APPEAL FROM THE SUPERIOR COURT IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Clark, Minton
MR. JUSTICE MINTON delivered the opinion of the Court.
Appellants, American citizens, are taxicab drivers. They were arrested by the Sheriff of San Diego County, California, and charged with driving taxicabs in the unincorporated area of San Diego County without a permit from the Sheriff as required by § 9 of Ordinance 464, the pertinent provisions of which are set forth in the margin.*fn* The facts were stipulated without the taking of any evidence. From the stipulation we learn that appellants had picked up passengers across the line in Mexico and were transporting them across the unincorporated area of San Diego County to points not in the unincorporated area when they were arrested. They had made oral requests for permits from the Sheriff, rather than application in writing on the forms provided therefor, as required by § 9 of the ordinance. When these requests
were denied, they continued to transport passengers, although upon advice of counsel they did not pick up or discharge any passengers in the unincorporated area. We take their action to mean that they claimed that because they were engaged in foreign commerce, they had either the right to a permit without complying with the other provisions of the ordinance or the right to operate without a permit. Appellants contend that the County had no right to burden that foreign commerce by regulation.
They were found guilty of violating § 9 of the ordinance by the Justice's Court of National Township, San Diego County. The Superior Court of California, in and for the County of San Diego, Appellate Department, affirmed the conviction and allowed an appeal to this Court. 101 Cal. App. 2d Supp. 912, 226 P. 2d 87. We noted probable jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1257 (2).
The Motor Carrier Act of 1935 gave broad power of regulation over motor vehicles to the Interstate Commerce Commission; but Congress partially excluded taxicabs from such regulation in the following words:
"Nothing in this part, except the provisions of section 204 relative to qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees and safety of operation or standards of equipment shall be construed to include . . . (2) taxicabs, or other motor vehicles performing a bona fide taxicab service, having a capacity of not more than six passengers and not operated on a regular route or between fixed termini . . . ." 49 Stat. 545, 49 U. S. C. § 303 (b).
The Interstate Commerce Commission, acting under authorization of Congress, has promulgated regulations establishing minimum qualifications for drivers of motor vehicles for carriers, including taxicabs, engaged in interstate and foreign commerce, 49 CFR § 192.2. This does
not prevent the state or a subdivision thereof, in the exercise of its police power, from providing additional specifications as to qualifications, not inconsistent or in conflict with the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Especially is this true since the regulations of the Commission are only minimum.
As the ordinance is not in conflict with and may be construed consistently with the federal regulations and in keeping with the latter's purpose, they may stand together. Kelly v. Washington, 302 U.S. 1, 10; Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Harris, 234 U.S. 412, 419; Savage v. Jones, 225 U.S. 501, 539; Reid v. Colorado, 187 U.S. 137, 148.
California has a legitimate interest in the kind and character of persons who engage in the taxicab business in the State. The authority to issue permits has been granted by the State to the Board of Supervisors of each county. In re Martinez, 22 Cal. 2d 259, 262, 138 P. 2d 10. Such delegation by the State to the ...