MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The primary questions presented in this case are whether a Pennsylvania statute enacted in 1959
This case is essentially the same as McGowan v. Maryland, ante, p. 420, decided today. The major differences between the Pennsylvania and Maryland Sunday Closing Laws concern the specific provisions for exemptions from the general proscription of Sunday sales and activities. The religiously oriented backgrounds of both the Maryland and Pennsylvania statutes are strikingly similar although the Pennsylvania colony never had an established church while one did exist for a time in Maryland. While the pronouncements of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania indicate that it disclaimed a religious purpose for Sunday closing at an earlier date than did the Maryland Court of Appeals, later Pennsylvania decisions returned to religious purpose language while the Maryland opinions consistently rested on secular bases. On the other hand, the legislative history of the most recent Pennsylvania Sunday provisions is more striking than that
Appellant is a corporation which operates a large discount department store located on a highway in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. For some time prior to the instant litigation, McGinley, the County District Attorney, prosecuted a number of appellant's employees for violating 18 Purdon's Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4699.4, a section of the Pennsylvania Penal Code of 1939.
Although appellant challenged only the statutory sections mentioned above, in order to properly consider appellant's contentions, the whole body of Pennsylvania Sunday Laws must be examined.
The off-the-premises sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday is disallowed; but private clubs may sell alcoholic beverages to their members on Sunday, as may hotel restaurants between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. in first-and second-class Pennsylvania cities if the voters in those cities so choose. Municipalities and third-class Pennsylvania cities have statutory authority to restrain desecrations of the Sabbath day; one statutory section simply empowers various judicial officers to punish persons who profane the Lord's day. Barbering and beauty culture work on Sunday subjects the actor to license revocation. Male prisoners may not perform manual labor on Sunday, and bakery employees are not permitted to commence working on Sunday before 6 p. m.
The statutes generally proscribe hunting and shooting on Sunday but make an exception for the removal of furbearing animals from traps. Sunday fishing from public lands or in public waters is permitted, but not on private property without the consent of the owner. Also banned is the training of dogs except with the permission of the owner upon whose land the activity is undertaken.
The court below, although finding that McGinley threatened to enforce the 1959 Act against appellant's employees, denied appellant the injunctive relief sought, dismissing appellant's constitutional objections that the 1959 statute was a law respecting an establishment of religion, that the statute preferred one religion over others and that the classifications drawn by the statute were violative of equal protection of the law. The threejudge court declined to pass on the constitutionality of the 1939 statute because it found that, since the 1959 statute was now in effect, there was no imminent threat
Before reaching the primary questions presented, several ancillary matters must be considered. First, appellant contends that McGinley discriminated against it in enforcing the laws. Recognizing that a mootness problem exists because Lehigh County now has a new District Attorney,
Furthermore, we do not believe that the three-judge District Court abused its discretion in declining to pass on the constitutionality of the 1939 statute for the reasons stated. Railroad Commission v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496. The court below made clear that if appellant's employees were threatened with prosecution under the 1939 Act, and if the Pennsylvania courts decided that the 1939 Act still applies to appellant, that would be time enough to consider that statute's validity. Similarly, we do not believe that the court abused its equity power in refusing to continue the preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the 1939 statute against appellant, since there was no imminent threat of prosecution.
Appellant urges that the 1959 enactment is contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment's mandate of equal protection of the laws because, without rational basis, the statute singles out only twenty specified commodities, the Sunday sale of which is penalized by a fine of up to one hundred dollars for the first offense and, for subsequent offenses committed within one year, a fine of up to two hundred dollars or, in default thereof, imprisonment not to exceed thirty days; and also because the statute's proscription extends only to retail sales. Appellant argues that to forbid the Sunday sale of only some items while permitting the sale of many others and to exclude only retailers from Sunday operation while exempting wholesalers, service dealers, factories, and those engaged in the other excepted activities defeats the State's alleged interest of providing a day of rest and tranquillity for all.
As to the rationality of imposing a heavier penalty for the Sunday sale of the selected commodities, the court below found:
It was within the power of the legislature to have concluded that these businesses were particularly disrupting the intended atmosphere of the day because of the great volume of motor traffic attracted,
Appellant contends that the Pennsylvania Sunday Closing Law is one respecting an establishment of religion because it commemorates the Resurrection, obliges everyone to honor this basic doctrine of the major Christian denominations by abstaining from work and encourages Christian religious worship. Appellant also alleges that the statute discriminates against certain religions. For the same reasons stated in McGowan v. Maryland, supra, at pp. 429-431, we hold that appellant has standing to raise only the first contention.
