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Inc. Baldwin v. G. A. F. Seelig

The Cross-appeal

New York took its case to the Supreme Court on a cross-appeal, which meant that Baldwin was now the appellant, and G. A. F. Seelig the appellee. As noted by Justice Cardozo, who would give the Court's opinion, New York did not attempt to assert that it had authority to regulate the price paid for milk in Vermont; nor did it claim power to prevent anyone from bringing in milk from Vermont (assuming there was no health issue involved), regardless of the price paid. The only area in which New York claimed authority was in prohibiting the sale of such milk once it had entered the state or, as Cardozo put it, "The importer . . . may keep his milk or drink it, but sell it, he may not."

The "Metropolitan Milk District," which consisted of New York City and surrounding areas, bought some 70 percent of its milk from within the state. As for the other 30 percent, according to Cardozo, the price provision of the Milk Control Act helped "keep the system unencumbered by competition from afar." Whereas milk prices would tend to be relatively uniform within the state, in Vermont they might be lower. The act removed the economic incentive for buying milk from outside New York. To some, it appeared that the act simply served to protect the jobs of New York milk producers. But the state, in its case, asserted that the Milk Control Act had been put in place ultimately to protect the health of its citizens. By ensuring that New York milk producers earned a good profit and thus stayed in business, the act maintained a strong milk industry within the state. This, in turn, meant a milk industry was under state health control, control which would presumably be forfeited to other states if New York producers were consistently undersold and forced out of business.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Inc. Baldwin v. G. A. F. Seelig - Significance, The Cross-appeal, Violation Of The Commerce Clause, Keeping Trade Open Between The States