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Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

States, 257 U. S. 377, 400; Eastern States Lumber Ass'n. v. United States, 234 U. S. 600, 613.

It remains to apply these principles, in the light of the facts, to the several grounds above stated, upon which the decree rests.

First: That permits were required for the purchase of materials produced in and brought from other states. To the extent that this may imply that permits were required in respect of building materials or supplies produced outside the State of California and shipped into the state, it is not sustained by the evidence. The record contains two letters signed by the president of the Builders Exchange to the effect, in one, that there

are added," and, in the other of later date, that “it is now necessary to add to the permit system,” other materials than those in the enumerated list; and the person addressed in the second is asked to govern himself accordingly. But the positive, uncontradicted evidence is that, in fact, permits were required for the originally listed materials and for nothing else. While about twenty-eight thousand permits in all were issued, there is a significant absence of evidence that any of them so issued related to other than such listed materials. Upon the proof, we reasonably cannot accept the view that these letters are enough to show a departure from the declared and established purpose of the movement on the whole to avoid interference with interstate trade by confining the permit system substantially to California produced articles.

It is true, however, that plaster, in large measure produced in other states and shipped into California, was on the list; but the evidence is that the permit requirement was confined to such plaster as previously had been brought into the state and commingled with the common mass of local property, and in respect of which, therefore, the interstate movement and the interstate commer

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Opinion of the Court.

cial status had ended. This situation is utterly unlike that presented in the Swift Case, supra, where, the only interruption of the interstate transit of live stock being that necessary to find a purchaser at the stockyards, and this the usual and constantly recurring course, it was held (pp. 398–399) that there was thus constituted "a current of commerce among the States," of which the purchase was but a part and incident. The same is true of Stafford v. Wallace, 258 U. S. 495, 516, which likewise dealt with the interstate shipment and sale of live stock. The stockyards, to which such live stock was consigned and delivered, are there described, not as a place of rest or final destination, but as "a throat through which the current flows,” and the sale as only an incident which does not stop the flow but merely changes the private interest in the subject of the current without interfering with its continuity. In Binderup v. Pathe Exchange, 263 U. S. 291, 309, a commodity produced in one state was consigned to a local agency of the producer in another, not as a consummation of the transit, but for delivery to the customer. This court held that the intermediate delivery did not end, and was not intended to end, the movement of the commodity, but merely halted it “as a convenient step in the process of getting it to its final destination."

But here, the delivery of the plaster to the local representative or dealer was the closing incident of the interstate movement and ended the authority of the federal government under the commerce clause of the Constitution. What next was done with it, was the result of new and independent arrangements.

In respect of other materials of the character of those on the selected list, brought from other states, it is enough to say that the quantities were not only of little comparative consequence but it is not shown that they were subjected to the permit rule.

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

Second: That the permit requirement for California produced materials interfered with the free movement of materials and supplies from other states. No doubt there was such an interference, but the extent of it, being neither shown nor perhaps capable of being shown, is a matter of surmise. It was, however, an interference not within the design of the appellants, but purely incidental to the accomplishment of a different purpose. The court below laid especial stress upon the point that plumbers' supplies, which for the most part were manufactured outside the state, though not included under the permit system, were prevented from entering the state by the process of refusing a permit to purchase other materials, which were under the system, to anyone who employed a plumber who was not observing the “American plan.” This is to say, in effect, that the building contractor, being unable to purchase the permit materials, and consequently unable to go on with the job, would have no need for plumbing supplies, with the result that the trade in them, to that extent, would be diminished. But this ignores the all important fact that there was no interference with the freedom of the outside manufacturer to sell and ship or of the local contractor to buy. The process went no further than to take away the latter's opportunity to use, and, therefore, his incentive to purchase. The effect upon, and interference with, interstate trade, if any, were clearly incidental, indirect and remote,-precisely such an interference as this court dealt with in United Mine Workers v. Coronado Co., supra, and United Leather Workers v. Herkert, 265 U. S. 457.

In the Coronado Case there was an attempt on the part of the owners of a coal mine to operate it upon the “open shop" basis. The officers and members of a local miners' union, thereupon, engaged in a strike, which was carried on with circumstances of violence resulting in the destruction of property and the injury and death of persons. A

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Opinion of the Court.

conspiracy and an intent to obstruct mining operations were established, and it was proved that the effect thereof was to prevent a part of the product of the mine from going into interstate commerce. It was held that this would not constitute a conspiracy to restrain such commerce, in the absence of proof of an intention to restrain it or proof of such a direct and substantial effect upon it, that such intention reasonably must be inferred. It was pointed out that there was nothing in the circumstances or declarations of the parties to indicate that the strikers had in mind any interference with interstate commerce or competition, when they engaged in the attempt to break up the plan to operate the mines with non-union labor, and, conceding that the natural result would be to keep the preponderating part of the output of the mine from being shipped out of the state, the effect on interstate commerce was not of such substance that a purpose to restrain interstate commerce might be inferred.

In the United Leather Workers Case there was a strike, accompanied by illegal picketing and intimidation of workers, to prevent, and which had the effect of preventing, the continued manufacture of goods by a trunk company. It was held that this was not a conspiracy to restrain interstate commerce within the Anti-Trust Act, even though the goods, to the knowledge of the strikers, were to be shipped in interstate commerce to fill orders already received and accepted from the company's customers in other states, since there was no actual or attempted interference with their transportation to, or their sale in, such states. There is in this case a complete review of the prior decisions on the subject, upon which the Court concludes (p. 471):

“ This review of the cases makes it clear that the mere reduction in the supply of an article to be shipped in interstate commerce, by the illegal or tortious prevention of

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

its manufacture, is ordinarily an indirect and remote obstruction to that commerce. It is only when the intent or necessary effect upon such commerce in the article is to enable those preventing the manufacture to monopolize the supply, control its price or discriminate as between its would-be purchasers, that the unlawful interference with its manufacture can be said directly to burden interstate commerce.

“We concur with the dissenting Judge in the Circuit Court of Appeals when, in speaking of the conclusion of the majority, he said: “The natural, logical and inevitable result will be that every strike in any industry or even in any single factory will be within the Sherman Act and subject to federal jurisdiction provided any appreciable amount of its product enters into interstate commerce.'

In its essential features, the present case is controlled by this reasoning. If an executed agreement to strike with the object and effect of closing down a mine or a factory, by preventing the employment of necessary workmen, the indirect result of which is that the sale and shipment of goods and products in interstate commerce is prevented or diminished, is not an unlawful restraint of such commerce, it cannot consistently be held otherwise in respect of an agreement and combination of employers or others to frustrate a strike and defeat the strikers by keeping essential domestic building materials out of their hands and the hands of their sympathizers, because the means employed, whether lawful or unlawful, produce a like indirect result. The alleged conspiracy and the acts here complained of, spent their intended and direct force upon a local situation,-for building is as essentially local as mining, manufacturing or growing crops,—and if, by a resulting diminution of the commercial demand, interstate trade was curtailed either generally or in specific instances, that was a fortuitous consequence so remote and indirect as plainly to cause it to fall outside the reach of the Sherman Act.

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