258 U.S. 158 (1922), 24, Texas v. Interstate Commerce Commission

Docket Nº:No. 24, Original
Citation:258 U.S. 158, 42 S.Ct. 261, 66 L.Ed. 531
Party Name:Texas v. Interstate Commerce Commission
Case Date:March 06, 1922
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 158

258 U.S. 158 (1922)

42 S.Ct. 261, 66 L.Ed. 531

Texas

v.

Interstate Commerce Commission

No. 24, Original

United States Supreme Court

March 6, 1922

Argued on motions to dismiss December 7, 8, 1921

IN EQUITY

Syllabus

1. Regarded as corporate entities created for governmental purposes, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Railroad Labor Board are not citizens of any state. P. 160.

2. Abstract questions of the power of Congress to enact specified legislation do not present a case or controversy within the judicial power as defined by the Constitution. P. 162.

3. A suit by a state against the Railroad Labor Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission seeking to annul action taken by them under the Transportation Act of 1920 as an unconstitutional invasion of the rights of the state, injurious to her citizens, held not to be entertained by this Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction where the decisions and orders complained of had been put in execution, and their annulment would directly and unavoidably affect resulting interests of carriers and carrier employees who were not parties or represented in the litigation. P. 163.

4. That the citizenship of such necessary parties prevents their being joined will not justify proceeding in their absence. P. 163.

5. A suit by a state to set aside orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission must be brought in the district court, and the United States must be made a defendant. P. 164. North Dakota v. Chicago & Northwestern Ry. Co., 257 U.S. 485.

Bill dismissed.

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On motions to dismiss an original bill in this Court, brought by the State of Texas against the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Railroad Labor Board, and seeking to have declared unconstitutional certain portions of the Transportation Act of 1920, to annul all action taken thereunder by either defendant in respect of railroad carriers in Texas, and to restrain the defendants from taking any further action thereunder in respect of those carriers.

VANDEVANTER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a bill in equity brought in this Court by the State of Texas against the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Railroad Labor Board. The relief sought is first, a declaration that the main provisions1 of Titles III and IV of the Transportation Act of 1920, c. 91, 41 Stat. 456, 469, 474, are unconstitutional and void;

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secondly, an annulment of all action heretofore taken thereunder by either defendant in respect of railroad carriers in Texas, and thirdly, an injunction restraining the defendants from taking any further action thereunder in respect of those carriers. The right of the state to bring the suit, our power to entertain it, and the merits of the case made by the bill are all challenged by motions to dismiss.

In the bill and supporting brief, the defendants are spoken of as citizens of states other than Texas, and this is treated as bringing the suit within our original jurisdiction. But both defendants are sued as corporate entities created by the United States for governmental purposes, and if that be their status,2 they are not citizens of any state,3 but have the same relation to one state as to another. So, to entertain the suit, we should have to find some ground of jurisdiction other than the one suggested. But we need not stop to consider the possible grounds whereon a state may invoke our original jurisdiction, because an examination of the bill discloses insuperable obstacles to our entertaining it on any ground.

The provisions of titles III and IV which are drawn in question are all in terms confined to matters pertaining to railroad carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and evidently were enacted in what Congress regarded as an exercise of its power to regulate such commerce.

Those relating to the Railroad Labor Board -- they are in title III -- may be summarized as clothing the Board with authority to entertain and decide disputes between carriers and their employees in respect of wages, grievances, rules, or working conditions; as directing that all parties to such a dispute be accorded a hearing either in

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person or by counsel, and as requiring that the decisions be entered in an appropriate record and that they and all violations of them be given such publicity as the Board may indicate.

The provisions relating to the Interstate Commerce Commission -- these are in title IV -- may be summarized as investing the Commission with a substantial measure of control or supervision over interstate rates and fares; over the removal of any undue or unreasonable advantage, preference, or prejudice, as between persons or localities in intrastate commerce, on the one hand, and in interstate commerce, on the other, arising from intrastate rates and fares; over the removal of any undue, unreasonable or unjust discrimination against interstate commerce caused by intrastate rates and fares; over the division of the carriers of the country into territorial groups for...

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