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Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

duction of wheat and commerce therein by establishing a uniform system of grades, weights and measures. The second and third sections provide for a State Supervisor of Grades, Weights and Measures and give him authority to make and enforce necessary orders, rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the Act.

The fourth section provides that the Supervisor shall establish a system of grades, weights and measures for wheat" and shall in a general way investigate and supervise the marketing of same with a view of preventing unjust discrimination, unreasonable margins of profit, confiscation of valuable dockage, fraud and other unlawful practices"; declares that whenever grades, weights and measures for wheat are established by the Secretary of Agriculture under the United States Grain Standards Act they shall become the grades, weights and measures of must consider either the cost of removing the dockage or the freight charges on it to the terminal market."

"The farm is the logical place to clean wheat, preferably as part of the thrashing operation, because the necessary power is available and later handling is avoided. Since satisfactory cleaning is not always possible under present conditions at thrashing time, other means of cleaning must be used.

The fanning mill is the most practical cleaning machine for farm use, and if properly adjusted and operated will clean wheat satisfactorily for commercial purposes with but little loss of wheat in the screenings."

"The operators of country elevators are beginning to realize more keenly each year that it pays to clean wheat before shipping it to the terminal markets. Many of the country elevators not only clean wheat for themselves but for the farmers as well. The latter is known as 'custom cleaning,' for which country elevators located in the central Northwest ordinarily charge from 2 to 3 cents per bushel, based on the gross weight of the grain before cleaning. A higher charge is made for cleaning the grain for seed purposes. The shrinkage in the weight of the grain is borne by the owner, but the screenings may be returned to him. The returns from custom cleaning add a considerable amount to the income of some country elevators during the year."

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the State; and concludes by saying, "In establishing such grades, weights and measures, the value of dockage shall be considered, and the buyer shall not be permitted to retain the same without just compensation. He shall pay the fair market value for same or separate it and return it to the producer." The fifth section provides that no person shall buy any wheat "by grade"-excepting where one producer buys from another producer--unless it has been inspected and graded by a licensed inspector under the provisions of the Act, or those of the United States Grain Standards Act, and is bought by a grade fixed and recognized thereunder.

The sixth section provides for the issue, by the Supervisor, of licenses to grade to persons engaged in buying, weighing and grading wheat-including buyers and agents at country elevators-where they pass a satisfactory examination. Each license is to be held on condition that the licensee shall honestly and correctly determine the grades and dockage and shall likewise weigh the grain. The seventh section authorizes the Supervisor to suspend or revoke any such license where, after investigation, he finds that the licensee is incompetent, knowingly or carelessly has graded grain improperly, has short-weighed it, has taken valuable dockage without compensation, or has violated any provision of the Act or of the United States Grain Standards Act.

The eighth section requires every buyer operating an elevator to obtain from the Supervisor a yearly license, the fee for which is to be adjusted by the Supervisor to the capacity of the elevator at not exceeding $1.00 for each 1,000 bushels. The ninth section requires every elevator operator or individual "buying or shipping for profit," who does not pay cash in advance, to file with the Supervisor a sufficient bond, running to the State, to secure payment for all wheat bought on credit. The tenth section requires every buyer operating an elevator to

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keep a record of the wheat bought at the elevator and to show therein the price paid and grades given, and “the price received and the grades received at the terminal markets;" and further requires him to furnish this information to the Supervisor when requested. The twelfth section makes it unlawful for any person to grade wheat who does not have a license therefor under the Act or under the United States Grain Standards Act. And other sections make every violation of the Act a misdemeanor and charge the Attorney General of the State and its other law officers with the duty of prosecuting such violations.

The Act dispenses with grading where the buying is by sample, by type or by certain designations; but this has no bearing here, for the buying for interstate shipment is all by grade. The Act also dispenses with grading by an inspector licensed thereunder, if the grain be graded by an inspector licensed under the United States Grain Standards Act; but this is an idle provision, for there are in North Dakota no inspectors licensed under that Act. Such inspectors are found only at terminal markets, and there is no terminal market in North Dakota.

