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Stock Landing and Slaughter-House Company intering of animals whose flesh is intended for the exercise of certain powers conferred by the food within the city of New Orleans and other charter which created it, and which was granted parishes and boundaries named and defined, or by the legislatare of that State.
the keeping or establishing any slaughter-houses The cases named above, with others which or abattoirs within those limits, except by the have been brought here and dismissed by agree- corporation thereby created, which is also limited ment, were all decided by the Supreme Court of to certain places afterwards mentioned. Suitable Louisiana in favor of the slaughter-house com- penalties are enacted for violations of this propany, as we shall hereafter call it for the sake of hibition. brevity, and these writs are brought to reverse. The second section designates the corporators, those decisions.
gives the name to the corporation, and confers The records were filed in this court in 1870, on it the usual corporate powers. and were argued before it at length on a motion | The third and fourth sections authorize the made by plaintiffs in error for an order in the company to establish and erect within certain ternature of an injunction or supersedeas, pending ritorial limits therein defined one or more stockthe action of the court on the merits. The opin- yards, stock-landings, and slaughter-houses, and ion on that motion is reported in 10 Wallace, imposes upon it the duty of erecting, on or bem 273.
fore the 1st day of June, 1869, one grand slaughOn account of the importance of the questions ter-house of sufficient capacity for slaughtering involved in these cases they were, by permission five hundred animals per day. of the court, taken up out of their order on the It declares that the company, after it shall docket, and argued in January, 1872. At that have prepared all the necessary buildings, yards, hearing one of the justices was absent, and it and other conveniences for that purpose, shall was found on consultation that there was a di- have the sole and exclusive privilege of conductversity of views among those who were present. ing and carrying on the live-stock landing and Impressed with the gravity of the questions slaughter-house business within the limits and raised in the argument, the court under these privilege granted by the act, and that all such circumstances ordered that the cases be placed animals shall be landed at the stock-landings on the calendar and reargued before a full bench. and slaughtered at the slaughter bouses of the This argument was had early in February last. company, and nowhere else. Penalties are en
Preliminary to the consideration of those acted for infractions of this provision, and prices questions is a motion by the defendant to dismiss fixed for the maximum charges of the company the cases, on the ground that the contest between for each steamboat and for each animal landed. the parties has been adjusted by an agreement Section five orders the closing up of all other made since the records came into this court, and stock-landings and slaughter-houses after the that part of that agreement is that these writs 1st day of June in the parishes of Orleans, Jefshould be dismissed. This motion was heard ferson, and St. Bernard, and makes it the duty with the argument on the merits, and was much of the company to permit any person to slaughpressed by counsel. It is supported by affidavits ter animals in their slaughter-houses under a and by copies of the written agreement relied on. heavy penalty for each refusal. Another secIt is sufficient to say of these that we do not find tion fixes a limit to the charges to be made by in them satisfactory evidence that the agree the company for each animal so slaughtered in ment is binding upon all the parties to the their building, and another provides for an inrecord who are named as plaintiffs in the several spection of all animals intended to be so slaughwriis of error, and that there are parties now tered by an officer appointed by the governor of before the court, in each of the three cases at the the State for that purpose. head of this opinion, who have not consented to These are tbe principal features of the statute, their dismissal, and who are not bound by the and are all that have any bearing upon the action of those who have so consented. They questions to be decided by us. have a right to be heard, and the motion to dis- * This statute is denounced not only as creatmiss cannot prevail.
| ing a monopoly, and conferring odious and exThe records show that the plaintiffs in error clusive privileges upon a small number of perrelied upon, and asserted throughout the entire sons at the expense of the great body of the course of the litigation in the State courts, that community of New Orleans, but it is asserted the grant of privileges in the charter of defend that it deprives a large and meritorious class of ant, which they were contesting, was a violation citizens-the whole of the butchers of the cityof the most important provisions of the thir- of the right to exercise their trade, the business teenth and fourteenth articles of amendment of to which they have been trained, and on which the Constitution of the United States. The they depend for the support of themselves and jurisdiction and the duty of this court to review their families; and that the unrestricted exerthe judgment of the State court on those ques- cise of the business of butchering is necessary to tions is clear and is imperative.
