Opinions & Commentaries

The publishers of more than 1,200 newspapers are members of the Associated Press (AP), a cooperative *4 association incorporated under the Membership Corporation Law of the State of New York. Its business is the collection, assembly and distribution of news. The news it distributes is originally obtained by direct employees of the Association, employees of the member newspapers, and the employees of foreign independent news agencies with which AP has contractual relations, such as the Canadian Press. Distribution of the news is made through interstate channels of communication to the various newspaper members of the Association, who pay for it under an assessment plan which contemplates no profit to AP.

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This case here on appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1257 raises questions concerning the constitutional power of a state to apply its anti-trade-restraint law[1] to labor union activities, and to enjoin union members from peaceful picketing carried on as an essential and inseparable part of a course of conduct which is in violation of the state *492 law. The picketing occurred in Kansas City, Missouri. The injunction was issued by a Missouri state court.

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The principal question here is whether a newspaper publisher's conduct constituted an attempt to monopolize interstate commerce, justifying the injunction issued against it under §§ 2 and 4 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[1] For the reasons hereafter stated, we hold that the injunction was justified.

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American railroads have always largely depended upon income from the long-distance transportation of heavy freight for economic survival. During the early years of their existence, they had virtually no competition in this aspect of their business, but, as early as the 1920's, the growth of the trucking industry in this country began to bring about changes in this situation. For the truckers found, just as the railroads had learned earlier, that a very profitable part of the transportation business was the long hauling of heavy freight. As the trucking industry became more and more powerful, the competition between it and the railroads for this business became increasingly intense until, during the period following the conclusion of World War II, at least the railroads, if not both of the competing groups, came to view the struggle *129 as one of economic life or death for their method of transportation. The present litigation is an outgrowth of one part of that struggle.

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This action began as a suit by the trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund against the respondents, individually and as owners of Phillips Brothers Coal Company, a partnership, seeking to recover some $55,000 in royalty payments alleged to be due and payable under the trust provisions of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1950, as amended, September 29, 1952, executed by Phillips and United Mine Workers of America on or about October 1, 1953, and re-executed with amendments on or about September 8, 1955, and October 22, 1956. Phillips filed an answer and a cross claim against UMW, alleging in both that the trustees, the UMW and certain large coal operators had conspired to restrain and to monopolize interstate commerce in violation of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, as amended, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U. S. C. §§ 1, 2 (1958 ed.). Actual damages in the amount of $100,000 were claimed for the period beginning February 14, 1954, and ending December 31, 1958.[1]

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Tucson, Arizona, has only two daily newspapers of general circulation, the Star and the Citizen. The Citizen is the oldest, having been founded before 1900, and is an evening paper published six times a week. The Star, slightly younger than the Citizen, has a Sunday as well as a daily issue. Prior to 1940 the two papers vigorously competed with each other. While their circulation was about equal, the Star sold 50% more advertising space than the Citizen and operated at a profit, while the Citizen sustained losses. Indeed the Star's annual profits averaged about $25,825, while the Citizen's annual losses averaged about $23,550.

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