Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. v. Cottrell

PETITIONER: Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Cottrell
LOCATION: Metropolitan Police Department

DOCKET NO.: 74-1148
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 424 US 366 (1976)
ARGUED: Dec 01, 1975
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1976

ADVOCATES:
Heber A. Ladner, Jr. - for appellee
Walter W. Christy - for appellant

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. v. Cottrell

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 01, 1975 in Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. v. Cottrell

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 25, 1976 in Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. v. Cottrell

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The second case, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. versus Cottrell, Health Officer of Mississippi is here from a three-judge District Court with the Southern District of Mississippi.

A Mississippi regulation provides that milk and milk products from another state maybe sold in Mississippi only if the other state accepts the milk or milk products produced and processed in Mississippi on a reciprocal basis.

And appellant A&P's application for a permit to distribute for sale at it's retail outlets in Mississippi, milk and milk products from it's Louisiana processing plant was denied by Mississippi, solely on the ground that Louisiana had not signed a reciprocity agreement with Mississippi as required by the regulation.

A&P then brought suit claiming that the regulation violated the Commerce Clause, but the three-judge district court upheld the regulation as a valid exercise of state police powers, even though incidentally burdening Interstate Commerce.

We reverse.

We hold that the mandatory character or the regulations reciprocity requirement unduly burdens the free flow of Interstate Commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause and cannot be justified as a permissible exercise of the state power.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Brennan.