the daily subsistence of the population of the The statute thus assailed as unconstitutional city. was passed March 8, 1869, and is entitled "An But a critical examination of the act hardly act to protect the health of the city of New Or- justifies these assertions, leans, to locate the stock-landings and slaughter. It is true that it grants for a period of twentyhouses, and to incorporate the Crescent City five years exclusive privileges. And whether Liye-stock Landing and Slaughter-house Com- those privileges are at the expense of the company."
| munity in the sense of a curtailment of any of The first section forbids the landing or slaugh- their fundamental rights, or even in the sense of
doing them an injury, is a question open to con- I pel cars, the building with combustible materials, siderations to be hereafter stated. But it is not and the burial of the dead, may all," says Chantrue that it deprives the butchers of the right to chellor Kent, (2 Commentaries, 340,) "be interexercise their trade, or imposes upon them any dicted by law, in the midst of dense masses of. restriction incornpatible with its successful pur- population, on the general and rational princisuit, or furnishing the people of the city with the ple, that every person ought to so use his propnecessary daily supply of animal food.
erty as not to injure his neighbors; and that The act divides itself into two main grants of private interests must be made subservient to the privilege—the one in reference to stock-landings general interests of the community." This is and stock-yards, and the other to slaughter- called the police power; and it is declared by houses. That the landing of live stock in large Chief Justice Shaw, that it is much easier to droves from steamboats on the bank of the river perceive and realize the existence and sources of and from railroad trains should, for the safety it than to mark its boundaries or prescribe limand comfort of the people and the care of the its to its exercise. (Commonwealth vs. Alger, 7 animals, be limited to proper places, and those Cushing, 84.) not numerous, needs no argument to prove it. This power is, and must be, from its very naNor can it be injurious to the general commu- ture, incapable of any very exact definition or nity that wbile the duty of making ample prep- limitation. Upon it depends the security of soaration for this is imposed upon a few men, or acial order, the life and health of the citizen, the corporation, they should, to enable them to do it comfort of an existence in a thickly populated successfully, have the exclusive right of provid-community, the enjoyment of private and social ing such landing places, and receiving a fair life, and the beneficial use of property. “It excompensation for the service.
tends, says another eminent judge, to the proIt is, however, the slaughter-house privilege, tection of the lives, limbs, health, eomfort, and which is mainly relied on to justify the charges quiet of all persons, and the protection of all of gross injustice to the public, and invasion of property within the State; * * * and perprivate right.
sons and property are subjected to all kinds of It is not and cannot be successfully contro- restraints and burdens in order to secure the verted, that it is both the right and the duty of general comfort, health, and prosperity of the the legislative body—the supreme power of the State. Of the perfect right of the legislature to State or municipality-to prescribe and deter- do this no question ever was, or, upon acknowlmine the localities where the business of slaugh-edged general principles, ever can be made, so tering for a great city may be conducted. To do far as natural persons are concerned.” (Thorpe this effectively it is indispensable that all persons vs. Rutland and Burlington R. R. Co., 27 Verwho slaughter animals for food shall do it in mont R., 149.) those places and nowhere else.
The regulation of the place and manner of The statute under consideration defines these conducting the slaughtering of animals, and the localities, and forbids slaughtering in any other. business of butchering within a city, and the It does not, as has been asserted, prevent the inspection of the animals to be killed for meat, butcher from doing his own slaughtering. On and of the meat afterwards, are among the most the contrary, the slaughter-house company is necessary and frequent exercises of this power required, under a heavy penalty, to permit any It is not, therefore, needed that we should seek person who wishes to do so, to slaughter in their for a comprehensive definition, but rather look houses; and they are bound to make ample pro- for the proper source of its exercise. vision for the convenience.of all the slaughtering In Gibbons vs. Ogden, (9 Wheaton, 203,) Chief for the entire city. The butcher, then, is still Justice Marshall, speaking of inspection laws permitted to slaughter, to prepare, and to sell his passed by the States, says: “ They form a porown meats; but he is required to slaughter at a tion of that immense mass of legislation which specified place, and to pay a reasonable compen controls everything within the territory of a sation for the use of the accommodations fur- Siate not surrendered to the general govern nished him at that place.
