Toomer v. Witsell

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In Toomer v. Witsell (1948), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated South Carolina’s policy of requiring state residents to pay a $25 per boat license fee for shrimp gathering while nonresidents were charged $2,500 per boat as violative of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, which assures that “the Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several states.” Traditionally, courts had held that the privileges and immunities that are protected by this clause are only those that are “fundamental,” so that the test always involved an inquiry into whether the discrimination against nonresidents involved a fundamental right. In Toomer, however, the Court added a new dimension to the test, inquiring whether the discrimination bears a substantial relationship to the problem that the state is attempting to deal with.

Ellis Katz

Last Updated: 2006

SEE ALSO: Baldwin v. Montana Fish and Game Commission; Corfield v. Coryell; Privileges and Immunities Clause: Article IV