155 U.S. 461, 15 S.Ct. 154, 39 L.Ed. 223 ( 1894)
A Massachusetts statute of 1891 prohibited the manufacture or sale of oleomargarine colored like butter. Plumley, an agent of a Chicago firm that manufactured colored oleomargarine, was convicted of making a sale in violation of the act, and brought a writ of error to review the affirming judgment of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court. . . .
The petitioner claimed that the statute of Massachusetts was repugnant to the clause of the Constitution providing that the Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the several States; to the clause declaring that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; to the clause providing that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws; to the clause declaring that private property shall not be taken for public purposes; and to the act of Congress of August 2, 1886, entitled "An act defining butter, also imposing a tax upon and regulating the manufacture, sale, importation, and exportation of oleomargarine." . . .
The learned counsel for the appellant states that Congress in the act of August 2, 1886, has legislated fully on the subject of oleomargarine. This may be true so far as the purposes of that act are concerned. But there is no ground to suppose that Congress intended in that enactment to interfere with the exercise by the States of any authority they could rightfully exercise over the sale within their respective limits of the article defined as oleomargarine. . . . Congress had no purpose to restrict the power of the States over the subject of the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine within their respective limits. The taxes prescribed by that act were imposed for national purposes, and their imposition did not give authority to those who paid them to engage in the manufacture or sale of oleomargarine in any State which lawfully forbade such manufacture or sale, or to disregard any regulations which a State might lawfully prescribe in reference to that article. . . .
Nor was the act of Congress relating to oleomargarine intended as a regulation of commerce among the States. Its provisions do not have special application to the transfer of oleomargarine from one State of the Union to another. They relieve the manufacturer or seller, if he conforms to the regulations prescribed by Congress or by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under the authority conferred upon him in that regard, from penalty or punishment so far as the general government is concerned, but they do not interfere with the exercise by the States of any au-