and brings all under the same governmental power.

We have summarized the provisions of the Kansas statute, and it will be observed from them that they attempt to systematize the control of insurance. The statute seeks to secure rates which shall be reasonable both to the insurer and the insured, and as a means to this end it prescribes equality of charges, forbids initial discrimination or subsequently by the refund of a portion of the rates, or the extension to the insured of any privilege; to this end it requires publicity in the basic schedules and of all of the conditions which affect the rates or the value of the insurance to the insured, and also adherence to the rates as published. Whether the requirements are necessary to the purpose, or—to confine ourselves to that which is under review-whether rate regulation is necessary to the purpose, is a matter for legislative judgment, not judicial. Our function is only to determine the existence of power.

The bill attacks the statute of Kansas as discriminating against complainant because the statute excludes from its provisions farmers' mutual insurance companies, organized and doing business under the laws of the State and insuring only farm property. The charge is not discussed in the elaborate brief of counsel, nor does it seem to have been pressed in the lower court. It is, however, covered by the assignments of error.

The provision of the statute is, “That nothing in this act shall affect farmers' mutual insurance companies, organized and doing business under the laws of this State, and insuring only farm property." The distinction is therefore between co-operative insurance companies insuring a special kind of property and all other insurance companies. It is only with that distinction that we are now concerned. There are special provisions in the statutes of Kansas for the organization of co-operative companies, and if the statute under review discriminates between them the man Alliance Company cannot avail itself of the discrimination. A citation of cases is not necessary, nor for the general principle that a discrimination is valid if not arbitrary, and arbitrary in the legislative sense, that is, outside of that wide discretion which a legislature may exercise. A legislative classification may rest on narrow distinctions. Legislation is addressed to evils as they may appear, and even degrees of evil may determine its exercise. Ozan Lumber Co. v. Union County Nat. Bank, 202 U. S. 623. There are certainly differences between stock companies, such as complainant is, and the mutual companies described in the bill, and a recognition of the differences we cannot say is outside of the constitutional power of the legislature. Orient Ins. Co. v. Daggs, 172 U. S. 557.

Decree affirmed. Mr. Justice Lamar, the Chief Justice, and Mr. Justice Van Devanter dissented.


169 U. S. 366. 1898.


The plaintiff, Holden, was convicted of violating a State statute, making it a misdemeanor for any employer to employ workingmen in underground mines or in smelters, or other institutions for the reduction or refining of ores or metals, for more than eight hours per day except in cases of emergency when life or property was in imminent danger. He was given into the custody of the defendant, as sheriff, and applied to the Supreme Court of Utah for discharge on a writ of habeas corpus. His application being refused, he sued out a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the United States, challenging the validity of the State statute under which he was convicted on the ground that it offended against the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, in that it abridged the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving both the employer and laborer of property without due process of law, and denying them the equal protection of the laws. MR. JUSTICE BRown delivered the opinion of the court.

But if it be within the power of a legislature to adopt such means for the protection of the lives of its citizens, it is difficult to see why precautions may not also be adopted for the protection of their health and morals. It is as much for the interest of the State that the public health should be preserved as that life should be made secure. With this end in view quarantine laws have been enacted in most if not all of the States; insane asylums, public hospitals, and institutions for the care and education of the blind established, and special measures taken for the exclusion of infected cattle, rags, and decayed fruit. In other States laws have been enacted limiting the hours during which women and children shall be employed in factories; and while their constitutionality, at least as applied to women, has been doubted in some of the States, they have been generally upheld. Thus, in the case of Commonwealth v. Hamilton Manufacturing Company, 120 Mass. 383, it was held that a statute prohibiting the employment of all persons under the age of eighteen, and of all women laboring in any manufacturing establishment more than sixty hours per week, violates no contract of the Commonwealth implied in the granting of a charter to a manufacturing company nor any right reserved under the Constitution to any individual citizen, and may be maintained as a health or police regulation.

Upon the principles above stated, we think the act in question may

be sustained as a valid exercise of the police power of the State. The enactment does not profess to limit the hours of all workmen, but merely those who are employed in underground mines, or in the smelting, reduction, or refining of ores or metals. These employments, when too long pursued, the legislature has judged to be detrimental to the health of the employees, and, so long as there are reasonable grounds for believing that this is so, its decision upon this subject cannot be reviewed by the Federal courts.

While the general experience of mankind may justify us in believing that men may engage in ordinary employments more than eight hours per day without injury to their health, it does not follow that labor for the same length of time is innocuous when carried on beneath the surface of the earth, where the operative is deprived of fresh air and sunlight, and is frequently subjected to foul atmosphere and a very high temperature, or to the influence of noxious gases, generated by the processes of refining or smelting. *

We are of opinion that the act in question was a valid exercise of the police power of the State, and the judgments of the Supreme Court of Utah are, therefore,




97 U. S. 659. 1878.

The Northwestern Fertilizing Company was chartered by the State of Illinois with the right to existence for a term of fifty years, and was empowered by its charter to establish fertilizing works in Cook County, Illinois, at any point south of the dividing line between townships thirty-seven and thirty-eight. The company

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