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U.S. Supreme Court

International Textbook Co. v. Pigg, 217 U.S. 91 (1910)

International Textbook Company v. Pigg

No. 15

Argued April l, 1909

Decided April 4, 1910

217 U.S. 91


The reasonable construction of a state statute relating to foreign corporations doing business within the state does not include the doing of a single act or the making of a single contract, but does include a continuous series of acts by an agent continuously within the state. Cooper Manufacturing Company v. Ferguson, 113 U. S. 727.

A foreign corporation engaged in teaching by correspondence and which continuously has an agent in a state securing scholars and receiving and forwarding the money obtained from them is doing business in the state, and such a corporation does business in Kansas within the meaning of § 1283 of the general statutes of that 1901.

Commerce is more than traffic; it is intercourse, and the transmission of intelligence among the states cannot be obstructed or unnecessarily encumbered by state legislation. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1; Pensacola Telegraph Co. v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 96 U. S. 1.

Intercourse or communication between persons in different states through the mails and otherwise, and relating to matters of regular continuous business, such as teaching by correspondence, and the making of contracts relating to the transportation thereof, is commerce among the states within the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.

A state statute which makes it a condition precedent to a foreign corporation's engaging in a legitimate branch of interstate commerce to obtain what practically amounts to a license to transact such business is a burden and restriction upon interstate commerce and as such is unconstitutional under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution, and so held as to the requirements of § 1283, General Laws of Kansas of 1901, when applied to a foreign corporation carrying on the business of teaching persons in that state by correspondence conducted from the state in which it is organized.

Quaere how far a foreign corporation carrying on business in a state may claim equality of treatment with individuals in respect to the right to sue and defend in the courts of that state; but where a condition precedent to a foreign corporation's doing business at all in a state is unconstitutional, the further condition that it cannot chanrobles.com-red

Page 217 U. S. 92

maintain any action in the courts of the state until it has complied with such unconstitutional condition is also stricken down as being inseparable therefrom.

Where a statute is unconstitutional in part, the whole statute must be deemed invalid except as to such parts as are so disconnected with the general scope that they can be separably enforced, and so held as to the provisions in § 1283 of the General Laws of Kansas of 1901 against a foreign corporation's maintaining any action until it has complied with another provision as to filing a detailed statement which is unconstitutional as to foreign corporations engaged in interstate commerce.

76 Kan. 328 reversed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of 1283 of the General Statutes of Kansas of 1901, are stated in the opinion. chanrobles.com-red

Page 217 U. S. 99


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