ment-all which can be most advantageously The wisdom of the monopoly granted by the administered by the States themselves. InspecLegislature may be open to question, but it is tion laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every difficult to see a justification for the assertion description, as well as laws for regulating the that the butchers are deprived of the right to internal commerce of a State, and those wbich labor in their occupation, or the people of their respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are compodaily service in preparing food, or how this stat-nent parts. "No direct general power over these ute, with the duties and guards imposed upon objects is granted to Congress; and consequently the company, can be said to destroy the business they remain subject to State legislation." of the butcher, or seriously interfere with its The exclusive authority of State legislation pursuit.
over this subject is strikingly illustrated in the "The power here exercised by the legislature case of the City of New York vs. Miln, (11 Peter of Louisiana is, in its essential nature, one which 102.). In that case the defendant was prosecuted has been, up to the present period in the consti for failing to comply with a statute of New York tutional history of this country, always conceded which required of every master of a vessel arrivto belong to the States, however it may now being from a foreign port, in that of New York city, questioned in some of its details.
to report the names of all his passengers, with “Unwholesome trades, slaughter-houses, op. certain particulars of their age, occupation, last erations offensive to the senses, the deposit of place of settlement, and place of their birth. It powder, the application of steam power to pro- was argued that this act was an invasion of the exclusive right of Congress to regulate commerce. I exception to the validity of the statute. And in And it cannot be denied that such a statute op- this respect we are not able to see that these erated at least indirectly upon the commercial privileges are especially odious or objectionable. intercourse between the citizens of the United The duty imposed as a consideration for the privStates and of foreign countries. But notwith- ilege is well defined, and its enforcement well standing this it was held to be an exercise of the guarded. The prices or charges to be made by police power properly within the control of the the company are limited by the statute, and we State, and unaffected by the clause of the Con- are not advised that they are on the whole exorstitution which conferred on Congress the right bitant or unjust. to regulate commerce.
The proposition is therefore reduced to these To the same purpose are the recent cases of terms: Can any exclusive privileges be granted The License Tax, (5 Wall., 471,) and United to any of its citizens, or to a corporation, by the States vs. De Witt, (9 Wall., 41.) In the latter legislature of a State ? case an act of Congress which nodertook as a The eminent and learned counsel who has twice part of the internal revenge laws to make it a argued the negative of this question, has dismisdemeanor to mix for sale paphtha and illu- played a research into the history of monopolies minating oils, or to sell oil of petroleum inflam. in England and the European continent only mable at less than a prescribed tenperature, was equaled by the eloquence with which they are held to be void, because as a police regulation the denounced. power to make such a law belonged to the States, But it is to be observed that all such referand did not belong to Congress.
