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TAKAHASHI V. FISH & GAME COMM'N, 334 U. S. 410 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Takahashi v. Fish & Game Comm'n, 334 U.S. 410 (1948)

Takahashi v. Fish and Game Commission

No. 533

Argued April 21-22, 1948

Decided June 7, 1948

334 U.S. 410


1. A California statute barring issuance of commercial fishing licenses to persons "ineligible to citizenship," which classification included resident alien Japanese and precluded such a one from earning his living as a commercial fisherman in the ocean waters off the coast of the State, held invalid under the Federal Constitution and laws. Pp. 334 U. S. 412-422.

2. For purposes of decision by this Court, it may be assumed that the object of the statute was to conserve fish in the coastal waters of the State, or to protect citizens of the State engaged in commercial fishing from the competition of Japanese aliens, or both. P. 334 U. S. 418.

3. That the United States regulates immigration and naturalization in part on the basis of race and color classifications does not authorize adoption by a State of such classifications to prevent lawfully admitted aliens within its borders from earning a livelihood by means open to all other inhabitants. Pp. 334 U. S. 418-420. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 334 U. S. 411

4. The Fourteenth Amendment and federal laws, 8 U.S.C. § 41, embody a general policy that all persons lawfully in this country shall abide "in any state" on an equality of legal privileges with all citizens under nondiscriminatory laws. Pp. 334 U. S. 419-420.

5. Whatever may be the interest of the State or its citizens in the fish in the 3-mile belt offshore, that interest does not justify the State in excluding any or all aliens who are lawful residents of the State from making a living by fishing in the ocean off its shores, while permitting all other persons to do so. Pp. 334 U. S. 420-421.

6. Assuming their continued validity, cases sustaining state laws barring land ownership by aliens ineligible to citizenship, which rested on grounds peculiar to real property, cannot be extended to control the decision in this case. P. 334 U. S. 422.

30 Cal. 2d 719,185 P. 2d 805, reversed.

Petitioner brought an action in a state court for mandamus to compel issuance to him of a commercial fishing license. A judgment granting the writ was reversed by the State Supreme Court, 30 Cal.2d 719, 185 P.2d 805. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 853. Reversed, p. 334 U. S. 422. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 334 U. S. 412

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