Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105 (1928)

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Author: Justice Holmes

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Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105 (1928)

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES.

A standing criticism of the use of corporations in business is that it causes such business to be owned by people who do not know anything about it. Argument has not been supposed to be necessary in order to show that the divorce between the power of control and knowledge is an evil. The selling of drugs and poisons calls for knowledge in a high degree, and Pennsylvania, after enacting a series of other safeguards, has provided that, in that matter, the divorce shall not be allowed. Of course, notwithstanding the requirement that, in corporations hereafter formed, all the stockholders shall be licensed pharmacists, it still would be possible for a stockholder to content himself with drawing dividends and to taken no hand in the company’s affairs. But obviously he would be more likely to observe the business with an intelligent eye than a casual investor who looked only to the standing of the stock in the market. The Constitution does not make it a condition of preventive legislation that it should work a perfect cure. It is enough if the questioned act has a manifest tendency to cure, or act least to make the evil less. It has been recognized by the professions, by statutes, and by decisions, that a corporation offering professional services is not placed beyond legislative control by the fact that all the services in question are rendered by qualified members of the profession. See People v. Title Guarantee & Trust Co., 227 N.Y. 366; Tucker v. New York State Board of Pharmacy, 217 N.Y.S. 217, 220; Matter of Cooperative Law Co., 198 N.Y. 479; People v. Merchants’ Protective Corporation, 189 Cal. 531; New Jersey Photo Engraving Co. v. Carl Schonert & Sons, 95 N.J.Eq. 12; Hodgen v. Commonwealth, 142 Ky. 722.

But for decisions to which I bow, I should not think any conciliatory phrase necessary to justify what seems to me one of the incidents of legislative power. I think however that the police power, as that term has been defined and explained, clearly extends to a law like this, whatever I may think of its wisdom, and that the decree should be affirmed.

Of course, the appellant cannot complain of the exception in its favor that allows it to continue to own and conduct the drugstores that it now owns. The Fourteenth Amendment does not forbid statutes and statutory changes to have a beginning, and thus to discriminate between the rights of an earlier and those of a later time. Sperry & Hutchinson Co. v. Rhodes, 220 U.S. 502, 505.

MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS joins in this opinion.

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Chicago: Holmes, "Holmes, J., Dissenting," Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105 (1928) in 278 U.S. 105 278 U.S. 115. Original Sources, accessed September 21, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4I1HLQ2WBWNIY.

MLA: Holmes. "Holmes, J., Dissenting." Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105 (1928), in 278 U.S. 105, page 278 U.S. 115. Original Sources. 21 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4I1HLQ2WBWNIY.

Harvard: Holmes, 'Holmes, J., Dissenting' in Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Baldridge, 278 U.S. 105 (1928). cited in 1928, 278 U.S. 105, pp.278 U.S. 115. Original Sources, retrieved 21 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4I1HLQ2WBWNIY.