What is New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann?
New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann is a landmark case heard by the Supreme Court on February 19th of 1932. The case of New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann begins with the New State Ice Company filing a lawsuit against Liebmann to impede him from selling ice without a formal license.
New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States via the District Court the Western District of Oklahoma. The initial trial dismissed the New State Ice Company’s complaint for lack of equity. The lower court system relied on a previous case (Frost v. Corporation Commission) in formulating their decision that a license is not needed where existing companies or businesses sufficiently meet the public’s need.
New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann in the Supreme Court
When New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann was appealed by the New State Ice Company it eventually made its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court distinguished that the previous Frost case did not concern the same variables as New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann. The Supreme Court believed that in the case of Frost, the business in question held a much different market than the one being evaluated in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann.
The court in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann ruled that the business of selling and manufacturing ice is essentially a private matter and is therefore not affected with a public interest that a law may constitutionally limit the number of those who engage in the practice or control competition.
In New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, the Oklahoma law which declared that the sale and distribution of ice is a public matter, and therefore requires anyone engaging in it to first procure a license from a state commission is repugnant to the due process clause of the United States Constitution. Furthermore, the ruling in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann stated that state laws which infringe on the liberty guaranteed to individuals by the United States constitution cannot be upheld on the ground that the state is conducting legislative experiments.