The City of Madison, Wisconsin (defendant) passed an ordinance making it unlawful to sell milk as pasteurized unless it had been processed and bottled at an approved pasteurization plant within five miles of Madison’s central square. Dean Milk (plaintiff) was an Illinois corporation engaged in distributing milk in Wisconsin that had been pasteurized at plants about 65 and 85 miles away from central Madison. Dean Milk brought suit against Madison challenging the statute on the grounds that it violated the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The lower courts upheld the statute, and Dean Milk appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

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