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Huron Portland Cement Co. v. City of Detroit

Significance, Hand-fired Boilers And Coal Smoke, Regulating Interstate Commerce, "at War With The Federal License"


Huron Portland Cement Co.


City of Detroit

Appellant's Claim

That the city of Detroit had no right to enforce a local anti-pollution ordinance against ships owned by the Huron Portland Cement Company, given that those ships had been "inspected, approved and licensed" by the Federal Government for interstate commerce; moreover, even if Detroit's law was not in conflict with federal law, enforcement of the statute was an unreasonable restraint of interstate commerce.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

John F. Hathaway

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Alfred E. Lindbloom

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court), Earl Warren, Charles Evans Whittaker

Justices Dissenting

William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 April 1960


That the Detroit anti-smoke ordinance was constitutional, even when applied to ships licensed by the federal government, and that the criminal provisions of the Detroit law did not impose "an undue burden" on interstate commerce.

Related Cases

  • South Carolina State Highway Department v. Barnwell, 303 U.S. 177 (1938).
  • Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona ex rel. Sullivan, 325 U.S. 761 (1945).
  • Bibb v. Navajo Freight Lines Inc., 359 U.S. 520 (1959).
  • Hunt v. Washington State Apple Ad. Comm., 432 U.S. 333 (1977).
  • Kassell v. Consolidated Freightways Corp., 450 U.S. 662 (1981).


Davies, J. Clarence, and Jan Mazurek. Pollution Control in the United States: Evaluating the System. Resources for the Future, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Toh, Kevin G. "Are Credit-Card Late Fees `Interest'?" Michigan Law Review, March 1996, p. 1294.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962