The American Naval Stores Company (defendant), a West Virginia corporation, sold and shipped spirits of turpentine between states and foreign nations. The National Transportation and Terminal Company (defendant), a New Jersey corporation, operated warehouses for storing spirits of turpentine, as well as naval stores in various locations for selling the spirits. The two corporations, through members of management that included Nash (defendant), allegedly conspired to inhibit trade in spirits of turpentine through fraudulent conduct and actions intended to force competitors out of the market. The defendants were indicted for two violations of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-7: (1) conspiracy to monopolize trade and (2) conspiracy in restraint of trade. The defendants demurred to the charges on the ground that the criminal provisions of the Sherman Act were too vague to be constitutionally enforceable. The demurrer was overruled, and the defendants appealed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.