Campbell v. Hussey

PETITIONER: Phil Campbell, Commissioner of Agriculture of Georgia and Georgia Farm Bureau Federation Inc.
RESPONDENT: William Hussey, Jr., et al.
LOCATION: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 368 US 297 (1961)
ARGUED: Nov 14, 1961 / Nov 15, 1961
DECIDED: Dec 18, 1961

Denmark Groover, Jr. - for the appellants
G. Hughel Harrison - for the appellants
Homer S. Durden, Jr. - for the appellees
Sherman L. Cohn - for the United States as amicus curiae, urging affirmance

Facts of the case

The Federal Tobacco Inspection Act provides uniform standards for classification and inspection of tobacco. The regulations under the Act require sellers to identify type 14 tobacco with a blue tag. The Georgia Tobacco Identification Act requires sellers to mark the same type of tobacco with a white tag. Several owners and operators of tobacco warehouses in Georgia sued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to enjoin enforcement of the Georgia law. The three judge court granted the injunction. The U.S. Supreme Court heard this case on direct appeal.


Is the identification provision in the Georgia Tobacco Identification Act precluded by the Federal Tobacco Inspection Act?

Media for Campbell v. Hussey

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 15, 1961 in Campbell v. Hussey

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 14, 1961 in Campbell v. Hussey

Earl Warren:

Number 42, Phil Campbell, Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Georgia, et al., Appellant versus William Hussey, Jr. et al.

Mr. Harrison.

Mr. Harrison, you may continue.

G. Hughel Harrison:

Your Honor, may it please the Court.

The issue involved in this case is whether or not the State of Georgia is authorized to require the identification of flue-cured tobacco at the time that it has offered for sale in the Tobacco warehouses.

Your Honor, there are two statutes involved.

One is the Federal Tobacco Inspection Act and the other is a 1960 Act of the Georgia general assembly.

We have conceded and admit that in the event that the Federal Act has preempted the fees, then the Georgia Act cannot stand.

We submit that the controlling issue in this case is whether or not the Congress by the Federal Tobacco Inspection Act and the regulations issued thereon which relate to the establishment and promotion of the use of standards of tobacco and how they may be determined as precluded to State of Georgia from protecting a product of that State, and revealing and requiring the revealing of the truth of the product at the time it is offered for sale.

The purpose of the Georgia Act is stated and at least four times in the Act.

And that is, that it is to provide a positive means of identification.

It sets forth right in the title of the Act in Section 1 in defining its -- the purpose, is found in Section 13 (a) and in Section 13 (e) of the Georgia Act.

Much has been said and will be argued before this Court as to the means and mechanics utilized by this Act in carrying out this stated purpose.

Insofar as those means relate to geographic areas production and the identification that is employed, it is submitted that these factors and mechanical mean are subservient to the basic issue and as to whether or not the State of Georgia is authorized to require or provide identification.

In that, once it is determined, that this authority exists then the means and methods employed and the results thereof are placed in their proper perspective.

Again, we submit, that the basic issue is the authority of the State of Georgia to require the identification.

The Federal Tobacco Inspection Act was enacted by the Congress in 1935.

In Currin versus Wallace, there was an attack upon the constitutionality of this Act.

By leave of the Court, I would like to read an excerpt from that case and that it refers to a previous case wherein this Act was under construction, again from the State of Georgia, wherein the warehousemen had complained of the Georgia statute fixing the maximum fees that the warehousemen could charge for their services in selling the tobacco.

And I quote, in Townsend versus Yeomans --

Earl Warren:

What are you reading -- what are you reading from Mr. Harrison?

G. Hughel Harrison:

In Currin versus Wallace, sir.

Earl Warren:

I beg your pardon.

G. Hughel Harrison:

I have an excerpt from Currin versus --

Earl Warren:

What years -- from what Court?

G. Hughel Harrison:

From this Court, U.S. Supreme Court, citation 306 U.S.1.

In Townsend versus Yeomans, 301 U.S. 441, we recently had under consideration the legislation of Georgia prescribing maximum charges for the services of Tobacco Warehousemen who conducted their business in a manner similar to that prevailing in North Carolina.

There, the warehousemen strongly insisted that they were engaged in interstate and foreign commerce as a tobacco sold on their floors was destined for interstate or foreign shipment, and hence that the State was without power to fix their fees.

They invoked the Federal Act in support of their contention, but we found nothing in the Federal Act which undertook to regulate the charges of warehousemen and hence we concluded that Congress had restricted its requirements and left the State free to deal with the matters not covered by the federal legislation and not inconsistent therewith.

The authority of Congress to enact the Tobacco Inspection Act was not questioned.