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Penn Dairies, Inc. v. Milk Control Comm'n, 318 U.S. 261 (1943)

Penn Dairies, Inc. v. Milk Control Commission of Pennsylvania

No. 399

Argued January 13, 1943

Decided March 1, 1943

318 U.S. 261


1. Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Milk Control Law, a renewal of the license of a milk dealer was refused by the Milk Control Commission because the dealer, in violation of the state law, had sold milk to the United States at prices below the minima fixed by the Commission. The sales and deliveries were made within the State, under a contract awarded the dealer, as the lowest bidder, for supplying milk for consumption by troops at an Army camp established by the United States, on land belonging to the State, under a permit which involved no surrender of the State's jurisdiction or authority over the area.

Held: that such application of the state law to the dealer in these circumstances was not precluded by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Pp. 318 U. S. 271, 318 U. S. 278.

Congressional legislation, either as read in the light of its history or as construed by the executive officers charged with the exercise of the contracting power, does not disclose a purpose to immunize government contractors from local price-fixing regulations, nor, in the circumstances of this case, does the Constitution, unaided by Congressional enactment, confer such immunity.

2. Those who contract to furnish supplies or render services to the Government are not federal agencies, and do not perform governmental functions, and the mere fact that nondiscriminatory taxation or regulation of the contractor imposes an increased economic burden on the Government is no longer regarded as bringing the contractor within any implied immunity of the Government from state taxation or regulation. P. 318 U. S. 269.

3. Since the Constitution has left Congress free to set aside local taxation and regulation of government contractors, there is no basis

Page 318 U. S. 262

for implying from the Constitution alone a restriction upon such regulations which Congress ha not seen fit to impose, unless the regulations are shown to be inconsistent with Congressional policy. P. 318 U. S. 271.

4. The language and legislative history of the Acts of Congress requiring competitive bidding in the purchase of supplies for the Army, and of related statutes regulating government contracts, do not evidence a purpose to set aside local price regulations or to prohibit the States from taking punitive measures against violators of such regulations. P. 318 U. S. 272.

5. An unexpressed purpose of Congress to set aside statutes of the States regulating their internal affairs is not lightly to be inferred, and ought not to be implied where the legislative command, read in the light of its history, remains ambiguous. P. 318 U. S. 275.

6. The same considerations which sustain the rule against statutory repeals by implication apply as well when the question is one of nullification of state power by congressional legislation. P. 318 U. S. 275.

7. Assuming that the Secretary of War could, by regulation, set aide the state's price legislation which it has made applicable to government contractors, it appears plainly from a consideration of pertinent regulations that he has not done so. P. 318 U. S. 278.

344 Pa. 635, 26 A.2d 431, affirmed.

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment, 148 Pa.Super. 261, 24 A.2d 717, sustaining an order of the Milk Control Commission denying an application for renewal of a license.

Page 318 U. S. 266

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