THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREENE DOCTRINE: THE SHERMAN ACT, HOWELL JACKSON, AND THE INTERPRETATION OF “INTERSTATE COMMERCE”, 1890 — 1941

Harvey Gresham Hudspeth

Abstract


This paper deals with the evolution of the judicial interpretation of the term“ interstate commerce” beginning with the enactment the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 and concluding with the Supreme Court’s US. v. Darby decision some 51 years later. As may be recalled, the Fuller Court’s 1895 ruling in E.C. Knight all but destroyed Sherman and allowed most corporate monopolies free reign going into the early twentieth century. Even after Sherman’s revival in Northern Securities, however, the Court’s narrow interpretation of “interstate commerce” continued to effectively thwart federal attempts at economic regulation for the next half century. This paper examines the formulation of the so-called “Greene Doctrine” and its author, future Supreme Court Justice Howell Edmunds Jackson as well as their ultimate impact on American constitutional and economic history.

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