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Supreme Court of the United States
January 13, 1970, Argued ; March 2, 1970, Decided
[****3] [*138] [***176] [**845] MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellee is a company engaged in extensive commercial farming operations in Arizona and California. The appellant is the official charged with enforcing the Arizona Fruit and Vegetable Standardization Act. 1 A provision of the Act requires that, with certain exceptions, all cantaloupes grown in Arizona and offered for sale must "be packed in regular compact arrangement in closed standard containers approved by the supervisor . . . ." 2 Invoking his authority under that provision, the appellant issued an order prohibiting the appellee company from transporting uncrated cantaloupes from its Parker, Arizona, ranch to nearby Blythe, California, for packing and processing. The company then brought this action in a federal court to enjoin the order as unconstitutional. A three-judge court was convened. 28 U. S. C. §§ 2281, 2284. After first granting temporary relief, the court issued a permanent injunction upon the ground that the challenged order constituted an unlawful burden upon interstate commerce. This appeal followed. 28 U. S. C. § 1253. [****4] 396 U.S. 812.
[*139] The facts are not in dispute, having been stipulated by the parties. The appellee company has for many years been engaged in the business of growing, harvesting, processing, and [**846] packing fruits and vegetables at numerous locations in Arizona and California for interstate shipment to markets throughout the Nation. One of the company's newest operations is at Parker, Arizona, where, pursuant to a 1964 lease with the Secretary of the Interior, the [***177] Colorado River Indian Agency, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes, it undertook to develop approximately 6,400 acres of uncultivated, arid land for agricultural use. The company has spent more than $ 3,000,000 in clearing, leveling, irrigating, and otherwise developing this land. The company began growing cantaloupes [****5] on part of the land in 1966, and has harvested a large cantaloupe crop there in each subsequent year. The cantaloupes are considered to be of higher quality than those grown in other areas of the State. Because they are highly perishable, cantaloupes must upon maturity be immediately harvested, processed, packed, and shipped in order to prevent spoilage. The processing and packing operations can be performed only in packing sheds. Because the company had no such facilities at Parker, it transported its 1966 Parker cantaloupe harvest in bulk loads to Blythe, California, 31 miles away, where it operated centralized and efficient packing shed facilities. There the melons were sorted, inspected, packed, and shipped. In 1967 the company again sent its Parker cantaloupe crop to Blythe for sorting, packing, and shipping. In 1968, however, the appellant entered the order here in issue, prohibiting the company from shipping its cantaloupes out of the State unless they were packed in containers in a manner and of a kind approved by the appellant. Because cantaloupes in the quantity involved can be so packed only [*140] in packing sheds, and because no such facilities were available [****6] to the company at Parker or anywhere else nearby in Arizona, the company faced imminent loss of its anticipated 1968 cantaloupe crop in the gross amount of $ 700,000. It was to prevent this unrecoverable loss that the District Court granted preliminary relief. 3
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397 U.S. 137 *; 90 S. Ct. 844 **; 25 L. Ed. 2d 174 ***; 1970 U.S. LEXIS 63 ****
PIKE v. BRUCE CHURCH, INC.
Prior History: [****1] APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA.
packing, cantaloupes, interstate commerce, shipped, interstate, packaged, growers, taxes, processing, reputation, facilities, forbids, harvest, Fruit, grown
Constitutional Law, Congressional Duties & Powers, Commerce Clause, General Overview, Transportation Law, Interstate Commerce, Balancing Tests