ences are to monopolies established by the mon. It cannot be denied that the statute under con-arch in derogation of the rights of his subjects, sideration is aptly framed to remove from the or arise out of transactions in which the people more densely populated part of the city the nox- were unrepresented, and their interests uncared ious slaughter-houses and large and offensive for. The great case of The Monopolies reported collection of animals necessarily incident to the by Coke, and so fully stated in the brief, was slaughtering business of a large city, and to lo. undoubtedly a contest of the commons against cate them where the convenience, health, and the monarch. The decision is based upon the comfort of the people require they shall be located. ground that it was against common law, and the And it must be conceded that the means adopted argument was aimed at the unlawful assumption by the act for this purpose are appropriate, are of power by the crown; for whoever doubted the stringent, and effectual. But it is said that in authority of Parliament to change or modify the creating a corporation for this purpose, and con- common law? The discussion in the House of ferring upon it exclusive privileges—privileges Commons cited from Macaulay clearly estabwhich it is said constitute å monopoly—the leg- lishes that the contest was between the crown islature has exceeded its power. If this statute and the people represented in Parliament. had imposed on the city of New Orleans precisely But we think it may be safely affirmed that the same duties, accompanied by the same privi- the Parliament of Great Britain, representing leges, which it has on the corporation which it the people in their legislative functions, and the created, it is believed that no question would legislative bodies of this country, have, from have been raised as to its constitutionality. In time immemorial to the present day, continued that case the effect on the butchers in pursuit of to grant to persons and corporations exclusive their occupation, and on the public, would have privileges privileges denied to other citizensbeen the same as it is now. Why cannot the privileges which come within any just definition legislature confer the same powers on another of the word monopoly as much as those now corporation, created for a lawful and useful pub- under consideration, and that the power to do lic object, that it can on the municipal corpora- this has never been questioned or denied. Nor tion already existing? That wherever a legisla- can it be truthfully denied that some of the most ture has the right to accomplish a certain result, useful ind beneficial enterprises set on foot for and that result is best attained by means of a the general good have been made successful by corporation, it has the right to create such a means of these exclusive rights, and could only corporation, and to endow it with the powers have been conducted to success in that way. necessary to effect the desired and lawful pur- ! It may, therefore, be considered as established pose, seems hardly to admit of debate. The that the authority of the legislature of Louisiana proposition is ably discussed and affirmed in the to pass the present statute is ample, unless some case of McCulloch vs. The State of Maryland, (4 restraint in the exercise of that power be found Wheaton, 316,) in relation to the power of Con. in the constitution of that State or in the amendgress to organize the Bank of the United States ments to the Constitution of the United States, to aid in the fiscal operations of the Govern- adopted since the date of the decisions we have ment
already cited. It can readily be seen that the interested vigi- i If any such restraint is supposed to exist in lance of the corporation created by the Louisiana the constitution of the State, the Supreme Court legislature will be more efficient in enforcing the of Louisiana having necessarily passed on that limitation prescribed for the stock landing and question, it would not be open to review in this slaughtering business for the good of the city than court. the ordinary efforts of the officers of the law. Plaintiffs in error, accepting this issue, allege
Unless, therefore, it can be maintained that that the statute is a violation of the Constitution the exclusive privilege granted by this charter of the United States in these several particulars: to the corporation 18 beyond the power of the That it creates an involuntary servitude forlegislature of Louisiana, there can be no just! bidden by the thirteenth article of amendment.
That it abridges the privileges and immunities the rebellion, and whatever auxiliary causes may of citizens of the United States.
have contributed to bring about this war, unThat it denies to the plaintiffs the equal pro. doubtedly the overshadowing and efficient cause tection of the laws; and
was African slavery. That it deprives them of their property with- In that struggle slavery, as a legalized social out due process of law, contrary to the provisions relation, perished. It perished as a necessity of of the first section of the fourteenth article of the bitterness and force of the conflict. When amendment.
the armies of freedom found themselves upon the This court is thus called upon for the first time soil of slavery they could do nothing less than to give constructiop to these articles.
free the poor victims whose enforced servitude We do not conceal from ourselves the great was the foundation of the quarrel. And when responsibility which this duty devolves upon us. hard pressed in the contest these men (for they No questions so far reaching and pervading in proved themselves men in that terrible crisis) their consequences, 80 profoundly interesting to offered their services and were accepted by thouthe people of this country, and so important in sands to aid in suppressing the unlaw!ul rebel their bearing upon the relations of the United lion, slavery was at an end wherever the federal States, and of the several States to each other government succeeded in that purpose. The and to the citizens of the States and of the United proclamation of President Lincoln expressed an States, have been before this court during the accomplished fact as to a large portion of the inofficial life of any of its present members. We surrectionary districts, when he declared slavery have given every opportunity for a full hearing abolished in them all. But the war being over, at the bar; we have discussed it freely and com- those who had succeeded in re-establishing the pared views among ourselves; we have taken authority of the federal government were not ample time for careful deliberation; and we now content to permit this great act of emancipation propose to announce the judgments which we to rest on the actual results of the contest or the have formed in the construction of those articles, proclamation of the Executive, both of which so far as we have found them necessary to the might have been questioned in after times, and decision of the cases before us; and beyond that they determined to place this main and most we have neither the inclination nor the right valuable result in the Constitution of the restored to go.
