Opinion of the Court, United Carbon Co. v. Binney & Smith Co., 317 U.S. 228 (Dec. 7, 1942)

Decision Date: January 23, 1970

United Carbon Co. v. Binney & Smith Co. deals with a potential patent infringement surrounding the methods used to control the particles of Carbon Black, which is a substance used primarily as a binder in automobile tires.

Opinion of the Court, Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (Nov. 9, 1942)

Decision Date: December 9, 1942

Background: Roscoe Filburn owned a local farm outside of Dayton, Ohio on which he grew wheat. In the fall of 1940, he planted 23 acres of wheat for use within his own home.  Under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 Roscoe was only permitted to plant 11 acres of wheat.  This Act was instituted to limit the supply of wheat put into the market of interstate commerce.  In July of 1941, due to the extra planting, Roscoe was fined $117.  He refused to pay and filed suit asking the district court to find that the penalty violated his constitutional right to due process under law and exceeded the scope of Congress’ commerce clause power.

Supreme Court: Jackson wrote the unanimous opinion for the Court, which expanded the power of Congress to regulate economic activity, even to local activities like growing wheat for personal use. Jackson reasoned that even though the wheat itself did not enter the interstate commerce market Congress had the ability to regulate commodity prices and practices.  Filburn was indirectly affecting the national market by growing wheat for personal use that he otherwise would have purchased on the open market, as well such personal growths could easily enter the interstate market thereby affecting the market price directly.

Legacy: The case is important because of how far it expanded Congress’ power to regulate economic activity. No longer was Congress limited to regulating what directly affected interstate commerce instead, they could broadly monitor acts that had a substantial effect on the market, even if it was only indirectly.   The decision of this case has also played an important role in the recently decided case regarding the national healthcare act.

Dissenting opinion, Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287 (Dec. 21, 1942)

Decision Date: December 21, 1942

In Williams v. State of North Carolina, the petitioners Williams and Hendrix were convicted of being involved in a bigamous relationship by the state of North Carolina. Although the petitioners travelled to Nevada in order to get a decree of divorce, the state of North Carolina viewed this decree as fraudulent, chiefly because the petitioners were not bona fide residents of Nevada, and thus the decree was not recognized as valid. The Court reversed the ruling of the North Carolina Court and Robert H. Jackson wrote a dissenting opinion on this case.

Opinion of the Court, Spies v. United States, 317 U.S. 492 (Jan. 11, 1943)

Decision Date: December 11, 1943

Robert Jackson delivered the opinion of the court in the case of Spies v. United States, which dealt with the issue of income tax evasion. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in order for the crime of tax evasion to transpire one must “willfully” and overtly attempt to disregard due taxes.

Opinion of the Court, Endicott Johnson Corporation v. Perkins, Secretary of Labor, 317 U.S. 501 (Jan. 11, 1943)

Decision Date: December 11, 1943

The Endicott Johnson Corporation v. Perkins case surrounded the legitimacy of a subpoena issued by Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, against the Endicott Johnson Corporation. Perkins filed a subpoena to uncover the wages of the employees of Endicott Johnson Corporation, in order to find out if the corporation’s pay practices were in accordance with the contract it had signed with the government. After hearing the issues brought forth in the case, the Supreme Court decided that Perkin’s issuance of a subpoena was “clearly within the limits of Congressional authority” and denied Endicott Johnson Corporation’s defense against the subpoena.

Opinion of the Court, United States v. Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., 318 U.S. 206 ( Feb. 15, 1943)

Decision Date: December 15, 1943

Justice Jackson delivered the opinion the Court in this case which centered on the Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company’s electric service lines alongside a highway that travelled through allotted Indian land. In this case, the United States requested both for a declaratory judgment that acknowledged that the Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company illegally occupied certain Indian land, and also, for an injunction to end the Company’s occupation of the aforementioned land. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court and dismissed the complaint.

Dissenting opinion, United States Ex Rel. Marcus v. Hess, 317 U.S. 537 (Jan. 18, 1943)

Decision Date: December 18, 1943

In this case, the respondents were charged with defrauding the United States, via defrauding the local governmental units as opposed to the U.S. government, because of alleged collusive bidding on state sanctioned projects. The Supreme Court was not determining whether the collusive bidding occurred, but rather, whether the respondents could be prosecuted under the statue that the lower court employed. Ultimately, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court to the dismay of Robert Jackson, who wrote a dissenting opinion.

Opinion of the Court, National Labor Relations Board v. Indiana & Michigan Electric Co., 318 U.S. 9 (Jan. 18, 1943)

Decision Date: December 18, 1943

Justice Jackson delivered the opinion of the Court in this case, which granted the respondent’s (Indiana & Michigan Electric Company) petition to remand the case to the Labor Board, with the inclusion of supplementary evidence.

Opinion of the Court, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 318 U.S. 1 (Jan. 18, 1943)

Decision Date: December 18, 1943

Robert Jackson delivered the opinion of the Court in this case that dealt with the Brotherhood of Railroad’s call for the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis to provide cabooses on all trains to accommodate the railroad switchmen. At the time, railroad switchmen were extremely vulnerable to injury since they were required to ride on the train’s top or side during travel. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Brotherhood of Railroad and ruled that cabooses must be attached for switchmen on runs both within the state and across state borders.