The immense pressures inflicted on the United States by the Great Depression of the 1930s forced the Supreme Court on several occasions to confront the scope of a state’s police power to regulate economic activity in the name of the general welfare.

In the landmark case of Nebbia v. New York (1934), the Court, in a sharply divided 5-4 decision, saved the American dairy industry when it upheld the state’s milk-control law that created a board to establish minimum retail prices.

David Adler is president of The Alturas Institute, a nonprofit organization created to promote the Constitution, gender equality and civic education. This column is made possible with the support of the South Dakota Humanities Council and South Dakota Newspaper Association. The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Argus Observer.

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