California’s Anti-Okie Statute 1941
Edwards v. California
Facts of the case
Anyone who knowingly assisted a pauper in entering the state of California was guilty of a misdemeanor during the Great Depression. Edwards, a Californian, drove to Texas and then back to California with his impoverished brother-in-law. Edwards was found guilty of breaking the state’s “Okie statute,” and was sentenced to six months in prison with a six-month suspension.
Is the California statute in violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution?
Yes, the Commerce Clause prohibits a state from discriminating against indigents. California’s concern for its residents’ health and the sufficiency of its welfare money does not justify the law’s burden on interstate commerce. “The destitute non-residents who are the actual victims of this statute are denied of the ability to put political pressure on the California legislature in order to secure a change in policy,” Byrnes wrote in his unanimous ruling.
The Displaced Persons Act (1948).
The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – Illustrated, 22 Oct. 2015, English edition by Michael H. Roffer (Autor)