When upholding a lower court’s decree to break up the Standard Oil Company, the Supreme Court concluded that the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) forbade only unreasonable combinations or agreements in restraint of trade.
The Standard Oil case occurred at a time of great controversy concerning the meaning of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. One of the main questions was whether the law prohibited all “combinations in restraint of trade,” or only some of them. In 1897 the Supreme Court had ruled that the law applied to all such combinations. In reversing this interpretation in the Standard Oil case, Chief Justice Edward D. White
This 1911 editorial suggests that tobacco trusts might be the next after the oil industry to be censured by the Supreme Court.
Commerce, regulation of
Rule of reason
Sherman Antitrust Act