SWIFT & CO. v. UNITED STATES
A "meat trust" developed in Chicago, in which major dealers of meat agreed not to bid against one another in order to control prices. The trust also pressured the railroads into charging them lower-than-normal rates. The U.S. government attacked the trust as an unlawful economic monopoly.
Did Congress have the authority to regulate the meat trust under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that congressional power under the Commerce Clause justified regulations of the meat trust. The Court held that the effect of the trust on commerce among states was not "accidental, secondary, remote or merely probable," but rather a direct attempt to monopolize commerce. Business done at the stockyards was found to be one part of a continuous stream of commerce. The Court drew a distinction between manufacturing monopolies, which had only indirect effects on commerce, and sales monopolies, which had direct and intended effects on commerce.