This statement of the provisions of the Act discloses its full purposes and scope; but some of its features, of speciai importance here, will be noticed again as we proceed.

Buying for shipment, and shipping, to markets in other States when conducted as before shown constitutes interstate commerce-the buying being as much a part of it as the shipping. We so held in Lemke v. Farmers' Grain Company, supra, following and applying the principle of prior cases. Later cases have given effect to the same principle. Stafford v. Wallace, 258 U. S. 495, 516; Binderup v. Pathe Exchange, 263 U. S. 291, 309.

Wheat-both with and without dockage-is a legitimate article of commerce and the subject of dealings that are nation-wide. The right to buy it for shipment, and

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to ship it, in interstate commerce is not a privilege derived from state laws and which they may fetter with conditions, but is a common right, the regulation of which is committed to Congress and denied to the States by the commerce clause of the Constitution.2

The decisions of this Court respecting the validity of state laws challenged under the commerce clause have established many rules covering various situations. Two of these rules are specially invoked here-one that a state statute enacted for admissible state purposes and which affects interstate commerce only incidentally and remotely is not a prohibited state regulation in the sense of that clause; and the other that a state statute which by its necessary operation directly interferes with or burdens such commerce is a prohibited regulation and invalid, regardless of the purpose with which it was enacted. These rules, although readily understood and entirely consistent, are occasionally difficult of application, as where a state statute closely approaches the line which separates one rule from the other. As might be expected, the decisions dealing with such exceptional situations have not been in full accord. Otherwise the course of adjudication has been consistent and uniform.

In our opinion the North Dakota Act falls certainly within the second of the two rules just stated. By it that


2 Crutcher v. Kentucky, 141 U. S. 47, 57; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Kansas, 216 U. S. 1, 21; Oklahoma v. Kansas Natural Gas Co., 221 U .S. 229, 260; Buck Stove Co. v. Vickers, 226 U. S. 205, 215; Adams Express Co. v. New York, 232 U. S. 14, 31; DahnkeWalker Co. v. Bondurant, 257 U. S. 282, 291, 292.


Sherlock v. Alling, 93 U. S. 99, 102-104; Kidd v. Pearson, 128 U. S. 1, 22 et seq.; Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U. S. 519, 532; Sligh v. Kirkwood, 237 U. S. 52, 59-61.


* Crutcher v. Kentucky, 141 U. S. 47, 56, 58; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Kansas, 216 U. S. 1, 27; International Paper Co. v. Massachusetts, 246 U. S. 135, 141; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Foster, 247 U. S. 105, 114; Pennsylvania v. West Virginia, 262 U. S. 553, 596; Air-Way Corporation v. Day, 266 U. S. 71, 81.

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State attempts to exercise a large measure of control over all wheat buying within her limits. About 90 per cent. of the buying is in interstate commerce. Through this buying and the shipping in connection with which it is. conducted the wheat which North Dakota produces in excess of local needs-more than 125,000,000 bushels a year-finds a market and is made available for consumption in other States where the local needs greatly exceed the production. Obviously therefore the control of this buying is of concern to the people of other States as well as to those of North Dakota.

Only by disregarding the nature of this business and neglecting important features of the Act can it be said to affect interstate commerce only incidentally and remotely. That it is designed to reach and cover buying for interstate shipment is not only plain but conceded. To conform to recognized commercial practices such buying must be by grade, and it is so conducted. The Act prevents buying by grade, unless the buyer secures from the State a grading license for himself or his agent. The general practice is to buy and ship without separating the dockage from the wheat, the price paid carrying a right to both. The Act requires the buyer to separate the dockage and return it to the producer, unless it be distinctly valued and paid for. A failure to comply with this or any other requirement of the Act is made cause for revoking the grading license. It is practically essential that the buyers have and operate elevators as facilities for handling and loading the wheat. The act requires every such buyer to give to the State, if he buys on credit, a bond securing payment for all wheat so purchased; to keep a record of all wheat bought, showing the grade given and price paid at his elevator and the grade fixed and price received at the terminal market; and to furnish such data to the State Supervisor when requested. The Act also intends and declares that the State Supervisor

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