ERROR TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO.
Taft, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Sanford, Stone
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.
Meyer Selzman was tried and convicted on two indictments in the District Court. The first charged him, Martin Bracker, Harry Porter and others with a violation of § 37 of the Criminal Code in conspiring to violate
§ 15, Title III, of the National Prohibition Act (enacted October 28, 1919, c. 85, 41 Stat. 305) and the regulations relating to the manufacture and distribution of industrial alcohol prescribed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, pursuant to the provisions of Title III of the Act, in that they knowingly offered for sale completely denatured alcohol in packages containing less than five wine gallons, without having affixed to the packages a label containing the words "Completely denatured alcohol", together with the word "Poison" and a statement of the danger from its use. United States v. Grimaud, 220 U.S. 506.
Selzman was also convicted under four counts of the second indictment of violating § 4 of Title II of the Act forbidding the sale of denatured alcohol for beverage purposes or under circumstances from which the seller may reasonably infer the intention of the purchaser to use it for such purpose.
This is a writ of error under § 238 of the Judicial Code, on the ground that the provisions of the Prohibition Act in respect to denatured alcohol under which these indictments were found exceed the power of Congress. Whether this is a sound contention is the only question for our decision.
It is said that the Eighteenth Amendment prohibits the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes only, and that, as denatured alcohol is not usable as a beverage, the amendment does not give to Congress authority to prevent or regulate its sale, and that such authority remains with the States and is within their police power exclusively.
Reference is had to the part of § 1 of Title II of the Prohibition Act (41 Stat. 307), as follows:
"Sec. 1. When used in Title II and Title III of this Act (1) The word 'liquor' or the phrase 'intoxicating liquor' shall be construed to include alcohol, brandy,
whiskey, rum, gin, beer, ale, porter, and wine, and in addition thereto any spirituous, vinous, malt, or fermented liquor, liquids, and compounds, whether medicated, proprietary, patented, or not, and by whatever name called, containing one-half of 1 per centum ...