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Standard Oil Co. of Kentucky v. Tennessee, 217 U.S. 413 (1910)

Standard Oil Co. of Kentucky v. Tennessee

No. 160

Argued April 20, 1910

Decided May 2, 1910

217 U.S. 413


The Fourteenth Amendment will not be construed as introducing a factitious equality without regard to practical differences that are best met by corresponding differences of treatment.

Where a distinction may be made in the evil that delinquents are forced to suffer, a difference in establishing the delinquency may also be justifiable, and a state may provide for a different method of determining

Page 217 U. S. 414

the guilt of a corporation from that of an individual without violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and so held as to the provisions in the antitrust statute of Tennessee of 1903 prohibiting arrangements for lessening competition under which corporations are proceeded against by bill in equity for ouster, while individuals are proceeded against as criminals by indictment, trial, and punishment on conviction.

A transaction is not necessarily interstate commerce because it relates to a transaction of interstate commerce, and so held that a statute of Tennessee prohibiting arrangements within the state for lessening competition is not void as a regulation of interstate commerce as to sales made by persons without the state to persons within the state.

While a federal question exists as to whether unequal protection of the law is afforded by excluding a class from the defense of the statute of limitations, the construction of the statute as to its scope is for the state court, and does not present a federal question.

120 Tenn. 86 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of certain provisions of the antitrust statute of Tennessee of 1903, are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 419

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