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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

The Decisions

The Decisions.

Thus Chief Justice Taney, in the License Cases, (5 Howard, 504,) says: "And if any State deems the retail and internal traffic in ardent spirits injurious to the citizens, and calculated to produce idleness, vice ox debauchery, I see nothing in the Constitution of the United States, to prevent it from regulating or restraining the traffic, or from prohibiting it altogether, if it thinks proper."

Justice Catron goes even further into the logic of the question, and states what is now no longer controverter among legal minds: that license and prohibition rest on precisely the same ground. Of authority, so far as constitutional right is concerned.

He says:

"I admit as inevitable that if the State has the power of restraint by license to any extent she has the discretionary power to judge of its limit, and may go to the length of prohibiting sales altogether."

Justice Grier puts it strongly thus:

"It is not necessary to array the appalling statistics of misery pauperism and crime which have their origin in the use and abuse of ardent spirits. The Police Power, which is exclusively in the State, is competent to the correction of these great evils, and all measures of restraint or prohibition necessary to affect that purpose are within the scope of that authority."