ERROR TO THE COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS FOR THE THIRD DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF TEXAS
Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, Brown, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day
MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.
This case involves the constitutionality of certain articles of the Revised Statutes of Texas, set forth in the margin,*fn1 the
material requirement of which is that when the shipper of freight shall make a requisition in writing for a number of cars to be furnished at any point indicated within a certain number of days from the receipt of the application, and shall deposit one-fourth of the freight with the agent of the company, the company failing to furnish them shall forfeit $25 per day for each car failed to be furnished, the only proviso being that the law "shall not apply in cases of strikes or other public calamity."
The defense was that this statute was not applicable to demands made for cars to be sent out of the State and to be used in interstate commerce; and as the shipment was intended for Oklahoma, the act did not apply, and the defendant was not liable. The question is whether the statute, applied as it is
by the Texas court to interstate shipments, is an infringement upon the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
That, notwithstanding the exclusive nature of this power, the States may, in the exercise of their police power, make reasonable rules with regard to the methods of carrying on interstate business; the precautions that shall be used to avoid danger, the facilities for the comfort of passengers and the safety of freight carried, and, to a certain extent, the stations at which stoppages shall be made, is settled by repeated decisions of this court. Of course, such rules are inoperative if conflicting with regulations upon the same subject enacted by Congress, and can be supported only when consistent with the general requirement that interstate commerce shall be free and unobstructed, and not amounting to a regulation of such commerce. As the power to build and operate railways, and to acquire land by condemnation, usually rests upon state authority, the legislatures may annex such conditions as they please with regard to intra state transportation, and such other rules regarding inter state commerce as are not inconsistent with the general right of such commerce to be free and unobstructed.
The exact limit of lawful legislation upon this subject cannot in the nature of things be defined. It can only be illustrated from decided cases, by applying the principles therein enunciated, determining from these whether in the particular case the rule be reasonable or otherwise.
That States may not burden instruments of interstate commerce, whether railways or telegraphs, by taxation, by forbidding the introduction into the State of articles of commerce generally recognized as lawful, or by prohibiting their sale after introduction, has been so frequently settled that a citation of authorities is unnecessary. Upon the other hand, the validity of local laws designed to protect passengers or employes, or persons crossing the railroad tracks, as well as other regulations intended for the public good, are generally ...