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Dean Milk Co. v. Madison

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 340 U.S. 349,71 S. Ct. 295,95 L. Ed. 329,1951 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. A city ordinance prohibiting the sale of pasteurized milk not processed and bottled in a pasteurization plant within five miles of Madison, Wisconsin is invalid because it imposes an undue burden on interstate commerce.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A city ordinance that places a discriminatory burden on interstate commerce that is not essential for the protection of local health interests violates the commerce clause.


Facts. The city of Madison, Wisconsin enacted an ordinance that barred the sale of pasteurized milk unless it had been pasteurized and bottled at an approved pasteurization plant within five miles of Madison’s central square. Of the five processing plants within the allowed distance, only three of them did business in Madison. Plaintiff, Dean Milk, a processing plant in Illinois, challenged the ordinance, claiming that it violated the commerce clause. The highest state court rejected the commerce clause attack.

Issue. Whether the discrimination inherent in the Madison, Wisconsin ordinance can be justified in view of the character of the local interest and the available methods of protecting them.

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