California v. Washington

PETITIONER: California
RESPONDENT: Washington
LOCATION: S.S. Guadalupe

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 358 US 64 (1958)
ARGUED: Oct 15, 1958 / Oct 16, 1958
DECIDED: Nov 10, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for California v. Washington

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 1958 in California v. Washington

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 16, 1958 in California v. Washington

Earl Warren:

Number 12, Original, State of California, Plaintiff, versus the State of Washington.

Mr. Howland, had you completed your opening argument?

If not, you may proceed.

No, Your Honor, I have not.

May it please the Court.

Last evening at the recess, I have just completed my demonstration of the manner in which Washington, the State of Washington in a discriminatory manner that does everything possible to destroy the economic incentive of the 4800 retail licensees in that State who are authorized to sell at California as well as the wines of other origins.

I turn now to the matter on which directly affects the interest of the State of California and the cause of action which the State of California has in its own right.

And this has to do with the discriminations practiced by the State of Washington in connection with sales promotion work, having to do, of course, with the sale of wine.

Now, if I may, I would like to define what I mean by sales promotion.

I am not talking about advertising.

By advertising, I mean the use of newspapers and other printed media, television, radio for advertising purposes.

By sales promotion, I mean essentially, personal contact work with prospective buyers.

I mean the dissemination of product information in such form that it can be used in retail stores.

This product information is sometimes known in this trade as point of sale material, graphic sales aids, posters, displays, bottle holders, racks for the display of merchandise.

It also -- wine being of the nature that it is, it also includes such things as wine selection charts, showing the proper use or the preferred use of various types of wine.

And it also because wine is -- is used to a large extent in cooking, it also includes recipe books and that sort of thing.

Now, so far as Washington wine is concerned, the State of Washington places no limitation on sales promotion activity on behalf of the sale of Washington wine.

But with respect to California wine, again, Washington law is completely merciless in the flatness of its prohibition against sales promotion work on behalf of California wine.

And again, because this discrimination is so apparent on the face of the statutes of the State and the regulations of the State Liquor Board, I should like to read a brief excerpt.

Felix Frankfurter:

Is there any conflict between you and the Attorney General of Washington that Washington in fact purposed discrimination against California wine?

Is that contested in this case? Or is the question merely whether Washington can promote its own wine industry?

Well, the issue -- the -- our contention, sir, is that the State of Washington may not discriminate --

Felix Frankfurter:

I understand that but --


Felix Frankfurter:

-- is it -- have we started at the fact that Washington is seeking to exclude at least to the extent that it is California wines?

Well, for purposes of this argument, the -- my friend, the Attorney General conceives that purposes of this argument, the allegations of the complaint must be taken to be true.

Felix Frankfurter:

I just wondered therefore whether it's necessary --


Felix Frankfurter:

-- to prove it.

I don't think, Your Honor, that there is any substantial dispute concerning factual issues in this case.