Union as one of its fundamental articles. Hence Twelve articles of amendment were added to the thirteenth article of amendment of that inthe federal Constitution soon after the original strument. Its two short sections seem hardly to organization of the Government under it in 1789. admit of construction, so vigorous is their exOf these all but the last were adopted so soon pression and so appropriate to the purpose we afterwards as to justify the statement that they have indicated. were practically cotemporaneous with the adop- 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, tion of the original; and the twelfth, adopted in except as a punishment for crime, whereof the eighteen hundred and three, was so nearly so as party shall have been duly convicted, shall exto have become, like all the others, historical ist within the United States or any place subject and of another age. But within the last eight to their jurisdiction. gears three other articles of amendment of vast 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this importance have been added by the voice of the article by appropriate legislation. people to that now venerable instrument. 1 To withdraw the mind from the contemplation
The most cursory glance at these articles dis. of this grand yet simple declaration of the percloses a unity of purpose, when taken in connec-sonal freedom of all the human race within the tion with the history of the times, which cannot jurisdiction of this government-a declaration fail to have an important bearing on any question designed to establish the freedom of four millions of doubt concerning their true meaning. Nor of slaves—and with a microscopic search encan such doubts, when any reasonably exist, be deavor to find in it a reference to servitudes, safely and rationally solved without a reference which may have been attached to property in to that history; for in it is found the occasion certain localities, requires an effort, to say the and the necessity for recurring again to the great least of it. source of power in this country, the people of That a personal servitude was meant is proved the States, for additional guarantees of human by the use of the word "involuntary," which can rights; additional powers to the federal gov- only apply to human beings. The exception of ernment; additional restraints upon those of the servitude as a punishment for crime gives an States. Fortunately that history is fresh within idea of the class of servitude that is meant. The the memory of us all, and its leading features, as word servitude is of larger meaning than slavthey bear upon the matter before us, free from ery, as the latter is popularly understood in this doubt.
country, and the obvious purpose was to forbid The institution of African slavery, as it existed all shades and conditions of African slavery. It in about half the States of the Union, and the was very well understood that in the form of apcontests pervading the public mind for many prenticeship for long terms, as it had been pracyears, between those who desired its curtailmentticed in the West India Islands, on the abolition and ultimate extinction and those who desired of slavery by the English government, or by additional safeguards for its security and perpet-reducing the slaves to the condition of serfs atuation, culminated in the effort, on the part of tached to the plantation, the purpose of the artimost of the States in which slavery existed, to cle might have been evaded, if only the word separate from the federal government and to slavery had been used. The case of the apprenresist its authority. This constituted the war of|tice slave, held under a law of Maryland, liber
ated by Chief Justice Chase, on a writ of habeas white man alone. It was urged that a race of corpus under this article, illustrates this course men distinctively marked as was the negro, liv. of observation. (Matter of Turner, 1 Abbott, U. ing in the midst of another and dominant race, S. R., 84.) And it is all that we deem necessary could never be fully secured in their person and to say on the application of that article to the their property without the right of suffrage. statute of Louisiana, now under consideration. Hence the fifteenth amendment, which declares
The process of restoring to their proper rela- that “the right of a citizen of the United States tions with the federal government and with the to vote shall not be denied or abridged by any other States those wbich had sided with the re- State on account of race, color, or previous conbellion, undertaken under the proclamation of dition of servitude.” The negro having, by the President Johnson in 1865, and before the as- ! fourteenth amendment, been declared to be a sembling of Congress, developed the fact that, citizen of the United States, is thus made a voter notwithstanding the formal recognition by those in every State of the Union. States of the abolition of slavery, the condition We repeat, then, in the light of this recapituof the slave race would, without further protec- lation of events, almost too recent to be called tion of