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Police Power

united, laws, government, liquor, regulations and requiring

POLICE POWER. The inherent power of a government to take such action and to pass laWA as may be deemed necessary for its own protection, and to secure the safety. comfort, and general welfare of its citizens. It is very difficult to define the ',revise limits of the police power 14 a government, and probably there are no absolute limits, except that it shall only he exer cised for the purposes above mentioned, and such restrktions as may be imposed by a written or unwritten elin.tittttialn. Chief Justice Shaw of expressed this difficulty as fol lows: "It is much easier to perceive and realize the existenre and source, of this power titan to mark its boundaries or prescribe to it; exercise." The same jurist defined it as "the power vested in the Legislature by the Constitu tion to make, ordain. and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, and either with penalties tin without, not repugnant to the Constitution. as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth and of the subjects of the same." governments have always assumed to exer cise the powers above mentioned. the law and theory of the police power as a justifieation and authority for otherwise arbitrary and despotic nets have been a growth of the nineteenth cen tury. In some respects the police power is more arbitrary than that of eminent domain. By vir tue of the latter a government may take private property only upon making proper compensation therefor, whereas if property is confiscated or .destroyed for the public good under the police jam no reimbursement need be made to the owner.

The Constitution of the United States enume rates the powers of the Federal Government. which also possesses incidental power to do all acts necessary to exercise the authority thus vested in it, and this may he said to be police power. An example of this are the United States quarantine regulations. which. in so fair as they are inconsistent with the State laws on the subject, supersede the latter. However, the great

bulk of the police power vested in the States is in dependent of the United States Government, and cannot be interfered with by Congress. One no table instance where the Federal law has super seded State regulations under their police power was where the United States courts sustained the right of dealers to import liquors and sell them in a State where the laws prohibited traffic in liquor. The United States Supreme Court held that this interfered with interstate c(onntcree, but expressly stated that the liquor was only pro tected as long as it was contained in the 'original package' (q.v.) in which it was imported, thus recognizing the right of the State to regulate the liquor traffic within its own boundaries under its police power. Among the numerous laws and regulations of the various States which have been held to be legitimate exercises of the police power are: Aets requiring railways to fence in their tracks; requiring sign-boards at crossings; regu lating the speed of trains; regulating the charges of persons in quasi-public as ware housemen, cab drivers. ferry owners, etc.; regulating the storage of explosives, the sale of poisons, and of liquor; prohibiting the adultera tion of foods.: regulating the employment of women and children; requiring the quarantine of infectious diseases. and destruction of infected houses and property; and the licensing of physi cians, druggists. engineers, etc. Laws prohibiting labor and enforcing quiet on Sunday have been held not to encroach on the religious liberty of individuals, hut to be a valid exercise of the police power for the general welfare of the com munity. The subject of police powers is dis cussed in: Cooley, Constitutional Limitations; Thayer, Constitutional Limitations: Tiedeman, Limitation of the Police Power in the United States; Prentice, Police Power. See also ('ox STITtItuSAL LAW and the authorities there ferred to.