245 U.S. 304
Argued and submitted Nov. 15, 1917.
Decided Dec. 10, 1917.
[245 U.S. 304, 305] Messrs. T. A. Walters, of Boise, Idaho, and Frank L. Moore, of Moscow, Idaho, for defendant in error.
Mr. J. H. Forney, of Moscow, Idaho, for plaintiff in error.
Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
An act of the Legislature of Idaho, approved February 18, 1915, 'defining prohibition districts and regulating and prohibiting the manufacture, sale, ... transportation for sale or gift, and traffic in intoxicating liquors,' etc. (Session Laws of Idaho 1915, c. 11), provides:
Plaintiff in error was arrested and held in custody by the sheriff, in default of bail, solely because charged with having 'in his possession a bottle of whisky for his own use and benefit and not for the purpose of giving away or selling the same to any person' within Latah county, Idaho- a prohibition district-on May 16, 1915, in violation of the quoted sections. He sued out a writ of habeas corpus from the state Supreme Court and sought discharge upon the ground that those sections were in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment, federal Constitution, and therefore void. The court held:
The writ was accordingly quashed and the petitioner remanded to custody.
The question presented for our determination, is whether the Idaho statute, in so far as it undertakes to render criminal the mere possession of whisky for personal use, confilicts with that portion of the Fourteenth Amendment which declares:
Its validity under the state Constitution is not open for our consideration; with its wisdom this court is not directly concerned.
It must now be regarded as settled that, on account of their well- known noxious qualities and the extraordinary evils shown by experience commonly to be consequent upon their use, a state has power absolutely to prohibit manufacture, gift, purchase, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within its borders without violating the guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. Bartemeyer v. Iowa, 18 Wall. 29; Beer Co. v. Massachusetts, 97 U.S. 25 , 33; Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 662 , 8 S. Sup. Ct. 273; Crowley v. Christensen, 137 U.S. 86, 91 , 11 S. Sup. Ct. 13; Purity Extract Co. v. Lynch, 226 U.S. 192, 201 , 33 S. Sup. Ct. 44; Clark Distilling Co. v. Western Md. Ry. Co., 242 U.S. 311, 320 , 321 S., 37 Sup. Ct. 180, L. R. A. 1917B, 1218, Ann. Cas. 1917B, 845; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. North Carolina, 245 U.S. 298 , 38 Sup. Ct. 96, 62 L. Ed. --.
As the state has the power above indicated to prohibit, it may adopt such measures as are reasonably appropriate or needful to render exercise of that power effective. Booth v. Illinois, 184 U.S. 425 , 22 Sup. Ct. 425, Silz v. Hesterberg, 211 U.S. 31 , 29 Sup. Ct. 10, Murphy v. California, 225 U.S. 623 , 32 Sup. Ct. 697, 41 L. R. A. (N. S.) 153, and Rast v. Van Deman & Lewis, 240 U.S. 342, 364 , 36 S. Sup. Ct. 370, L. R. A. 1917A, 421, ann. Cas. 1917B, 455. And, considering the notorious difficulties always attendant upon efforts to suppress traffic in liquors, we are unable to say that the challenged inhibition of their possession was arbitrary [245 U.S. 304, 308] and unreasonable or without proper relation to the legitimate legislative purpose.
We further think it clearly follows from our numerous decisions upholding prohibition legislation that the right to hold intoxicating liquors for personal use is not one of those fundamental privileges of a citizen of the United States which no state may abridge. A contrary view would be incompatible with the undoubted power to prevent manufacture, gift, sale, purchase or transportation of such articles-the only feasible ways of getting them. An assured right of possession would necessarily imply some adequate method to obtain not subject to destruction at the will of the state.
The judgment of the court below must be Affirmed.