Leslie Miller, Inc., v. Arkansas

PETITIONER: Leslie Miller, Inc.,
LOCATION: Lion Oil Company Headquarters

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1956-1957)

CITATION: 352 US 187 (1956)
ARGUED: Dec 05, 1956 / Dec 06, 1956
DECIDED: Dec 17, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for Leslie Miller, Inc., v. Arkansas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1956 in Leslie Miller, Inc., v. Arkansas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 06, 1956 in Leslie Miller, Inc., v. Arkansas

Earl Warren:

Leslie Miller, Incorporated, Appellant, versus State of Arkansas.

Mr. Smith.

William J. Smith:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

In considering the application of Hill against Florida to the present case, it should be noted that the issue there was one of the supremacy of federal law under the Commerce Clause with a conflicting state law rather than strictly one of sovereign immunity.

Here, we have the same issue of the supremacy of federal law over state law but it is reenforced in this case by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

I think what I say can be made clear by referring to two other cases.

I think the closest case to our present one on its facts is Johnson against Maryland in 254 United States 51.

There, the specific question was whether or not the Post Office Department was limited in hiring drivers to deliver mail in Maryland to individuals who had been licensed by the State of Maryland to drive motor vehicles in that State.

And Mr. Justice Holmes speaking for the Court found that the Post Office Department should not be limited in its choice of drivers of its mail trucks to those who had been licensed by the State of Maryland.

Now on the other hand the -- the case which really gives us the -- the greatest difficulty is the Penn Dairies case.

There, the question was the application of the Pennsylvania law which imposed a minimum price on the sale of milk in Pennsylvania, the application of this law, the transactions between a Pennsylvania dairy and the United States which was buying milk for use in -- in army camp.

The Court held that the minimum price requirement of the State of Pennsylvania was applicable.

It did so by treating this case in the same light as it would have treated a case of a non-discriminatory tax which is imposed upon an agency of the United States and where there is quite a line of cases now holding that as long as the -- as the tax is non-discriminatory, it may be imposed even though there is an additional economic burden on the United States by reason of the tax.

Reasoning from this basis the Court said, that this did not interfere in effect, it didn't really interfere with the United States procurement of milk.

It added an economic burden to it.

It made -- it may have caused the United States more to buy its milk but it didn't really interfere, it wasn't inconsistent with it.

And that the additional economic burden was well merely one of those burdens which is the price of paying that we have to pay by having a dual sovereignty.

The same thing drew up with James against Dravo Contracting.

William J. Smith:

That's right.

That was one of the tax cases itself.

That was a tax case.


William J. Smith:

Now, in this -- in the Penn Dairies case, there is -- there is another distinction between this and the Penn Dairies case.

In that case, it was specifically recognized that if Congress had desired to remove this activity from the field of state regulation, Congress would have had the power to have said so and that if it had its law would have been supreme that it would have removed it from -- from the state law.

Now, that's important in this case because it comes down to the second leg of our argument namely, that here, Congress, through the Armed Services Procurement Act and the regulations which have been adopted pursuant to it, Congress has legislated with respect to this type of procurement in a way which excludes the State from regulating it at the same time.

I -- I don't mean by this that Congress has said, "The State shall not regulate procurement."

I don't think that Penn Dairies means that there should be a -- a necessarily an outright statement to that but what -- what appears here is that the legislation which has been enacted by Congress is so inclusive, so pervasive that it would be inconsistent to believe that Congress could believe that the States could regulate it at the same time.

The Armed Services Procurement Act or pertinent portions of it are set forth in -- in our brief beginning in -- in the appendix, beginning at page 46.

And that with respect to this type of -- with respect to this type of contract, which is a contract which is placed by advertising, it is provided and I'm reading from page 49 of our brief, Section 3 (b), "All bids shall be publicly opened at the time and place stated in the advertisement.

Awards shall be made with reasonable promptness by written notice to that responsible bidder whose bid conforming to the invitations of bids shall be found most advantageous to the Government, price and other factors considered.”