Baldwin v. Fish & Game Comm'n

436 U.S. 371, 98 S. Ct. 1852 (1978)

 

RULE:

Only with respect to those "privileges" and "immunities" bearing upon the vitality of the nation as a single entity must the state treat all citizens, resident and nonresident, equally.

FACTS:

The resident and the nonresidents paid different fees for licenses. As a result, a suit was instituted alleging an unconstitutional disparity between residents and nonresidents in the state license system under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Const., art. IV, § 2, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

ISSUE:

Do higher out-of-state resident license fees for Montana licenses violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution?

ANSWER:

No

CONCLUSION:

The court concluded that the nonresidents' interest in sharing the limited resource on more equal terms with residents simply did not fall within the purview of the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Equality in access to state elk was not basic to the maintenance or well-being of the union, and whatever rights or activities were fundamental under the Privileges and Immunities Clause, elk hunting by nonresidents was not one of them. The legislative choice was an economic means not unreasonably related to the preservation of a finite resource and a substantial regulatory interest of the state. It served to limit the number of hunter days.

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