Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati Ry Co, No. 733

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBREWER
Citation42 L.Ed. 243,167 U.S. 479,17 S.Ct. 896
PartiesINTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. CINCINNATI, N. O. & T. P. RY. CO. et al
Docket NumberNo. 733
Decision Date24 May 1897

167 U.S. 479
17 S.Ct. 896
42 L.Ed. 243
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION

v.

CINCINNATI, N. O. & T. P. RY. CO. et al.

No. 733.
May 24, 1897.

This case is before us on a question certified by the court of appeals for the Sixth circuit. On May 29, 1894, the interstate commerce commission entered an order, of which the following is a copy:

'At a general session of the interstate commerce commission held at its office in Washington, D. C., on the 29th day of May, A. D. 1894.

'Present: Hon. William R. Morrison, chairman; Hon. Wheelock G. Veazey, Hon. Martin A. Knapp, Hon. Judson C. Clements, and Hon. James D. Yeomans, commissioners.

'The Freight Bureau of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce v. The Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Company, lessee of the Cincinnati Southern Railway; The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company; The Western and Atlantic Railroad Company; The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company; The Atlanta and West Point Railroad Company; The Central Rail-

Page 480

road and Banking Company of Georgia; The Georgia Railroad Company; The Georgia Pacific Railway Company; The Norfolk and Western Railroad Company; The Port Royal and Augusta Railway Company; The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company; The Savannah, Florida and Western Railway Company; The Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad Company; The South Carolina Railway Company; The Western Railway of Alabama; The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company; The Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company; The Baltimore, Chesapeake and Richmond Steamboat Company; The Clyde Steamship Company; The Merchants' and Miners' Transportation Company; The Ocean Steamship Company; The Old Dominion Steamship Company.

'The Chicago Freight Bureau v. The Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railway Company; The Chicago and Alton Railroad Company; The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Company; The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad Company; The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company; The Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad Company; The Illinois Central Railroad Company; The Louisville, Evansville and St. Louis Consolidated Railroad Company; The Peoria, Decatur and Evansville Railway Company; The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company; The Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad Company; The Wabash Railroad Company; The Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Company, Lessee of the Cincinnati Southern Railway; The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company; The Western and Atlantic Railroad Company; The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company; The Atlanta and West Point Railroad Company; The Central Railroad and Banking Company

Page 481

of Georgia; The Georgia Railroad Company; The Georgia Pacific Railway Company; The Norfolk and Western Railroad Company; The Port Royal and Augusta Railway Company; The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company; The Savannah, Florida and Western Railway Company; The Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad Company; The South Carolina Railway Company; The Western Railway of Alabama; The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company; The Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company; The Baltimore, Chesapeake and Richmond Steamboat Company; The Clyde Steamship Company; The Merchants' and Miners' Transportation Company; The Ocean Steamship Company; The Old Dominion Steamship Company.

'These cases being at issue upon complaints and answers on file, and having been duly heard and submitted by the parties, and full investigation of the matters and things involved herein having been had, and the commission having on the date hereof made and filed a report and opinion containing its finding of fact and conclusions thereon, which said report and opinion is hereby referred to and made a part of this order, and the commission having, as appears by said report and opinion, found and decided, among other things, that the rates complained of and set forth in said report and opinion as in force over roads operated by carriers defendant herein, and forming routes or connecting lines leading southerly from Chicago or Cincinnati to Knoxville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., Rome, Ga., Atlanta, Ga., Meridian, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., Anniston, Ala., and Selma, Ala., are unreasonable and unjust, and in violation of the provisions of the act to regulate commerce:

'It is ordered and adjudged that the abovenamed defendants, and each of them, engaged or participating in the transportation of freight articles enumerated in the Southern Railway and Steamship Association classification as articles of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth class, do from and after the tenth day of July, 1894, wholly cease and desist and

Page 482

thenceforth abstain from charging, demanding, collecting, or receiving any greater aggregate rate or compensation per hundred pounds for the transportation of freight in any such class from Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio, or from Chicago, in the state of Illinois, to Knoxville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., Rome, Ga., Atlanta, Ga., Meridian, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., Anniston, Ala., or Selma, Ala., than is below specified in cents per hundred pounds under said numbered classes, respectively, and set opposite to said points of destination; that is to say:

On Shipments of Freight from Cincinnati—

Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, Class 6,

To— Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per

100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs.

Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents

Knoxville.. 53. 45 37 27 22 20

Chattanooga. 60. 54 40 30 24 22

Rome....... 75. 64 54 44 34 24

Atlanta.... 86. 73 60 45 35 27

Meridian.. 114. 98 80 62 49 38

Birmingham. 87. 74 60 46 36 28

Anniston... 86. 73 60 45 35 27

Selma..... 108. 92 78 60 48 36

On Shipments of Freight from Cincinnati—

Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, Class 6,

To— Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per Rates per

100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs.

Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents

Knoxville.. 93. 79 62 44 37 32

Chattanooga. 100. 88 65 47 39 34

Rome...... 114. 97 79 61 49 38

Atlanta... 116. 107 85 62 50 39

Meridian.. 114. 98 82 60 47 38

Birmingham. 111. 95 72 52 44 34

Anniston.. 126. 107 85 62 50 39

Selma..... 128. 112 89 66 53 38

Page 483

'And said defendants, and each of them, are also hereby notified and required to further readjust their tariffs of rates and charges so that from and after said 10th day of July, 1894, rates for the transportation of freight articles from Cincinnati and Chicago to Southern points other than those hereinabove specified shall be in due and proper relation to rates put into effect by said defendants in compliance with the provisions of this order.

'And it is further ordered that a notice embodying this order be forthwith sent to each of the defendant corporations, together with a copy of the report and opinion of the commission herein, in conformity with the provisions of the fifteenth section of the act to regulate commerce.'

The railroad companies having failed to comply with the order, the interstate commerce commission instituted this suit in the circuit court of the United States for the Southern district of Ohio to compel obedience thereto. The court, upon a hearing, entered a decree dismissing the bill (76 Fed. 183), from which decree an appeal was taken to the court of appeals, and that court, reciting the order, submits to us the following question: 'Had the interstate commerce commission jurisdictional power to make the order hereinbefore set forth; all proceedings preceding said order being due and regular, so far as procedure is concerned?'

Harlan Cleveland and Geo. F. Edmunds, for appellant.

Ed. Baxter, for appellees.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 483-492 intentionally omitted]

Page 493

Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

A similar question was before us at the last term, in Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. Ry. Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 162 U. S. 184, 16 Sup. Ct. 700, and in the opinion, on pages 196 and 197, 162 U. S., and page 705, 16 Sup. Ct., we said:

'Whether congress intended to confer upon the interstate commerce commission the power to itself fix rates was mooted in the courts below, and is discussed in the briefs of counsel.

'We do not find any provision of the act that expressly, or by necessary implication, confers such a power.

'It is argued on behalf of the commission that the power to pass upon the reasonableness of existing rates implies a right to prescribe rates. This is not necessarily so. The reasonableness of the rate in a given case depends on the facts, and the function of the commission is to consider these facts and give them their proper weight. If the commission, instead of withholding judgment in such a matter until an issue shall be made and the facts found, itself fixes a rate, that rate is prejudged by the commission to be reasonable.

'We prefer to adopt the view expressed by the late Justice Jackson, when circuit judge, in the case of Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., 43 Fed. 37, and whose judgment was affirmed by this court. 145 U. S. 263, 12 Sup. Ct. 844.

"Subject to the two leading prohibitions, that their charges shall not be unjust or unreasonable, and that they shall not unjustly discriminate, so as to give undue preference or disadvantage to persons or traffic similarly circumstanced, the act to regulate commerce leaves common carriers as they were at the common law,—free to make special contracts looking to the increase of their business, to classify their traffic, to adjust and apportion their rates so as to meet the necessities of commerce, and...

