Monopolies and Unfair Trade Practices.

On the principle that the law may hit the evil where it is most felt, state antitrust laws applicable to corporations but not to individuals,1627 or to vendors of commodities but not to vendors of labor,1628 have been upheld. Contrary to its earlier view, the Court now holds that an antitrust act that exempts agricultural products in the hands of the producer is valid.1629 Diversity with respect to penalties also has been sustained. Corporations violating the law may be proceeded against by bill in equity, while individuals are indicted and tried.1630 A provision, superimposed upon the general antitrust law, for revocation of the licenses of fire insurance companies that enter into illegal combinations, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.1631 A grant of monopoly privileges, if otherwise an appropriate exercise of the police power, is immune to attack under that clause.1632 Likewise, enforcement of an unfair sales act, under which merchants are privileged to give trading stamps, worth two and one-half percent of the price, with goods sold at or near statutory cost, while a competing merchant, not issuing stamps, is precluded from making an equivalent price reduction, effects no discrimination. There is a reasonable basis for concluding that destructive, deceptive competition results from selective loss-leader selling whereas such abuses do not attend issuance of trading stamps “across the board,” as a discount for payment in cash.1633

Footnotes

1627
Mallinckrodt Works v. St. Louis, 238 U.S. 41 (1915). [Back to text]
1628
International Harvester Co. v. Missouri, 234 U.S. 199 (1914). [Back to text]
1629
Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141 (1940) (overruling Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U.S. 540 (1902)). [Back to text]
1630
Standard Oil Co. v. Tennessee, 217 U.S. 413 (1910). [Back to text]
1631
Carroll v. Greenwich Ins. Co., 199 U.S. 401 (1905). [Back to text]
1632
Pacific States Co. v. White, 296 U.S. 176 (1935); see also Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873): Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502, 529 (1934). [Back to text]
1633
Safeway Stores v. Oklahoma Grocers, 360 U.S. 334, 339–41 (1959). [Back to text]