Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nebbia v. New York case brief

Nebbia v. New York case brief summary
291 U.S. 502 (1934)

Defendant was convicted of selling milk at a price below that allowed by an order promulgated by a state board pursuant to statutory authority. The County Court of Monroe County, New York affirmed the judgment on remittitur from the appellate court. Defendant petitioned for writ of certiorari.

The New York Legislature passed a Milk Control Law that established a Milk Control Board with the power to fix minimum and maximum retail prices charged by stores to consumers for milk. Defendant was a storekeeper who was found to have sold milk for less than the price fixed by the Board's order. Defendant asserted that the statute and order violated the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


  • The Court held that the contention that discrimination deprived defendant of equal protection was not well founded because there was no showing that the order placed him at a disadvantage or affected him adversely. 
  • As the dairy industry was one subject to regulation in the public interest, there was no constitutional principle barring the state from correcting existing deficiencies by legislation fixing prices. 
  • In light of the fact that the board's order was not unreasonable or arbitrary and that constitutional due process protections did not prohibit the state from fixing the selling price of milk, defendant's conviction was appropriate.
The Court affirmed the conviction.

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