To continue reading

Request your trial
147 practice notes
  • Farmers Union Cent. Exchange, Inc. v. F.E.R.C., MID-AMERICA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 26 Junio 1984
    ...or unjust in the context of granting reparations to injured shippers. ICC v. Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway Co., 167 U.S. 479, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243 (1897) (the Maximum Rate Case ); see Trans Alaska Pipeline Rate Cases, 436 U.S. at 639, 98 S.Ct. at 2059. The Hepburn Ac......
  • Texas Ry Co v. United States 11 8212 13, 1932, No. 1
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 29 Mayo 1933
    ...plainly not granted, no amount of such interpretation is binding upon the courts. Interstate Commerce Comm. v. C., N.O. & T.P. Ry. Co., 167 U.S. 479, 510, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243. This we think is the situation here presented, for, as we have said, the word 'localities' is used with refe......
  • United States v. Interstate Commerce Commission, No. 330
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 20 Junio 1949
    ...past violations, did not give the Commission rate-making authority. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati, N.O. & T. Pac. R. Co., 167 U.S. 479, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243. The rate-making power was first conferred by the Hepburn Act of 1906. 34 Stat. 584, 586—587. For the review of s......
  • George Simpson v. David Shepard No 291 George Simpson v. Emma Kennedy No 292 George Simpson v. William Shillaber No 293, Nos. 291
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 9 Junio 1913
    ...Commerce Commission had no power to prescribe interstate rates. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. 167 U. S. 479, 511, 42 L. ed. 243, 257, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 896. The states, however, had long exercised the power to establish maximum rates for intrastate transp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
146 cases
  • Farmers Union Cent. Exchange, Inc. v. F.E.R.C., MID-AMERICA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 26 Junio 1984
    ...or unjust in the context of granting reparations to injured shippers. ICC v. Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway Co., 167 U.S. 479, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243 (1897) (the Maximum Rate Case ); see Trans Alaska Pipeline Rate Cases, 436 U.S. at 639, 98 S.Ct. at 2059. The Hepburn Ac......
  • Texas Ry Co v. United States 11 8212 13, 1932, No. 1
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 29 Mayo 1933
    ...plainly not granted, no amount of such interpretation is binding upon the courts. Interstate Commerce Comm. v. C., N.O. & T.P. Ry. Co., 167 U.S. 479, 510, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243. This we think is the situation here presented, for, as we have said, the word 'localities' is used with refe......
  • United States v. Interstate Commerce Commission, No. 330
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 20 Junio 1949
    ...past violations, did not give the Commission rate-making authority. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati, N.O. & T. Pac. R. Co., 167 U.S. 479, 17 S.Ct. 896, 42 L.Ed. 243. The rate-making power was first conferred by the Hepburn Act of 1906. 34 Stat. 584, 586—587. For the review of s......
  • George Simpson v. David Shepard No 291 George Simpson v. Emma Kennedy No 292 George Simpson v. William Shillaber No 293, Nos. 291
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 9 Junio 1913
    ...Commerce Commission had no power to prescribe interstate rates. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. 167 U. S. 479, 511, 42 L. ed. 243, 257, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 896. The states, however, had long exercised the power to establish maximum rates for intrastate transp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Misunderstood Thomas Cooley: Regulation and Natural Rights From the Founding to the Icc
    • United States
    • The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy Nbr. 18-1, January 2020
    • 1 Enero 2020
    ...railroad strike in 1888, and by 1889 Cooley was suffering from seizures.163 He 159. ICC v. Cincinnati, New Orleans and Tex. Pac. Ry. Co., 167 U.S. 479, 494–95 (1897). 160. SKOWRONEK, supra note 138, at 153. 161. See supra note 146 and accompanying text; Carrington, supra note 2, at 374–75 (......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT