Atchison Ry Co v. United States, No. 287

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHUGHES
Citation284 U.S. 248,76 L.Ed. 273,52 S.Ct. 146
PartiesATCHISON, T. & S. F. RY. CO. et al. v. UNITED STATES et al
Docket NumberNo. 287
Decision Date04 January 1932

284 U.S. 248
52 S.Ct. 146
76 L.Ed. 273
ATCHISON, T. & S. F. RY. CO. et al.

v.

UNITED STATES et al.

No. 287.
Argued Dec. 3, 4, 1931.
Decided Jan. 4, 1932.

Page 249

Mr. Frederick H. Wood, of New York City, for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 249-250 intentionally omitted]

Page 251

Mr. Daniel W. Knowlton, of Washington, D. C., for appellees the United States and Interstate Commerce Commission.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 251-253 intentionally omitted]

Page 253

Mr. John E. Benton, of Washington, D. C., for appellees, intervening state commissions.

Page 254

Mr. Hugh La Master, of Lincoln, Neb., for appellee Nebraska State Railway Commission.

Messrs. Charles W. Steiger, of Topeka, Kan., and Ralph Merriam, of Chicago Ill., for appellee Public Service Commission of the State of Kansas.

Mr. Chief Justice HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.

These suits, which were consolidated, were brought by carriers by railroad in the Western District, and by certain shippers, to restrain the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission made July 1, 1930, as amended by a supplemental order of April 10, 1931. The order prescribed maximum rates for the transportation of grain and grain products on domestic shipments within the Western District1 and for export, as described, and directed the carriers to desist from certain practices. 164 I. C. C. 619; 173 I. C. C. 511. Other carriers were permitted to intervene as parties petitioners, and state commissions and certain state organizations were admitted as intervening defendants. This appeal is from the order of the District Court, as specially constituted,2 denying the applications of the petitioners for an interlocutory injunction. 51 F.(2d) 510.

Following the passage of the Joint Resolution of the Congress of January 30, 1925,3 known as the Hoch-Smith Resolution, the Interstate Commerce Commission insti-

Page 255

tuted a general investigation4 of the rate structures of common carriers to determine whether their rates, charges, regulations, and practices were unjust, unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory, or unduly preferential, or otherwise in violation of law. The investigation was divided into separate parts, and the proceeding in one of them (part VII) terminated in the order under review. In connection with this proceeding, there were a large number of formal complaints and suspension proceedings which, considered together, brought into issue all phases of the grain rate structure involved in the Commission's general investigation. Many state commissions, chambers of commerce, and trade and traffic associations participated in the proceeding. Hearings were held in many cities and extended over a year. The record was closed on September 22, 1928, and after protracted argument the matter was submitted, on July 1, 1929, to the Commission for its decision. The first report of the Commission, made on July 1, 1930, emphasized the magnitude of its task, in dealing with 'three score and more of major issues, affecting every part of a vast territorial domain,' and the thorough examination that had been made of the exceptionally voluminous record. The order of July 1, 1930, was to go into effect on October 1, 1930, but because of mechanical difficulties in the preparation and printing of the tariffs, containing the great number of the revised rates, the effective date was postponed from time to time.

In September, 1930, the carriers asked for a rehearing, which was denied in November, 1930. Prior to its denial, a statement was submitted to the Commission on behalf of the Western Association of Railway Executives, directing attention to the serious financial condition of the carriers. A further petition for rehearing was pre-

