A rather broad application of the "equal protection of the laws" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment seems to have been made by the Supreme Court in Frost v. Corporation Commission, 49 Sup. Ct. 235. An Oklahoma statute declared cotton gins to be a public utility, and authorized the State Corporation Commission to fix their charges and control them in other respects. It was also stipulated that no gin should be operated without a license from the commission and that in order to procure a license there would have to be a showing of a public necessity, with this proviso, however, that on the presentation of a petition for the establishment of a gin to be run co-operatively, signed by one hundred citizens and tax payers of the community where the gin was intended to be located, a license should be issued. The plaintiff company made the required showing under the substantive portion of the statute, obtained a license and commenced business. Subsequently the defendant, co-operative gin company, presented a petition as required by the proviso and asked for a license to do business in the same community with the plaintiff. The commission rejected plaintiff's offer to show that there was no public necessity. Suit was thereupon brought to enjoin the issuance of the license on the ground that authorization of co-operative gins without adjudication of public necessity was unconstitutional and affected plaintiff's property rights. The Supreme Court, contrary to the view of the lower courts, held that the proviso was discriminatory and created an unequal application of the laws within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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