holding that the seizure of fireworks pursuant to a state fireworks law did not violate the plaintiff's property rights under the Due Process Clause of the United States ConstitutionSummary of this case from PPC Enterprises, Inc. v. Texas City
SUBMITTED JANUARY 15, 1963.
DECIDED MARCH 25, 1963.
Injunction, etc. Whitfield Superior Court. Before Judge Davis.
Mitchell Mitchell, for plaintiff in error.
Eugene Cook, Attorney General, F. Douglas King, Howard P. Wallace, Assistant Attorneys General, contra.
1. All legal rights of the parties were fully accrued as to the property seized, and the petition does not allege any facts or circumstances requiring a determination of any dispute to guide and protect the plaintiff from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to some future act or conduct which, without direction, might jeopardize its rights. The petition did not state a cause of action for a declaration of rights under the Declaratory Judgments Act (Ga. L. 1945, pp. 137-139, as amended; Code Ann. § 110-1101 et seq.). Zeagler v. Willis, 212 Ga. 286 ( 92 S.E.2d 108); McCallum v. Quarles, 214 Ga. 192 ( 104 S.E.2d 105); Rowan v. Herring, 214 Ga. 370, 374 ( 105 S.E.2d 29).
2. The 1962 act (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14), restricting the manufacture, sale, and use of fireworks, does not violate the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution, nor is it unconstitutional for the reason, as contended, that Congress has pre-empted the regulation of fireworks by Federal legislation. An exception by Congress of fireworks from the provisions of a criminal statute ( 18 U.S.C.A. § 832) does not preclude legislative enactment by the several States.
3. The acts of the defendant sheriff as related to the seizure of certain fireworks of the plaintiff were authorized by the 1962 act (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14), and no violation of the plaintiff's property rights under the due process clause of the State and Federal Constitutions is shown.
4. Counsel for plaintiff have not cited any authority to support the contention that the act of 1962 (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14) is unconstitutional and void in that the office of each member of the General Assembly voting therefor was unconstitutional. The cases of Toombs v. Fortson, 205 F. Supp. 248, and Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 ( 82 S.C. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663) do not so hold. The petition in the present case shows that the membership of the General Assembly in the 1962 session was selected in the manner provided by the Constitution and laws of this State, and having been so selected, legislation enacted at such session will not be voided by this court on the basis of an alleged disparity of representation in the General Assembly. Gormley v. Taylor, 44 Ga. 76; DeLoach v. Newton, 134 Ga. 739, 757 ( 68 S.E. 708).
Judgment affirmed. All the Justices concur.
SUBMITTED JANUARY 15, 1963 — DECIDED MARCH 25, 1963.
Dixie Fireworks Company, Inc., brought an action for injunction and declaratory judgment against McArthur, Sheriff, and others. The petition attacks the validity of an act approved February 6, 1962, to become effective on July 20, 1962 (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14), restricting the manufacture, sale, and use of fireworks. The plaintiff alleged that: On July 20, 1962, it loaded a motor vehicle with ten cases of fireworks for the purpose of transporting them to Hamer, South Carolina, pursuant to an order. While the fireworks were in transit on U.S. Highway No. 76 in Whitfield County, the motor vehicle was stopped by the sheriff and the fireworks seized as contraband. On the same date the sheriff entered the premises of the plaintiff and seized twenty cases of fireworks which are the property of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff prayed for process; that the court declare the rights of the parties; that the 1962 act (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14) be declared unconstitutional and void; and that the defendants be restrained and enjoined from doing any act or thing relative to the enforcement of the act. The trial judge sustained a general demurrer to the petition, and the exception is to this judgment.
By brief filed in this court the plaintiff makes four contentions:
(1) The trial judge erred in sustaining the general demurrer and in failing to declare the rights of the plaintiff and the defendants, it being contended that the petition shows that an actual and justiciable controversy existed.
(2) The Fireworks Act of 1962 (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14) is unconstitutional in that it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States and undertakes to legislate in a field which has been pre-empted by the Acts of Congress, as set out in the petition.
(3) The acts of the defendant, Sheriff McArthur, constitute an unreasonable, arbitrary, and extravagant interference with the plaintiff's property rights in violation of the due process clause of the State and Federal Constitutions.
(4) The Fireworks Act of 1962 (Ga. L. 1962, pp. 11-14) is unconstitutional and violative of the due process clause of the State and Federal Constitutions, since the State constitutional and statutory provisions which created the office of each member of the General Assembly who voted for the act are themselves unconstitutional.