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Baldwin v. Montana Fish and Game Commission (1978)

Last Updated: 2006

In Baldwin v. Montana Fish and Game Commission 1978), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Montana’s substantially higher elk-hunting license fee for nonresidents over objections that it violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, which requires that “the Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” According to the Court, this clause requires a state to treat residents and nonresidents equally only with regard to those privileges and immunities “bearing upon the vitality of the Nation as a single entity.” Elk hunting, according to the Court, does not fit into that category. The decision is also interesting because it rejects the doctrine articulated in Toomer v. Witsell (1948) that the discrimination against nonresidents must bear some relationship to the problem that the state is attempting to address.

SEE ALSO: Corfield v. CoryellPrivileges and Immunities Clause: Article IVToomer v. Witsell