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WILLIAMS V. STANDARD OIL CO., 278 U. S. 235 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Williams v. Standard Oil Co., 278 U.S. 235 (1929)

Williams v. Standard Oil Company

Nos. 64 and 65

Argued November 23, 1928

Decided January 2, 1929

278 U.S. 235


1. The business of dealing in gasoline, whatever its extent, is not a business "affected with a public interest," and state legislation undertaking to fix the prices at which gasoline may be sold violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 278 U. S. 239.

2. A state may not impose as a condition on the doing of local business by a foreign corporation that it relinquish rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. P. 278 U. S. 241.

3. A declaration in a statute that, if any of its provisions be held invalid, the validity of the others shall not be thereby affected creates a presumption of separability in place of the general rule to the contrary -- a presumption overcome, however, when inseparability is evident or where there is a clear probability that, the invalid part being eliminated, the legislature would not have been satisfied with what remains. P. 278 U. S. 241.

4. In c. 22 of Public Acts of Tennessee, 1927, the provision for fixing the prices of gasoline, which is unconstitutional, is inseparable from the other provisions relating to the creation of a Division of Motors and Motor Fuels, the collection of information, issuance of permits, and taxation to defray the expenses of the Division. P. 278 U. S. 242.

5. The provision of the Act forbidding any dealer to grant any rebate, concession, or gratuity to any purchaser for the purpose of inducing him to purchase, use, or handle the dealer's gasoline, and the provision forbidding discrimination by selling at different prices to purchasers in the same or in different localities, are likewise mere appendants to the main purpose of price regulation, or, if separable, they are unconstitutional restrictions on the right of the dealer to fix his own prices. Fairmont Co. v. Minnesota, 274 U. S. 1. P. 278 U. S. 244. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 278 U. S. 236

6. In construing an act for the purpose of determining the separability of its provisions, it is to be presumed that the legislature meant to obey a direction in the state constitution that each bill be confined to one subject, to be expressed in the title. P. 278 U. S. 244.

24. F.2d 455 affirmed.

Appeals from decrees of the district court (three judges sitting) which granted interlocutory injunctions in suits brought by the two oil companies against officials of Tennessee to restrain enforcement of an act to regulate the price of gasoline. See Standard Oil Co. v. Hall, 24 F.2d 455. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 278 U. S. 238

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