To prove its argument, appellant relies on the language of the present laws in question, on the prior history of this legislation and on various statements of the Pennsylvania courts in interpreting the statutes. We agree that an inquiry into these matters is relevant. McGowan v. Maryland, supra, at p. 431.
The court below found that the connection between religion and the original Pennsylvania Sunday closing statutes was obvious and indisputable. This is clearly demonstrated by the first Pennsylvania Sunday law, enacted in 1682.
The present statutory sections still contain some traces of the early religious influence. The 1939 statute refers to Sunday as "the Lord's day"; but it is included in the general section entitled, "Offenses Against Public Policy, Economy and Health." Title 18 Purdon's Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4651 uses the term "Sabbath Day" and refers to the other days of the week as "secular days." But almost every other statutory section simply uses the word "Sunday" and contains no language with religious connotation. It would seem that those traces that have remained are simply the result of legislative oversight in failing to remove them. Section 4651 was re-enacted in 1959 and happened to retain the religious language; many other statutory sections, passed both before and after this date, omit it. Certain political subdivisions are authorized to restrain "desecrations of the Sabbath day," and there is a
On the other hand, we find that the 1939 statute was recently amended to permit all healthful and recreational exercises and activities on Sunday. This is not consistent with aiding church attendance; in fact, it might be deemed inconsistent. And the statutory section, § 4699.10, the constitutionality of which is immediately before us, was promoted principally by the representatives of labor and business interests.
Concededly, there were a number of cases
Having carefully examined the entirety of the present legislation, the relevant judicial characterizations and, particularly, the legislative history leading to the passage of the 1959 Act immediately before us, we hold that neither the statute's purpose nor its effect is religious. See McGowan v. Maryland, supra, at p. 449. Moreover, for the same reasons stated in McGowan v. Maryland, supra, at pp. 449-452, we reject appellant's contention that the State has other means at its disposal to accomplish its secular purpose that would not even remotely or incidentally give state aid to religion.
Accordingly, the decision is
[For opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, joined by MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, see ante, p. 459.]
[For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, see ante, p. 561.]
"Selling certain personal property on Sunday
"Whoever engages on Sunday in the business of selling, or sells or offers for sale, on such day, at retail, clothing and wearing apparel, clothing accessories, furniture, housewares, home, business or office furnishings, household, business or office appliances, hardware, tools, paints, building and lumber supply materials, jewelry, silverware, watches, clocks, luggage, musical instruments and recordings, or toys, excluding novelties and souvenirs, shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding for the first offense, be sentenced to pay a fine of not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100), and for the second or any subsequent offense committed within one year after conviction for the first offense, be sentenced to pay a fine of not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) or undergo imprisonment not exceeding thirty days in default thereof.
"Each separate sale or offer to sell shall constitute a separate offense.
"Information charging violations of this section shall be brought within seventy-two hours after the commission of the alleged offense and not thereafter."
"Whoever does or performs any worldly employment or business whatsoever on the Lord's day, commonly called Sunday (works of necessity and charity only excepted), or uses or practices any game, hunting, shooting, sport or diversion whatsoever on the same day not authorized by law, shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of four dollars ($4), for the use of the Commonwealth, or, in default of the payment thereof, shall suffer six (6) day's imprisonment.
"Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit the dressing of victuals in private families, bake-houses, lodging-houses, inns and other houses of entertainment for the use of sojourners, travellers or strangers, or to hinder watermen from landing their passengers, or ferrymen from carrying over the water travellers, or persons removing with their families on the Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, nor to the delivery of milk or the necessaries of life, before nine of the clock in the forenoon, nor after five of the clock in the afternoon of the same day."
"The penalty is a fine of 5s., and nobody will suggest that that is effective in any way. It simply means the payment of 5s., with a little expense added to that, in order to keep open on Sundays, and it seems to me that the Statute of 1677, applied to modern conditions, is nothing short of ridiculous." 308 Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 2167.
