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Police Power

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POLICE POWER. The powers of govern ment inherent in every sovereignty. License Cases, 5 How. (U. S.) 583, 12 L. Ed. 25(3; In re Allyn's Appeal, 81 Conn. 534, 71 Atl. 794, 23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 630, 129 Am. St. Rep. 225. First used by Marshall, C. J., in Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat. 443, 6 L. Ed. 678.

The power vested in the legislature to make such laws as they shall judge to be for the good of the commonwealth and Its subjects. Bacon v. Walker, 204 U. S. 311, 27 Sup. Ct. 289, 51 L. Ed. 499. It is much easier to realize the instances and sources of this power than to mark its boundaries or prescribe limits to Its exercise; id. The general police power in reserved to the states, subject to the limitation that it. may not trespass on the rights and powers vested in the national government; In re Heff, 197 U. S. 488, 25 Sup. Ct. 506, 49 L. Ed. 848.

The power to govern men and things, ex tending to the protection of the lives, limbs, health, comfort, and quiet of all persons and the protection of all property within the state. Thorpe v. R. Co., 27 Vt. 149, 62 Am. Dec. 625. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 25 Sup. Ct. 358, 49 L. Ed. 643, 3 Ann. Cas. 765.

The authority to establish such rules and regulations for the conduct of all persons as may be conducive to the public interest. People v. Budd, 117 N. Y. 14, 22 N. E. 670, 682, 5 L. R. A. 559, 15 Am. St. Rep. 460. Police power extends to what is for the greatest welfare of the state, and is not confined merely to the suppression of what is offensive, disorderly or unsanitary. Bacon v. Walker, 204 U. S. 311, 27 Sup. Ct. 289, 51 L. Ed. 499.

It embraces the whole system of internal regulation by which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order and to prevent offences against itself, but also to establish for the intercourse of citizens with citizens, those rules of good manners and good neigh borhood which are calculated to prevent the conflict of rights and to Insure to each the uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far as it Is reasonably consistent with the right enjoyment of rights by others ; Cooley, Const. Lim. 572.

Most of the law on this subject has been the growth of the nineteenth century and the latter half of it. The earliest instances of the exercise of this power were found when houses were destroyed to prevent the spread of fire. The right to take a man's property in such cases was called the law of overruling necessity. There are also some very early instances of sanitary legislatibn.

An act of parliarbent in 1388 imposed a 'penalty for throwing animal filth or refuse into rivers, and one of 1489 prohibited the slaughtering of cattle in the cities. Laws regulating wharfingers, millers, common car riers, innkeepers, chimney sweeps, auction eers, ferry-keepers and drovers have been common for many centuries before the term was used.

Among former exercises of the police power which have become obsolete, may be mentioned laws restraining extravagance in dress, punishing heresy, interfering with the worship of particular churches or sects, and restraining speculation, or combinations to control a product and by withholding it, increase the price thereof ; Tiedm. Pol. Pow. § 96 a; although in some of the states there are statutory provisions forbidding the cor nering of grain, they are repetitions of old laws as to forestalling and engrossing ; id.; Booth v. Illinois, 184 U. S. 425, 22 Sup. Ct. 425, 46 L. Ed. 623.

This right must be clearly distinguished from the administration of criminal law and from police regulations and police authority, nor should it be confused with eminent do main, as has sometimes been done, or with the power of taxation. It is distinct from both of these. It is more despotic and broad er in its action than, the right of eminent do main, caring for the public health and mor als of the community, restraining individuals from interfering with them, and when it is found necessary to take private property un der the police power, no compensation need be given the owner unless expressly pro vided by statute; Philadelphia v. Scott, 81 Pa. 80, 22 Am. Rep. 738; Keller v. Corpus Christi, 50 Tex. 614, 32 Am. Rep. 613 ; Chi cago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Illinois, 200 U. S. 561, 26 Sup. Ct. 341, 50 L. Ed. 596, 4 Ann. Cas. 1175 ; New Orleans G. L. Co. v. Drainage Commission, 197 U. S. 453, 25 Sup. Ct. 471, 49 L. Ed. 831; Carthage v. Frederick, 122 N. Y. 268, 25 N. E. 480, 10 L. R. A. 178, 19 Am. St. Rep. 490. It is the application of the personal right or principle of self-pres ervation of the body politic ; Wy'nehamer v. People, 13 N. Y. 378 ; to its exercises there are no limits except the restrictions con tained in the written constitution ; 1 Thayer, Coast. L. 720; Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 25 Sup. Ct. 358, 49 L. Ed. 643, 3 Ann. Cas. 765 ; McLean v. Arkansas, 211 U. S. 539, 29 Sup. Ct. 206, 53 L. Ed. 315.

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