Stafford v. Wallace

Facts of the Case

Appellant stockyards brought an action against appellees, Secretary of Agriculture and United States District Attorney, seeking to enjoin enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (act), 42 Stat. 159 (1921). The stockyards sought further review after the district court refused to grant interlocutory injunctions against appellees.


Did Congress have authority under the Commerce Clause to pass and enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921?


In a 7-to-1 decision, the Court held that the activities controlled by the Act did indeed burden the freedom of commerce and fell within the regulatory jurisdiction of Congress. The Court argued that Congress did not have to wait until after deleterious economic monopolies had developed to regulate particular industries. Drawing on its decision in Swift v. United States, the Court found that business done in the stockyards was an essential part of interstate commerce and thus subject to national legislation.

Case Information

  • Citation: 258 US 495 (1922)
  • Argued: Mar 20 – 21, 1922
  • Decided May 1, 1922