"It was several months ago, over a year ago, that a business from New Jersey moved into the aforementioned Whitehall Township of Lehigh County. It was known as the `Two Guys from Harrison.' They started operating on Sunday. It was a novelty. The people came from Northampton, Bucks, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and all the surrounding counties, so much so that they jammed traffic on the highways of the Seventh Street Pike in Allentown and Whitehall Township. However, the people came and they did business. There were other enterprises along the same route which were open on Sunday and doing business." 36 Pennsylvania Legislative Journal 1143.
"So far, happily, the great combine and chain stores have not entered on Sunday trading, but they are business enterprises and it is not impossible that they may find themselves compelled by economic considerations and pressure of local circumstances to open on Sunday, because Parliament takes no action to control and regulate Sunday business in retail shops. If that development should take place, we shall find our shopping centres on a Sunday no different in any way from the bustle, noise and glamour of the week-day trade." 308 Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 2166.
"Be it therefore Enacted by William Penn, Proprietary and Governour, by, and with the Advice and Consent of the Deputies of the freemen of this Province and Counties aforesaid, in Assembly met, and by the Authority of the same, That these following Chapters and Paragraphs shall be the Laws of Pennsylvania and the territories thereof.
"Chap. I. Almighty God, being Only Lord of Conscience father of Lights and Spirits, and the author as well as object of all Divine knowledge, faith, and Worship, who only can enlighten the mind, and persuade and convince the understandings of people. In due reverence to his Sovereignty over the Souls of Mankind . . . .
"But to the end That Looseness, irreligion, and Atheism may not Creep in under pretense of Conscience in this Province, Be It further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That, according to the example of the primitive Christians, and for the ease of the Creation, Every first day of the week, called the Lord's day, People shall abstain from their usual and common toil and labour, That whether Masters, Parents, Children, or Servants, they may the better dispose themselves to read the Scriptures of truth at home, or frequent such meetings of religious worship abroad, as may best sute their respective persuasions." Charter and Laws of the Province of Pennsylvania 1682-1700, 107-108.
"To the end that all people within this province may with the greater freedom devote themselves to religious and pious exercises." Id., at p. 175.
"As I read this bill, I find nothing in it which is of a religious nature. The bill is prompted by the thousands of letters that we have all received in the Senate of Pennsylvania, asking us to do something for the men and women who work in the department stores. These people are not asking to go to church; they are asking for a day of rest.
"I do not find anyone complaining about the Act passed at the last Session concerning the automobile business.
"This is a bill which has been crystalized by, I think, a very great organized labor section in our Commonwealth, the American Federation of Labor. They are in favor of it. They are heading up a group of people who have no particular voice to speak for them. I believe it is the obligation of the Senate of Pennsylvania to vote for this bill in order to give some recognition to the men and women who work and who are compelled to work on Sundays, whether they like it or whether they do not like it.
"This is not a bill. It is rather an indictment of our civilization which makes this kind of legislation possible and necessary. It is too bad that business will not permit its employees to have a day of rest. It is too bad that we must legislate morals, as we may be doing in this bill." Id., at 1139. See also id., at 1137-1140, 2564-2565, 2682-2685.
"The error of the plaintiff's position is that it confounds the reason of the prohibition with its actual effect, and thus mistakes the mere restraint of physical exertion for the fetters that clog the freedom of mind and conscience. But were this otherwise, the plaintiff's argument is inapplicable to the act of 1794. The conclusions drawn from some of its language are as inexpressive of its practical operation, as of the principal intent of its makers. The phraseology used may indicate a conviction of the holy character of the first day of the week, but as this simple expression of an abstract opinion, which all other men are at liberty to adopt or reject, carries with it no obligation beyond the influence attendant upon the expression itself, it cannot be said a primary object of the act was, authoritatively, to assert the supremacy of Sunday as of Divine appointment. Had such been the intent, irrespective of its statutory character as a day of rest from secular employment, its framers would not have stopped short with a bare interdiction of labour and worldly amusements. Following the example offered by older states and communities, they would have commanded the performance of religious rites, or at least, some express recognition of the day as the true Sabbath. Such a requisition, we agree with the plaintiff in error, would be a palpable interference with the rights of conscience. But nothing like this is exacted. On the contrary, every one is left at full liberty to shape his own convictions, and practically to assert them to the extent of a free exercise of his religious views. In this, as in other respects, the conscience of each is left uncontrolled by legal coercion, to pursue its own inquiries and to adopt its own conclusions. In this aspect of the statute there is, therefore, nothing in derogation of the constitutional inhibition." Id., at 324.