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Nebbia v. New York

From lawbrain.com

Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502 (1934) is a constitutional law case which held that laws passed must have a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose and are neither discriminatory nor arbitrary.

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Summary of Case Facts

The New York legislature established a Milk Control Board that was vested with the power to “fix minimum and maximum retail prices” for milk sold within the state. Nebbia is the owner of a grocery store who is alleged to have sold milk at a price below the minimum fixed price establish by NY statute. The legislature held hearings and determined that economic conditions and destructive trade practices jeopardized and adequate milk supply at reasonable prices to consumers and producers. They determined price controls would regulate that potential disparity.


Whether the Constitution prohibits a state from fixing the selling price of milk.

Holding and Law

No. The production and distribution of milk is a paramount industry of the state and largely affects the health and prosperity of its people. Property rights and contract rights are not absolute in nature and may be subject to limitations. Since the price controls were not “arbitrary, discriminatory, or demonstrably irrelevant” to the policy adopted by the legislature to promote the general welfare, it was consistent with the Constitution.

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