the federal government, be almost as history, but which are familiar to us all, and on bad as it was before. Among the first acts of the most casual examination of the language of legislation adopted by several of the States in these amendments no one can fail to be impressed the legislative bodies which claimed to be in with the one pervading purpose found in them their normal relations with the federal govern- all, lying at the foundation of each, and without ment, were laws which imposed upon the colored which none of them would have been even sugrace onerous disabilities and burdens, and cur- gested; we mean the freedom of the slave race, tailed their rights in the pursuit of life, liberty, the security and firm establishment of that freeand property to such an extent that their free- dom, and the protection of the newly-made freedom was of little value, while they had lost the man and citizen from the oppressions of those protection which they had received from their who had formerly exercised unlimited dominion former owners from motives both of interest and over him. It is true that only the fifteenth humanity:
amendment, in terms, mentions the negro by They were in some States forbidden to appear speaking of his color and his slavery. But it is in the towns in any other character than menial just as true that each of the other articles was servants. They were required to reside on and addressed to the grievances of that race, and decultivate the soil without the right to purchase signed to remedy them as the fifteenth. or own it. They were excluded from many oc- We do not say that no one else but the negro cupations of gain, and were not permitted to give can share in this protection. Both the language testimony in the courts in any case where a white and spirit of these articles are to have their fair man was a party. It was said that their lives and just weight in any question of construction. were at the mercy of bad men, either because the Undoubtedly while negro slavery alone was in laws for their protection were insufficient or were the mind of the Congress which proposed the not enforced.
thirteenth article, it forbids any other kind of These circumstances, whatever of falsehood or slavery, now or hereafter. If Mexican peonage misconception may have been mingled with their or the Chinese cooly labor system shall develop presentation, forced upon the statesmen who slavery of the Mexican or Chinese race within bad conducted the federal government in safety our territory, this amendment may safely be through the crisis of the rebellion, and who sup- trusted to make it void. And so if other rights posed that by the thirteenth article of amendment are assailed by the States which properly and they had secured the result of their labors, the necessarily fall within the protection of these conviction that something more was necessary in articles, that protection will apply, though the the way of constitutional protection to the unfor- party interested may not be of African descent. tunate race who had suffered so much. They ac- But what we do say, and what we wish to be cordingly passed through Congress the proposition understood is, that in any fair and just construcfor the fourteenth amendment, and they declined tion of any section or phrase of these amendto treat as restored to their full participation in ments, it is necessary to look to the purpose which the government of the Union the States which we have said was the pervading spirit of them had been in insurrection until they ratified that all, the evil which they were designed to remedy, article by a formal vote of their legislative bodies. and the process of continued addition to the Con
Before we proceed to examine more critically stitution, until that purpose was supposed to be the provisions of this amendment, on which the accomplished, as far as constitutional law can plaintiffs in error rely, let us complete and dis- accomplish it. miss the history of the recent amendments, as The first section of the fourteenth article, to that history relates to the general purpose which which our attention is more specially invited, pervades them all. A few years' experience satis- opens with a definition of citizenship-not only fied the thoughtful men who had been the authors citizenship of the United States, but citizenship of the other two amendments that, notwithstand of the States. No such definition was previously ing the restraints of those articles on the States, found in the Constitution, nor had any attempt and the laws passed under the additional powers been made to define it by act of Congress. It had granted to Congress, these were inadequate for been the occasion of much discussion in the courts, the protection of life, liberty, and property, with | by the executive departments, and in the public ont which freedom to the slave was no boon. I journals. It had been said by eminent judges Thus were in all those States denied the right that no man was a citizen of the United States, of sustrage. The laws were adininistered by the except as he was a citizen of one of the States