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Nebbia v. New York

Citation. 291 U.S. 502, 54 S.Ct. 505, 78 L.Ed. 940 (1934).

Brief Fact Summary.

Nebbia was convicted for selling milk below the minimum fixed price. He brought suit challenging the New York law.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A state is free to adopt economic policy reasonably deemed to promote public welfare, and enforce said policy through legislation so long as it does not run afoul to the Due Process Clause.


New York passed a statute that fixed the minimum and maximum retail prices for milk. Nebbia was convicted under the statute for selling milk below the minimum price. He argued the statute deprived him of due process of the law.


Whether the New York statute violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.


No. The New York statute does not violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.


A state is free to adopt any economic policy that may reasonably promote public welfare and pass corresponding legislation to implement said policy. So long as the law has a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose and is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due process are satisfied. The legislature, not the courts, are the primary judge of the necessity of such enactments and every possible presumption is in favor of validity.

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