331 U.S. 111 (1947), 583, Fleming v. Mohawk Wrecking & Lumber Co.

Docket Nº:No. 583
Citation:331 U.S. 111, 67 S.Ct. 1129, 91 L.Ed. 1375
Party Name:Fleming v. Mohawk Wrecking & Lumber Co.
Case Date:April 28, 1947
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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331 U.S. 111 (1947)

67 S.Ct. 1129, 91 L.Ed. 1375

Fleming

v.

Mohawk Wrecking & Lumber Co.

No. 583

United States Supreme Court

April 28, 1947

Argued April 1, 1947

CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

1. The President's Executive Order No. 9809, issued under § 1 of the First War Powers Act of 1941 after the cessation of hostilities but before the termination of a technical state of war, validly consolidated the Office of Price Administration and three other agencies into the Office of Temporary Controls. Pp. 113-119.

(a) The war powers are adequate to deal with problems of law enforcement which arise during the period of hostilities, but do not cease with them. P. 116.

(b) Section 1 of the First War Powers Act, authorizing the President to redistribute functions among executive agencies, authorizes the creation of a new agency and the consolidation within it of functions and powers previously exercised by one or more other agencies. P. 116.

(c) The authority conferred upon the President by § 1 of the First War Powers Act was not limited to the transfer of functions from agencies existing when the Act became law. P. 117.

(d) An incumbent of an office "existing by law," within the meaning of § 2, at the time of the passage of the First War Powers Act who has once been confirmed by the Senate need not be confirmed again in order to exercise powers transferred to him by the President from another officer appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. P. 118.

2. Under Rule 25 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Temporary Controls Administrator was properly substituted for the Price Administrator in pending enforcement proceedings after the lifting of most price controls -- there being "substantial need" for continuing and maintaining enforcement proceedings previously

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brought by the Price Administrator, since the Emergency Price Control Act preserved accrued rights and liabilities thereunder. P. 119.

3. Under § 201 of the Emergency Price Control Act, the Price Administrator could delegate to district directors authority to sign and issue subpoenas. Cudahy Packing Co. v. Holland, 315 U.S. 357, distinguished. Pp. 119-123.

156 F.2d 891, reversed; 81 U.S.App.D.C. 156, 156 F.2d 561, affirmed.

No. 583. The Price Administrator applied to a District Court for an order under § 202(e) of the Emergency Price Control Act, 56 Stat. 23, as amended, to enforce a subpoena duces tecum issued by a District Director of the Office of Price Administration. The District Court denied and dismissed the application. 65 F.Supp. 164. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 156 F.2d 891. This Court granted certiorari, 329 U.S. 705, and ordered substitution of the Temporary Controls Administrator for the Price Administrator. 329 U.S. 688. Reversed, p 123.

No. 512. The Price Administrator applied to the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia for an order to enforce a subpoena duces tecum issued by the District Director of the Office of Price Administration. That Court ordered compliance with the subpoena. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed. 81 U.S.App.D.C. 156, 156 F.2d 561. This Court granted certiorari, 329 U.S. 705, and ordered substitution of the Temporary Controls Administrator for the Price Administrator. 329 U.S. 687. Affirmed, p. 123.

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DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases present the question whether the Emergency Price Control Act, 56 Stat. 23, as amended, 50 U.S.C. App.Supp. V, § 901 et seq., authorizes the Administrator to delegate to district directors authority to sign and issue subpoenas. In the first of these cases, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that such authority did not exist, 156 F.2d 891; in the second, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that it did. 156 F.2d 561. The cases are here on petitions for writs of certiorari which we granted to resolve the conflict.

First. After we granted the petitions, we ordered, on motion on the Acting Solicitor General, that Philip B. Fleming, Temporary Controls Administrator, be substituted as a party in each case in place of Paul A. Porter, Administrator, Office of Price Administration, resigned. Thereafter, respondents in the first of these cases filed a motion to vacate the order of substitution, a motion which we deferred to [67 S.Ct. 1131] the hearing on the merits.1 The question

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has now been briefed and argued, and we conclude that the motion to vacate the order of substitution should be denied.

The Act was amended in 1946 to provide for its termination not later than June 30, 1947, saving, however, rights and liabilities incurred prior to the termination date.2 By November 12, 1946, almost all commodities (including services) were by administrative order3 made exempt from price control.4 Price control had thus entered a temporary transition period. On December 12, 1946, the President issued an Executive Order "for the purpose of further effectuating the transition from war to peace and in the interest of the internal management of the Government." That order consolidated the Office of Price Administration and three other agencies into the Office of Temporary Controls5 -- an agency in the Office for Emergency Management of the Executive Office of the President. The latter had previously been established pursuant to the Reorganization

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Act of 1939, 53 Stat. 561.6 The Executive Order provided a Temporary Controls Administrator, appointed by the President, to head the Office of Temporary Controls, and vested in him, inter alia, the functions of the Price Administrator, including the authority to maintain in his own name civil proceedings, whether or not then pending, relating to matters theretofore under the jurisdiction of the Price Administrator. Petitioner is the Temporary Controls Administrator appointed by the President.

It is argued that the President had no authority to transfer the functions of the Price Administrator to another agency and to vest in an officer appointed by the President the power which the Emergency Price Control Act, § 201, had conferred upon an Administrator appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. And it is said that, even though such authority existed, it came to an end with the cessation of hostilities.

By § 1 of the First War Powers Act of 1941, 55 Stat. 838, 50 U.S.C. App.Supp. V, § 601, the President is

authorized to make such redistribution of functions among executive agencies as he may deem necessary, including any functions, duties, and powers hitherto by law conferred upon any executive department, commission, bureau, agency, governmental corporation, office, or officer, in such manner as in his judgment shall seem best fitted to carry out the purposes of this title, and to this end is authorized to make such regulations and to issue such orders as he may deem necessary...

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