Page 256

sented to the Commission on February 18, 1931. This petition described in great detail the situation then existing. The carriers alleged that, since the closing of the record before the Commission in September, 1928, there had been material and important changes in the operating, traffic, and transportation conditions in the Western District which affected adversely the revenues of the carriers, and that, regardless of the question of the validity and propriety of the order when made, it would no longer be valid and proper in the light of the existing circumstances. The carriers alleged and offered to prove that, if the order became effective, it would reduce the gross and net operating revenues of the carriers in the Western District not less than $20,000,000 annually; that their aggregate revenues in the first eleven months of 1930 were 14.92 per cent. lower than in the corresponding period of 1929; that the complete figures in respect of the revenues for December, 1930, were not yet available, but that the volume of traffic then carried was substantially less than that of December, 1929; that the revenue freight car loadings in January, 1931, showed a substantial decline (14.06 per cent.) from those of 1930 and an even greater decline (20.98 per cent.) as compared with those of 1929; that the net operating income of these carriers for 1930 was over $100,000,000 less than their average annual net operating income for the five preceding years; that the changes in conditions since the record before the Commission was closed had been such as seriously to impair the credit of the carriers; that not only had the market price of their common and preferred stock declined to such a level that it would be impossible for them to secure additional capital through the sale of stock, but that their bond issues also in many instances securities of these carriers by both savings which they formerly enjoyed; that the decrease of railroad earnings had been such as to jeopardize the eligibility of these bonds for saving bank investments, and that there had been a large decline in the holdings of the secu

Page 257

rities of these carriers by both savings banks and life insurance companies; and that, if the order of the Commission should become effective, it would, under the conditions then present, threaten the maintenance of an adequate system of transportation. In support of their allegations as to changed conditions, the petitioners...

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176 practice notes
  • Howes Bros. Co. v. Massachusetts Unemployment Comp. Comm'n
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • December 30, 1936
    ...contemporary fact, dominating thought and action throughout the country.’ Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 260, 52 S.Ct. 146, 149, 76 L.Ed. 273. Of course, this does not justify the violation of any constitutional right. Although the cases at bar are c......
  • Lang Transp. Corporation v. United States, Civil Action No. 6403.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • January 5, 1948
    ...Commission v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S.Ct. 185, 57 L.Ed. 431; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 52 S.Ct. 146, 76 L.Ed. 273; Erie Railroad Co. v. United States, D.C., 59 F. Supp. 748; "Where the hearing accorded related to conditions w......
  • Bachner v. C.I.R., No. 95-7121
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 17, 1996
    ...deduction had been improperly allowed and that the deficiency would be even greater than that originally asserted and paid. Id. at 282, 52 S.Ct. at 146. The Supreme Court held that the Commissioner's authority to reaudit a return whenever repayment is claimed is necessarily implied. The Cou......
  • Buckner Trucking, Inc. v. United States, Civ. A. No. 71-H-531.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • February 23, 1973
    ...must operate within the bounds of Constitutional limits and legislative requirements. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 52 S.Ct. 146, 76 L.Ed. 273 (1932); Federal Maritime Commission v. Anglo-Canadian Shipping Co., 335 F.2d 255 (9th Cir. Faced with a burgeoning......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
176 cases
  • Howes Bros. Co. v. Massachusetts Unemployment Comp. Comm'n
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • December 30, 1936
    ...contemporary fact, dominating thought and action throughout the country.’ Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 260, 52 S.Ct. 146, 149, 76 L.Ed. 273. Of course, this does not justify the violation of any constitutional right. Although the cases at bar are c......
  • Lang Transp. Corporation v. United States, Civil Action No. 6403.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • January 5, 1948
    ...Commission v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S.Ct. 185, 57 L.Ed. 431; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 52 S.Ct. 146, 76 L.Ed. 273; Erie Railroad Co. v. United States, D.C., 59 F. Supp. 748; "Where the hearing accorded related to conditions w......
  • Bachner v. C.I.R., No. 95-7121
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 17, 1996
    ...deduction had been improperly allowed and that the deficiency would be even greater than that originally asserted and paid. Id. at 282, 52 S.Ct. at 146. The Supreme Court held that the Commissioner's authority to reaudit a return whenever repayment is claimed is necessarily implied. The Cou......
  • Buckner Trucking, Inc. v. United States, Civ. A. No. 71-H-531.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • February 23, 1973
    ...must operate within the bounds of Constitutional limits and legislative requirements. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. v. United States, 284 U.S. 248, 52 S.Ct. 146, 76 L.Ed. 273 (1932); Federal Maritime Commission v. Anglo-Canadian Shipping Co., 335 F.2d 255 (9th Cir. Faced with a burgeoning......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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