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    LESLIE MILLER, INC., v. ARKANSAS, 352 U.S. 187 (1956)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    LESLIE MILLER, INC., v. ARKANSAS, 352 U.S. 187 (1956)

    352 U.S. 187

    LESLIE MILLER, INC., v. ARKANSAS.
    APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS.
    No. 51.
    Argued December 5-6, 1956.
    Decided December 17, 1956.

    Section 3 of the Armed Services Procurement Act of 1947 provides that awards on advertised bids "shall be made . . . to that responsible bidder whose bid, conforming to the invitation for bids, will be most advantageous to the Government, price and other factors considered . . . ." Appellant was awarded a contract under this section and commenced construction of facilities at an Air Force base in Arkansas over which the United States had not acquired jurisdiction pursuant to 54 Stat. 19, 40 U.S.C. 255. Appellant was convicted under Ark. Stat., 1947, 71-701 through 71-721, for submitting a bid, executing a contract, and commencing work as a contractor in the State of Arkansas without having obtained a license for such activities from the State Contractors Licensing Board. Held: The state statute is in conflict with the federal statute and the regulations thereunder, and the state statute cannot constitutionally be applied to appellant. Johnson v. Maryland, 254 U.S. 51 . Pp. 187-190.

    225 Ark. 285, 281 S. W. 2d 946, reversed and remanded.

    By special leave of Court, John F. Davis argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, urging reversal. On the brief were Solicitor General Rankin, Assistant Attorney General Doub and Melvin Richter.

    William J. Smith argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Tom Gentry, Attorney General of Arkansas. and Thorp Thomas, Assistant Attorney General.

    PER CURIAM.

    Congress provided in 3 of the Armed Services Procurement Act of 1947, 62 Stat. 21, 23, 41 U.S.C. 152, that awards on advertised bids "shall be made . . . to that responsible bidder whose bid, conforming to the invitation for bids, will be most advantageous to the Government. price and other factors considered . . . ." The report from the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives indicated some of the factors to be considered: "The question whether a particular bidder is a `responsible bidder' requires sound business judgment, and involves an evaluation of the bidder's experience, facilities, technical organization, reputation, financial resources, and other factors." H. R. Rep. No. 109, 80th Cong., 1st Sess. 18; see S. Rep. No. 571, 80th Cong., 1st Sess. 16. The Armed Services Procurement Regulations, [352 U.S. 187, 189]   promulgated under the Act, set forth a list of guiding considerations, defining a responsible contractor as one who

    Under the Arkansas licensing law similar factors are set forth to guide the Contractors Licensing Board:

    Mere enumeration of the similar grounds for licensing under the state statute and for finding "responsibility" under the federal statute and regulations is sufficient to [352 U.S. 187, 190]   indicate conflict between this license requirement which Arkansas places on a federal contractor and the action which Congress and the Department of Defense have taken to insure the reliability of persons and companies contracting with the Federal Government. Subjecting a federal contractor to the Arkansas contractor license requirements would give the State's licensing board a virtual power of review over the federal determination of "responsibility" and would thus frustrate the expressed federal policy of selecting the lowest responsible bidder. In view of the federal statute and regulations, the rationale of Johnson v. Maryland, 254 U.S. 51, 57 , is applicable:

    The judgment of the Supreme Court of Arkansas is reversed and the cause is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

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