74 S.Ct. 768 (1954), Stanard v. Olesen

Citation74 S.Ct. 768, 98 L.Ed. 1151
Party NameSTANARD v. OLESEN et al.
Case DateMay 22, 1954
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 768

74 S.Ct. 768 (1954)

98 L.Ed. 1151

STANARD

v.

OLESEN et al.

United States Supreme Court.

May 22, 1954

COUNSEL

Page 769

Stanley F. Fleishman, Washington, D.C., represented the applicant, and Solicitor Gen. Simon E. Sobeloff, Washington, D.C., represented respondent.

OPINION

Opinion of Mr. Justice DOUGLAS.

Petitioner operates her business in Hollywood, California, under the fictitious name 'Male Merchandise Mart,' which has been duly recorded with the state authorities. Her business is selling and distributing through the mails 'publications, 'pin-up' pictures and novelties.' On March 1, 1954, the Solicitor for the Post Office Department issued a complaint against her, charging that she was carrying on, by means of the Post Office, a scheme for obtaining money for articles of an obscene character; and further charging that she was depositing in the mails information as to where

Page 770

such articles could be obtained, all in violation of 39 U.S.C. ss 255 and 259a, 39 U.S.C.A. ss 255, 259a, 18 U.S.C. ss 1342 and 1461, 18 U.S.C.A. ss 1342, 1461.

On the same day on which the complaint issued, the Deputy Postmaster General ordered the Postmaster at Los Angeles, California, to refuse to deliver mail addressed to petitioner at her business address. The order stated that a complaint of unlawful use of the mails had been filed, that a hearing would be held to establish whether there were any violations of the applicable statutes, and that the mail addressed to petitioner should be impounded until further order. This order is now in effect. It was issued without notice or hearing.

Petitioner answered the complaint and a hearing was held in Washington, D.C., in March, 1954. At the present time, there has been no final adjudication, administrative or otherwise, that petitioner has violated and statute.

On March 19, 1954, petitioner filed an action for declaratory relief in the District Court for the Southern District of California. She alleged that the Post Office had no power to impound her mail without a hearing, that she was suffering irreparable injury, and that her constitutional rights had been violated. She sought a decree enjoining the so-called impound order, hereinafter referred to as the interim order, and any other order which might be entered by the Post Office, pursuant to the hearing. The District Court dismissed the complaint, holding that the Post Office had power to impound petitioner's mail pending the administrative determination, and that petitioner could not question the administrative proceeding itself, because she had not exhausted her administrative remedies. 121 F.Supp. 607. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where the appeal is now pending. She also made a motion for relief from the interim order, pending review. The Court of Appeals heard argument on the motion and took it under submission, but then vacated the submission and ordered the motion held in abeyance until June 15, 1954, to permit the Post Office Department to make a final and judicially reviewable order. The court stated that it was of the opinion that the motion should not be acted upon at that time.

Petitioner has now applied to me as Circuit Justice for relief from the interim order, until her appeal has been heard or the matter has been othewise determined. I have heard the parties and have examined the papers presented. No question has been raised as to the power of a Circuit Justice to grant the relief requested, and I will assume that such power exists. Cf. Mr. Justice Reed's opinion in Twentieth Century Airlines v. Ryan, 74 S.Ct. 8, 98 L.Ed. 1143. See also 5 U.S.C. s 1009(d), 5 U.S.C.A. s 1009(d). I am not asked to interfere in any way with the administrative proceeding which is now being conducted. That proceeding is authorized by 39 U.S.C. ss 255 and 259a, 39 U.S.C.A. ss 255, 259a. If the administrative decision is adverse to petitioner, the Post Office will have statutory authority to intercept all mail addressed to her and either send it to the 'dead-letter' office, or return it to the senders marked 'Unlawful.' Petitioner may have judicial review of any order entered under those statutes in an action brought after the administrative adjudication, if not in the case which is now pending in the Court of Appeals. In the present application petitioner complains only of the interim order under which her mail is being intercepted while the administrative proceeding is being...

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1 practice notes
  • An interpretivist judge and the media.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 32 Nbr. 1, January 2009
    • January 1, 2009
    ...to decide what the policy of the law shall be." (quoting Johnson v. United States, 163 F. 30, 32 (1st Cir. 1908))); Stanard v. Olesen, 74 S. Ct. 768, 771 (Douglas, Circuit Justice 1954) ("[I]t is for Congress, not the courts, to write the law."); Cameron, 718 N.W.2d at 790 ("It is the legis......
1 books & journal articles
  • An interpretivist judge and the media.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 32 Nbr. 1, January 2009
    • January 1, 2009
    ...to decide what the policy of the law shall be." (quoting Johnson v. United States, 163 F. 30, 32 (1st Cir. 1908))); Stanard v. Olesen, 74 S. Ct. 768, 771 (Douglas, Circuit Justice 1954) ("[I]t is for Congress, not the courts, to write the law."); Cameron, 718 N.W.2d at 790 ("It is the legis......

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