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175 U.S. 211


No. 51. Argued Argued April 26, 27, 1899 -- Decided December 4, 1899

Under the grant of power to Congress, contained in Section 8 of article I of the Constitution, "to regulate commerce with Foreign Nations and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes," that body may enact such legislation as shall declare void and prohibit the performance of any contract between individuals or corporations where the natural and direct effect of such a contract shall be, when carried out, to directly and not as a mere incident to other and innocent purposes, regulate to any extent interstate or foreign commerce.

 The provision in the Constitution regarding the liberty of the citizen is to some extent limited by this commerce clause; and the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce comprises the right to enact a law prohibiting the citizen from entering into those private contracts which directly and substantially, and not merely indirectly, remotely, incidentally and collaterally, regulate, to a greater or less degree, commerce among the States.

 Interstate commerce consists of intercourse and traffic between the citizens or inhabitants of different States, and includes not only the transportation of persons and property and the navigation of public waters for that purpose, but also the purchase, sale and exchange of commodities.

 The power to regulate interstate commerce, and to prescribe the rules by which it shall be governed, is vested in Congress, and when that body has enacted a statute such as the act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, entitled "an act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies." any agreement or combination which directly operates, not alone upon the manufacture, but upon the sale, transportation and delivery of an article of interstate commerce, by preventing or restricting its sale, thereby regulates interstate commerce to that extent, and thus trenches upon the power of the national legislature, and violates the statute.

 The contracts considered in this case, set forth in the statement of facts and in the opinion of the court, relate to the sale and transportation to other States of specific articles, not incidentally or collaterally, but as a direct and immediate result of the combination entered into by the defendants; and they restrain the manufacturing, purchase, sale or exchange of the manufactured articles among the several States, and enhance their value, and thus come within the provisions of the "act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies."

 When the direct, immediate and intended effect of a contract or combination among dealers in a commodity is the enhancement of its price, it amounts to a restraint of trade in the commodity, even though contracts to buy it at the enhanced price are being made.

 The judgment of the court below, which perpetually enjoined the defendants in the court below from maintaining the combination in cast-iron pipe as described in the petition, and from doing any business under such combination, is too broad, as it applies equally to commerce which is wholly within a State as well as to that which is interstate or international only.

 Although the jurisdiction of Congress over commerce among the States is full and complete, it is not questioned that it has none over that which is wholly within a State, and therefore none over combinations or agreements so far as they relate to a restraint of such trade or commerce: nor does it acquire any jurisdiction over that part of a combination or agreement which relates to commerce wholly within a State, by reason of the the fact that the combination also covers and regulates commerce which is interstate.

 Mr. Justice Peckham, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

 As thus modified, the decree is Affirmed. 

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