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Supreme Court of the United States
May 2, 3, 1935 ; May 27, 1935
[*519] [**838] [***1575] MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioners in No. 854 were convicted in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of New York on eighteen counts of an indictment charging violations of what is known as the "Live Poultry Code," 3 and on an additional count for conspiracy to commit such violations. 4 By demurrer to the indictment and appropriate motions on the trial, the defendants contended (1) that the Code had been adopted pursuant to an unconstitutional delegation by Congress of legislative power; (2) that it attempted to regulate intrastate transactions which lay outside the authority of Congress; and (3) that in certain provisions it was repugnant to the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
[****45] [*520] The Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the conviction on the conspiracy count and on sixteen counts for violation of the Code, but reversed the conviction on two counts which charged violation of requirements as to minimum wages and maximum hours of labor, [**839] as these were not deemed to be within the congressional power of regulation. On the respective applications of the defendants (No. 854) and of the Government (No. 864) this Court granted writs of certiorari, April 15, 1935.
New York City is the largest live-poultry market in the United States. Ninety-six per cent. of the live poultry there marketed comes from other States. Three-fourths of this amount arrives by rail and is consigned to commission men or receivers. Most of these freight shipments (about 75 per cent.) come in at the Manhattan Terminal of the New York Central Railroad, and the remainder at one of the four terminals in New Jersey serving New York City. The commission men transact by far the greater part of the business on a commission basis, representing the shippers as agents, and remitting to them the proceeds of sale, less commissions, freight and handling charges. Otherwise, they [****46] buy for their own account. They sell to slaughterhouse operators who are also called market-men.
The defendants are slaughterhouse operators of the latter class. A. L. A. Schechter Poultry Corporation and Schechter Live Poultry Market are corporations conducting wholesale poultry slaughterhouse markets in Brook-lyn, New York City. Joseph Schechter operated the latter corporation and also guaranteed the credits of the former corporation which was operated by Martin, Alex and Aaron Schechter. Defendants ordinarily purchase their live poultry from commission men at the West Washington Market in New York City or at the railroad terminals serving the City, but occasionally they purchase from commission men in Philadelphia. They buy the [*521] poultry for slaughter and resale. After the poultry is trucked to their slaughterhouse markets in Brooklyn, it is there sold, usually within twenty-four hours, to retail poultry dealers and butchers who sell directly to consumers. The poultry purchased from defendants is immediately slaughtered, prior to delivery, by shochtim in defendants' employ. Defendants do not sell poultry in interstate commerce.
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295 U.S. 495 *; 55 S. Ct. 837 **; 79 L. Ed. 1570 ***; 1935 U.S. LEXIS 1088 ****; 1935 Trade Cas. (CCH) P55,072; 2 Ohio Op. 493; 97 A.L.R. 947
A. L. A. SCHECHTER POULTRY CORP. ET AL. v. UNITED STATES 1
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
provisions, interstate commerce, poultry, codes, Industrial, intrastate, transactions, fair competition, wages, interstate, Recovery Act, conditions, delegation, prescribe, regulation, commerce, slaughterhouse, unfair, sales, practices, counts, transportation, conspiracy, effectuate, employees, slaughter, prices, associations, violations, foreign commerce
Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Practices, Trade Practices & Unfair Competition, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Congressional Duties & Powers, Commerce Clause, Reserved Powers, Necessary & Proper Clause, Governments, Federal Government, US Congress, Separation of Powers, Legislation, Enactment, Interstate Commerce, Stimulation of Commerce, Transportation Law, Intrastate Commerce, Business & Corporate Compliance, Transportation Law, State Powers, Federal Powers