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SOUTHERN RAILWAY CO. V. KING, 217 U. S. 524 (1910)

U.S. Supreme Court

Southern Railway Co. v. King, 217 U.S. 524 (1910)

Southern Railway Co. v. King

No. 140, 141

Argued April 6, 7, 1910

Decided May 16, 1910

217 U.S. 524


The right to regulate interstate commerce is exclusively vested in Congress, and the states cannot pass any law directly regulating such commerce; but the states may, in the exercise of the police power, pass laws in the interest of public safety which do not interfere directly with the operations of interstate commerce.

The constitutionality of a state statute regulating operation of railroad trains depends upon its effect on interstate commerce, and, in the absence of congressional regulation on the subject, states may make reasonable regulations as to the manner in which trains shall approach, and give notice of their approach to, dangerous crossings, so long as they are not a direct burden upon interstate commerce.

One who would strike down a statute as unconstitutional must show that it affects him injuriously and actually deprives him of a constitutional right.

Proof must conform to the allegations, and, without proper allegations, testimony cannot be admitted.

A pleading must state facts, and not mere conclusions, and the want of

Page 217 U. S. 525

essential definite allegations renders a pleading subject to demurrer. This general rule is also the practice in Georgia.

General statements that a statute is in violation of the commerce clause of the federal Constitution, is a direct burden on interstate commerce, and impairs the usefulness of the pleader's facilities for that purpose are mere conclusions, and not statements of the facts which make the operation of the statute unconstitutional, and do not raise any defense to a cause of action based on a violation of such statute.

160 F. 332 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Georgia regulating the crossing of highways by railroad trains, are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 530

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