Chief Justice MELVILLE W. FULLER, speaking for a six-member majority, ruled that because Congress possesses an EXCLUSIVE POWER under the COMMERCE CLAUSE to regulate interstate transportation, no state may enact a liquor PROHIBITION statute that bars the sale in that state of liquors imported from other states and sold in their original packages. That Congress had not exercised its commerce power was equivalent to a declaration that commerce shall be free. Any DOCTRINE to the contrary, deriving from the LICENSE CASES (1847), said Fuller, was "overthrown." Congress might, however, specifically authorize a state to ban interstate liquors; the Court sustained such an act of Congress in In re Rahrer (1891).
LEONARD W. LEVY